M&S augmented reality, by Profero

This week I saw The Sun had launched an augmented reality map of the Olympic Park, and it reminded me of this Marks & Spencer campaign, which I still believe shows the true potential of the technology.
To be fair, Valentine’s Day may seem a while ago to many – especially to those who are still waiting for the present – but with the Olympics making the nation feel the love, this year’s campaign by M&S still has a place in my heart.
The campaign by Profero was beautifully executed and the film worked well as natural progression. Although augmented reality is relatively new, it was a thoughtful touch from M&S to include representatives on the day to show people how the technology works.
Choosing Waterloo as a location was a wise choice by M&S, attracting busy commuters, and the theme itself was in tune with that last-minute dash to buy a Valentine’s Day gift. An additional treat from M&S would have been to offer a money-off deal on flowers and lingerie or free delivery to sweeten the deal.
By creating an ad that moves from static to active, M&S allowed magic to happen by using technology to deliver a real experience to customers. Customers looked genuinely surprised by the campaign, something which is difficult for marketers to achieve these days.
While it was engaging, the billboard was positioned quite high on the wall which affected the customer experience as they had to look up to see it properly. It was immediately less obvious than an eye-level display and I would have liked to have seen M&S leverage the advertisement even more by creating a microsite to drive customers to the main website.
In addition, by downloading the app, customers were limited to third party technology. How can this enhance customer experience? I think M&S could have maximised the campaign’s effect by creating its own app to measure responses.
Overall, M&S delivered outstanding work from a creative perspective, in addition to great art direction and more importantly, a real brand experience for customers.

Ian Bates is creative director at Indicia

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