July 31, 2016 Chris Riddell

Pokemon Go has ignited Augmented Reality

This is just the start of a blended revolution

It’s all Pokemon Go at the moment, and it’s giving us Gen Y’s flashbacks to our days at school. Remembering the Pokemon theme tune even got me reminiscing about cartoons like Inspector Gadget and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Interestingly the original singer for the Pokemon theme tune all those years ago, Jason Paige has resurfaced to sing the Pokemon song online – and I’m not sure how, but he sounds the same. Jason’s YouTube video from just a few days ago has almost 1.5M views at the time I’m writing this article…

AR is the new VR

Augmented Reality is nothing new at all, it’s been around for ages. The thing is, the vast majority of the public have hardly seen it in action, for one big reason. No-one has actually managed to make it work, and theres hundreds of pretty underwhelming stories of AR that have long been lost into the depths of digital filing cabinets around the globe.

Sure, the technology side of Augmented Reality has been ‘working’ fine. Digital and Creative Agencies have been coaxing clients to spend their cash on it all around the world with some of the biggest brands, particularly when it comes to retail and FMCG. Nestlé were one of the first in the FMCG space to get off the blocks with Augmented Reality in 2009. They partnered with Dassault Systems to bring cereal boxes to life in this world of blended experiences.

The real truth is until now, very few have or could actually make it exciting, or more importantly work out how to make it relevant and have context. It was ‘nice’ to have, but there seemed little point in it.

The old saying of “Content is King” is one I hear frequently, and sure, it has a place. Content without Context however – it’s meaningless

So why is it working now?

It’s really actually very simple. We live in an era of hyper experience. The expectation of our audiences now are so incredibly high, that if you deliver something sensational , and you’re taking people on a journey – it’ll work.

Importantly, and here is the crucial component, it’s got to tell a story. It’s got to mean something, and in the noisy crowded marketplace that is our digital world, with brands trying to distract us left right and centre, you’ve got to have an exciting, easy to understand point of difference.

Pokemon Go plays with our deep desire as human beings to be rewarded. We love challenges that we can win, and we love being recognised in return. Progressing through level after level, collecting Pokemons, and finding ‘stuff’ to help catch more Pokemons – it’s a clever loop strategy that the very best games are founded on. It sends our endorphin levels through the roof, combine that with a bit of exercise and voila – you’ve got a winner.

So what’s going to be next?

We’ve been waiting for something like this for a while. It was going to happen, and 2016 was the year we knew it would, we just didn’t know exactly how. Now watch this space to see other brands scrambling to be the next big hit.

Virtual Reality is yesterday’s news, Augmented Reality is today’s topic du jour. Keep an eye and ear out for Mixed Reality – that’s where things get super exciting, and a true world of blended experiences will quite literally take you out of this world.

Here’s a segment from Channel 7 the other day where I was talking about the Pokemon Go craze, and VR technology.



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