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Starbucks brings seasonal cups to life with AR

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Starbucks Cup Magic launches for iPhone and Android devices in the US next week and allows users to point their iPhone at specially designed Christmas cups and see all sorts of fancy dancing things and enter competition.

The app works by pointing your phone’s camera at the company’s red holiday season coffee cups and 47 additional objects, such as bags of coffee, on display at Starbucks retail locations. Doing so will produce animations involving five characters — an ice skater, a squirrel, a boy and a dog sledding and a fox — on your screen. You can also interact with the characters. For instance, if you tap the boy on the sled he does a somersault. Those who activate all five characters can qualify to win an as-yet-unnamed prize.

The app also includes traditional and social sharing capabilities. You can the send ecards as well as holiday offers from Starbucks, among other things.

The object, says Alexandra Wheeler, vp-global digital marketing for Starbucks, is to “surprise and delight” customers during the holiday season. Although Starbucks experimented with an AR app years ago in an ad, Wheeler says this is the first major AR push by the company. The effort follows some other recent AR programs from marketers including an app from Nivea featuring Rihanna and an Amazon app that lets you point your phone at objects and then buy them.

Cup Magic, created by Blast Radius, caps off a year of successful mobile implementations by Starbucks. The brand launched a mobile payment app in January that has been used in more than 20 million transactions and a QR code program designed, like Starbucks Cup Magic, to enhance the in-store brand experience.

See it in action here

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