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McDonald’s Brings AR App to World Cup Masses

  |  June 6, 2014   |  Comments

The McDonald’s GOL! app is an augmented reality campaign on a global scale and should help drive AR awareness, experts say.

If McDonald's has its way, shouts of "Goal!" during the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil will be coming from both soccer fans watching matches as well as customers playing its augmented reality app with virtual trick-shot challenge.

McDonald's has even changed the look of its red french fry packaging with artwork from 12 artists to celebrate the World Cup and to allow customers to unlock the app, "McDonald's GOL!" on medium and large sizes.

Customers can also download the McDonald's GOL app from the App Store and Google Play. According to Google Play, the app had 50,000 to 100,000 downloads as of June 6.

By holding the screens of their mobile devices to the front of the fry boxes, the device recognizes the artwork and a soccer pitch appears in an AR scene with the fry box as the goal and other built-in objects as obstacles. The idea is to kick the ball with the flick of a finger and divert or use obstacles to get the ball into the goal, McDonald's says.

A brand rep was not available for further comment by deadline.

Created for McDonald's in collaboration with Qualcomm Connected Experiences Inc. and Trigger, McDonald's says the app brings a new mobile play experience using the Qualcomm Vuforia mobile vision platform. The app showcases Vuforia's Smart Terrain feature, which allows users to build their own play spaces using everyday objects.

Wil McReynolds, creative director of Augmented Marketing, says it would be interesting to see a case study of this effort as it is an AR campaign on a global scale.

"It would also appear that McDonald's believes enough in the technology to basically rebrand their iconic red and yellow boxes. You need distribution to make this technology get to the masses, and McDonald's is doing just that," McReynolds says. "Also, they see how augmented reality is meant to interact with the real world and by using the Smart Terrain feature, the users can make any surface in front of them into an obstacle. This is a giant leap forward for AR awareness as well as a glimpse into the future of AR gamification."

In addition, digital marketing executive Rand Schulman says this new generation of AR apps allows marketers to capture what users see along with their behaviors, which can help brands optimize engagement.

"Today, big data-driven analytics, coupled with augmented reality applications and key metrics, gives us the ability to create analytics for the real world," he says.

According to McDonald's, a number of activities are planned to support this program, including a video that features soccer trick-shot talent and has 700,000 views as of June 6.

Mark Quinn, segment vice president of marketing at Leggett & Platt, predicts millions of views to come.

"They will have kids and grown-ups all over the world submitting their own version of those if they mine that correctly," Quinn adds.

McDonald's says it has been an official sponsor and the official restaurant of FIFA World Cup for 20 years. Other branded World Cup activities include the McDonald's Player Escort Program, in which 1,408 children from 69 countries will walk hand-in-hand onto the pitch with their favorite soccer players.


Lisa Lacy

In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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