Love it or hate it: Marmite trials AR game with leading retailers as brands switch from awareness t
Top Shop , Top Man , All Bar One
, Mitchells & Butler, Just Eat , Pizza Hut Delivery, Rock Pamper Scissors and Now TV are all taking part in a augmented reality mobile game trial with Unilever’s Marmite as brands start to see more value to brand engagement than just brand awareness.
The game – called Snatch – has been developed by Unilever’s investment arm, Unilever Ventures
, and is a virtual treasure hunt that uses smartphones, the user location and some AR software to help shoppers seek and and ‘snatch’ virtual parcels that contain a prize. One of the top prizes is a year’s university fees, showing the demographic that Unilever is seeking to target (Students, not financially-troubled parents – Ed).
The game has undergone a limited beta test phase that saw 50,000 parcels snatched in two months.
Jan Harley, director, Unilever Ventures, explains: “Snatch has the potential to transform the way brands are engaging with consumers. Immersing people in an interactive environment where they’re actively seeking out products and feeling the elation of winning something tangible, is a really exciting addition to the marketing toolkit. It’s an exciting period for the industry and something we’re keen to be part of.”
Phil Lloyd, chief marketing officer at Snatch adds: “Snatch is about our brands engaging with consumers in a place they’re accepted and welcomed, not interrupting them with advertising in places they’d rather they weren’t. Combining brand rewards, real-world gaming and AR is fairly virgin territory, so we’re delighted that an investor like Unilever Ventures is on board at an early stage.”
The emphasis on brand engagement – and that that is being aimed at students – shows how big brands and retailers are starting to rethink how they engage with consumers.
Chris Baldwin, Director of Consumer Programmes, Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services
, explains: “Unilever’s investment in an AR app for consumers makes it one of the world’s largest FMCG brands to truly acknowledge the importance of placing brand engagement over brand awareness. By embracing the latest gaming technology, Unilever is also recognising the need to put control back in the hands of the consumer, particularly when it comes to marketing.”
Baldwin echoes the views of many in retail and brand marketing that there is huge potential in AR and apps like this, however, to reap the rewards, others looking to embrace the latest tech must carefully manage the risk involved.
“Retailers and brands need to strike the balance between ease of access to the ‘prize’, be it a free holiday or an additional free product, with the cost of implementing the programme itself,” he says. “Similarly, if the process involving AR becomes too convoluted or excludes certain consumers, brands risk losing loyal customers or facing a social media backlash.”
However, that said, this is a really exciting move by Unilever which puts AR firmly on the map for retailers and marketers and highlights that the potential for innovation in consumer engagement is far from exhausted.”