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Ben & Jerry's iPhone App Uses Markerless Augmented Reality

Ben & Jerry's has included a new feature in its iPhone app - an augmented reality platform called Moo Vision, which renders fun facts and more information about the product on four of B&J's best selling pints. Best of all, from the company's perspective, because it used markerless augmented technology - which the iPhone 4.0's camera is able to render - it didn't have to redesign its existing packaging.

Edelman Digital and Circ.Us created the app using the metaio platform. Unlike traditional marker-based AR, barcodes, or QR codes, markerless technology does not rely on a computer generated symbol to make identification. Instead, the software is programmed to use the iPhone camera to "look" for existing visual patterns on the product packaging, Edelman explained. Prior to the latest iPhones, there was not been a widely available mobile device capable of processing this much more sophisticated approach.

Ben & Jerry's plans on expanding the app to other flavors as well, Peter DiBart, SVP and Group Creative Director for Digital at Edelman, tells MarketingVox. More companies are using packaging as a platform for AR technology to grab consumers' attention, DiBart says."This definitely falls in the category of new innovation."

Lego Boxes

Arguably it was Lego that paved the way in using markerless AR technology on the side of its packaging earlier this year.  The boxes, also created by metaio, were designed to interface with kiosks in Lego stores. Shoppers hold up the box and a code activates the augmented reality feature, displaying a 3D model of the Lego kit. Twisting and turning the box in front of the display produces the same 3D views. Sales increased for Lego because of the campaign," Lisa Murphy, product marketing manager at metaio told MarketingVox.

Advancing the Ball

A Nestle campaign upped the ante with a similar campaign - but that used interactive AR. The campaign, which was introduced in France at the end of last year, proved so popular that it is expected to be deployed in the U.S., either by Nestle or another consumer goods company, in the mid term. The AR technology was used on the side of a children's cereal box.

When children held the box up to a webcam a game was displayed, played by characters from the children's movie that the campaign was promoting - Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard.  Sold Some two million boxes were sold - one of the few performance metrics publicly available about the campaign. "A lot of what you will see in with augmented reality campaigns are static representations - such as with the Lego packaging," David Laubner, head of Product Marketing with3DVIA, which is owned by Dassault Systèmes, told MarketingVOX. Dassault developed the Nestle campaign.

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