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  • Writer's pictureChrissy Wesh

How product placement in Augmented Reality (AR) is coming for us!

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Augmented reality is not new. We have seen it’s rise in the increased use of snapchat and TikTok. Recent phone (& camera) advances coupled with new AR creation software, like Spark AR, and its connection into Facebook Ads means we have a real disruption coming which will effect how we are advertised too. We can expect to start seeing tailored adverts coming directly to us through our smart phone camera in the form of AR product placement.

An example of front facing AR “selfie cam”

Current AR uses The potential for AR is immense. AR is being used to showcase analogue and digital art together in galleries, as well as graffiti art on streets, without having to deface a building. It also has such helpful uses like seeing which furniture fits your house and what your new purchase might look like, brought to you by Ikea.

AR as a selling tool As the potential is being unleashed we start to see where companies are taking it. Now the cute puppy filters are finding their way as a marketing channel. You can try on glasses, makeup and even Gucci shoes. However this is current use, and this is with our consent. We have to start the filter to see the effect. But this is going to change fast.

Passive AR Advertising is coming as product placement!

Why Passive? Let me explain. For this I now need to go back in time. Advertisers used to post ads in print, on billboards and in magazines (still do). Then they figured out (with the rise of TV’s in the home & Movie theatres) that product placement is how to passively advertise without having to compete for customers. Customer groups are segmented by movie and advertisers pitch to become one of the product placed, (with a certain guaranteed air time). Movies with product placements skyrocket! Movies can fund their production and advertisers get association with the ‘right movie/TV show’.

What does product placement in movies have to do with AR? The next natural progression in this cycle of ever increasing demands on sales, combined with Software houses looking for revenue streams and AR newly accessible in social media means we have a primed market. Apple and Google released their reviews in which their estimated revenue for augmented reality devices and content in 2019: $3.4 billion and growing. In 2023, they expect to see $36.4 billion in earnings from that industry alone.

What this means for us? Perhaps the coolest apps will be sponsored, expect a small can of coca cola in your background perhaps? Or the freemium version of our apps will come with adds in our pictures/space/content. And why not? Currently we expect our apps and service for free, but we also choose to be advertised too when we follow influencers, their whole job is advertising to us. Instagram is rife with influencer ads, what if instagrams free version capitalised on this and started selling the use of its app directly to an advertiser – you get the app free, advertisers jump your content, and Instagram gets a cut of the ad budget. Perhaps it could go 1 step further and we can choose the brands that get access to our content! Pepsi or Coke? Democrat or Republican? Our drinks, our charities, our politics, our brands… we become our own product and companies loan us. I’m not sure its the brave new world I want, but I would choose this over no control. Additionally, even better, we learn to pay to be left alone out of the game.


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