Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the most immersive ways a person can experience a product without actually holding it in their hands. In social it’s hot property; Deloitte predicts the number of AR users to break the 1bn mark this year – with tens of millions making and sharing content every week. Since Facebook announced its plans to test AR ads in its News Feed, brands have been exploring ways to take advantage, benefit if you will, from this innovative and interactive form of marketing. To coincide with the launch of its Brow Contour Pro product, the beauty gurus at Benefit Cosmetics sought to do the same – with a little help from the Punch team.

The Brief: to replicate the hero branding of Benefit’s campaign in AR Effects to raise awareness around the launch of Brow Contour Pro – a 4-in-1 brow pencil with two shades to define brows, one concealer and a highlighter. The AR Effect needed to put the product front and centre – encouraging users to wow with their brows!

At 100k views and counting, Benefit’s AR campaign has been a surefire success. What can we expect to see next in AR?

The first of many lining up to do the same, last week Adidas Originals became the first brand to launch a custom AR Effect via Instagram Stories. The fashion and beauty communities on Instagram are the top producers of video content across feed, Stories and IGTV. Given that AR Effects and beauty brands are a match made in heaven, some are speculating that its newfound AR capabilities are the latest sign that Instagram is “heavily courting” the beauty industry, giving brands and influencers the chance to virtually put products to the test.

Brands using the technology in this way proves that AR is more than dancing hot dogs and puppy filters. There are tremendous opportunities for brands in AR – not only for product launches, but for experiential purposes and seasonal campaigns (Halloween, Bonfire night, Christmas etc.) The Ikea Place app is a great example of a brand finding a real-world application for AR. The app gamifies interior design, letting customers scan a room and place Ikea furniture and homeware in it, moving it around and designing the space as they see fit. The Dulux Visualiser works in the same way, letting customers try out shades of paint in every colour of the rainbow. The way we interact with AR is changing all the time; earlier this year Michael Kors became the first brand to test AR ads on Facebook, letting scrollers try on a pair of MK sunglasses.

The winners are likely to be those who jump on board early. With Facebook now looking to compete for Snapchat’s AR crown (and Instagram expected to launch in-full imminently), many brands are re-evaluating their social strategies to make room for AR while the iron is still hot.

Ultimately, any brand experience should inspire people to take action and deliver an outcome that makes sense for your business. Whether you want your customers to try, buy, or simply crack a smile – we’d love to help you create a truly fun and unique AR experience for your brand. Get in touch for a friendly chat.