Remember Pokémon Go? Yes, the same augmented reality mobile game based on the Japanese animated series from the 90s that took the world by storm in the July of 2016. That was one of the first Augmented Reality (AR) experiences that changed the way people viewed technology and its ability to alter the reality (or at least its perception) around them. Well, that storm did seem to have died out after a while, albeit after quite the successful run.
However, just when consumers and clients were getting ready to put augmented and mixed reality on the backburner as something that had lost its innovative touch, Japanese auto giant Toyota has gone out and taken hold of the ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi and Vertebrae, a company that develops AR experiences for brands. They will create an immersive AR encounter that will allow potential buyers to virtually view the company’s vehicles and their functionality (including AWD, the pre-collision system and the ABS to name a few) at a scaled level in their own surroundings. And it will be doing all of this without requiring the consumers to download any specific memory-consuming application to their device at all.
All the users will have to do is simply click on a certain banner ad on a website and it will automatically launch Toyota’s AR experience, which will basically make use of a combination of 3D and AR technology to allow the users to interact with about 10 of the company’s newest car models. The consumers can place the AR models (scaled down or otherwise) anywhere in their surroundings, be it on their work table or in their garage, and walk around it so as to view it from every angle. You can expand the vehicle, rotate it or play around with it any other way that you wish to (except for taking it out for a drive, of course).
Toyota has already experimented with the AR idea for its 2020 Corolla campaign for Hispanic customers using Android devices in the United States, orchestrated in collaboration with the ad agency Conill which used a web-based AR platform developed 8th Wall. This campaign allowed the users to activate certain animations in their virtual vehicles as well, such as opening the moonroof, switching the headlights on and spinning the wheels, while even allowing them to capture and share images of the experience using their mobile devices.
There are a number of other auto companies such as Porsche, BMW, Kia, Renault and Nissan who’ve incorporated AR technology in their campaigns before. However, they either launched their own AR app or integrated with other platforms such as Shazam, Snapchat and Facebook. Toyota is the first in the auto industry to opt for an innovative web-based AR experience, which by eliminating the need for an app or specific AR platform, seems to have carved out a niche for itself in the market. The company believes that providing such a rich and engaging digital experience will only help strengthen Toyota’s relationship with its consumers even further.