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How Top Media and Entertainment Brands Engage Fans With AR

February 23, 2022 • Written by Catherine Kulke

From transformative Snap effects to interactive games on IG Stories, augmented reality is nothing if not entertaining—so it’s no surprise that key players in the media and entertainment industry are prioritizing social AR in their marketing strategies. While AR has emerged as a critical tool for brands across categories to cut through the noise on social media and connect with fans, companies built around inspiring and amusing consumers—from record labels and TV networks to game studios—are in a particularly strong position to benefit. 

Anyone familiar with the world of media and entertainment knows that engaging audiences is integral to succeeding in the space. AR experiences see, on average, 30x the engagement rate of passive photo and video content and reach 34x the followers, meaning brands who leverage social AR can captivate fans on a much larger scale than those who don’t. 

Curious what impactful AR marketing looks like in action? A host of leading media and entertainment brands have already paved the way for the industry by crafting compelling, innovative campaigns that illuminate AR marketing best practices. We’ve rounded up a few stand-out AR initiatives from forward-thinking music, gaming, and television companies below, along with three tips for executing a winning social AR strategy in the competitive category.

An iPhone displaying Warner Music's AR experience for Mother Mother.

Warner Music Canada Drums Up Excitement for Mother Mother Album Launch With Immersive Experiences

Finding new fans with old music has always been part of indie rock band Mother Mother’s journey, so when several songs from the group’s older catalog went viral on TikTok, Warner Music Canada was eager to strengthen the artist’s connection with younger listeners. Simultaneously, the label hoped to create an impactful promotional strategy for Mother Mother’s new album, “Inside,” and single, “I Got Love.” In order to speak directly to an audience immersed in social media, and ensure the new music stood out to prospective fans, WMC turned to AR. 

WMC used Camera IQ to create unique AR experiences for both the single and the album, and publish them across social channels including Instagram and Snap. Iterating on TikTok’s trending red filter, the “I Got Love” effect featured a red screen overlay while audio from the track played. The brand took its innovation a step further for “Inside,” transporting fans who scanned the album cover into an immersive, 3D world inspired by the release. Thrilled by WMC’s creativity, music enthusiasts leapt at the chance to try the two experiences and share them with friends. The “I Got Love” effect reached a total of 8M people and directly inspired 6M plays of the new track, while the “Inside” album scan not only wowed viewers but also helped boost sales via a direct link to WMC’s online shop.

An iPhone displaying EA's AR marketing campaign for Madden.

Athletes and Fans Rally Around EA’s Ongoing Madden NFL 21 Initiatives

Few gaming franchises boast as devoted a fanbase as EA’s Madden NFL. So in preparation for the release of its newest title, Madden NFL 21, EA needed to plan promotional activities that paid testament to Madden players’ overwhelming enthusiasm. Rather than orchestrate a one-off campaign, the brand used Camera IQ to design and launch various Madden-themed AR effects on social media throughout the year. While one-time initiatives tend to trigger short-lived spikes in engagement, ongoing efforts help build excitement over time, resulting in lasting brand awareness and loyalty. 

Camera IQ’s intuitive platform supported EA’s always-on strategy by enabling the brand to create easily and efficiently design experiences its fanbase was eager to share. Madden AR experiences accrued over 5M views on Instagram, with gamers and NFL pros alike embracing the opportunity to co-create with EA. In fact, the initiative saw a share rate of 9.4%—more than three times the industry benchmark. The studio’s success reflected consumers’ overwhelming preference for sharing AR experiences relative to static content: our survey of 1.5k US consumers found that 78% of respondents would share an AR experience with their social networks, and 41% were more likely to share an AR experience than a brand’s post. By inviting fans into the world of Madden, EA transformed a promotional campaign into an internet phenomenon.

Cartoon Network Inspires Enthusiasm at Scale via Interactive Games

You don’t have to be a gaming company to delight consumers with one-of-a-kind AR games—just ask iconic TV studio Cartoon Network. Already a household name, the global company wanted to amplify audience engagement by elevating fans from passive viewers to active participants in its shows’ stories. To accomplish this goal, Cartoon Network worked with Camera IQ to design and release a suite of interactive AR challenges, in which individuals use facial and body movements to play with their favorite Cartoon Network characters. For example, in “We Bare Bearstack,” inspired by the animated sitcom “We Bare Bears,” fans blink to stack the beloved bears from the series on top of each other. The simple, addictive game was played 1.5M times and shared 15.8k times, netting 1.9M views. 

Why do Cartoon Network’s games perform so well? Today’s consumers are hungry for online entertainment. When surveyed, 57% of consumers said they wanted to be entertained by brand content on social media. This figure ticked up to 59% among Gen Z, making entertainment the No. 1 reason younger audiences seek content from brands. Equipped with a reliable strategy for galvanizing its target audience, Cartoon Network used Camera IQ to launch a total of 18 games across Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat for markets around the world.

An iPhone displaying Cartoon Network's social AR experience for Adventure Time.

How to Win at Social AR in Media and Entertainment

Crafting complex, interactive AR experiences might feel ambitious, especially if you’re just starting to consider incorporating AR into your marketing plans. But executing an effective social AR strategy is actually much simpler than it might seem. With Camera IQ, brands can create immersive experiences using pre-existing templates and their own 2D assets, and publish them across social media channels in a few clicks—so you don’t need prior AR experience or a specialized team to launch a cutting-edge campaign. 

Here are a few best practices media and entertainment brands can keep in mind to stand out with social AR.

1. Invest in Always-On Initiatives.

AR is here to stay, so your brand shouldn’t act like a tourist. While individual campaigns can trigger spikes in engagement, you can set up your brand for sustained growth by consistently incorporating AR into your ongoing marketing plans. Follow EA’s lead and coordinate longer-term initiatives that keep your brand top of mind for consumers

2. Stay True to Your Brand’s DNA.

Incorporating a new technology into your marketing doesn’t mean altering your brand’s story. Maintaining a consistent brand identity is key to connecting authentically with consumers in all formats, including AR. Rather than trying to reinvent your brand for new AR experiences, start with recognizable graphics and messaging pillars and bring them to life in immersive campaigns. 

3. Be Playful

Today’s consumers don’t take themselves too seriously, and neither should your brand. With younger audiences in particular turning to social media for entertainment, humorous AR effects and games offer impactful (and fun) ways to energize your audience and build lasting rapport with fans. 

Looking for more practical guidance on how to build and execute an impactful AR marketing strategy for your brand? Download our complete 2022 AR Marketing Playbook for a step-by-step guide to getting your AR campaigns off the ground.

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