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Stella Artois extends brand with augmented reality bar guide

Worldwide beer brand Stella Artois has launched an augmented reality bar guide application.

Le Bar Guide is a 3D augmented reality iPhone application that lets consumers search for bars nearby via ZIP code, country or rating. The application was developed by Acrossair and is free to download.

?The goal was to deliver a brand experience to consumers that goes beyond traditional marketing,? said Chetan Damani, founder/CEO of Acrossair, London. "The new application enables Stella Artois to promote all bars that serve Stella Artois.

?It?s really about providing something the user would use on a regular basis,? he said. "We are providing them with an application which is useful and it enables Stella Artois to go beyond just marketing."

Stella Artois claims to be the No. 1 Belgian beer in the world. It can be found in more than 80 countries.

Connecting consumers with the product
Le Bar Guide fuses the real-world view of the consumer?s immediate surroundings in augmented reality, providing a guide to bar locations.

When the iPhone is held vertically, Le Bar Guide shows profiles of bars in the consumer?s immediate vicinity. The profiles are overlaid on the street view from their location.

Consumers can hold the phone with the camera pointing at the ground and the application will show arrows pointing the consumer in the direction of nearby bars.

The application also features user-generated content.

Consumers can rate bars according to the menu, atmosphere, other clients and the service.

The application also has a section for comments about locations for other Le Bar Guide users.

The Le Taxi feature sources numbers for car services from a local directory.

The application currently has more than 50,000 bars listed worldwide. The majority of the bars are in the United States.

Bar data comes from a Stella Artois Web service that provides geo-location information on all the bars that serve Stella in the U.S. and worldwide.

Mr. Damani said Stella Artois is targeted at affluent males between the ages of 25-35. He said this demographic also fits with the current demographics of iPhone users.

Augmented reality, the overlay of images on the real world via a mobile device?s camera, can benefit brands, Mr. Damani said.

Using augmented reality will deliver location-based services with a more intuitive interface.

?Augmented reality is a great heads-up experience,? Mr. Damani said. ?Stella Artois chose this technology because they believe over the next three-to-four years augmented reality will be the primary delivery mechanism for location-based services.
?The mobile Internet is finally delivering on its promise, and over the next three-to-four years out-of-home or office Internet usage is going to rise,? he said. ?So it is simply a numbers game.

"This is where the users are.?