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Guinness spreads holiday cheer with augmented reality app

Guinness is letting Europeans spruce up their drinks with a festive decoration via an augmented reality application for the holiday season.

Using either an iPhone or Android app, consumers can bring all of Guinness? products to life. Guinness is working with augmented reality app Blippar on this initiative.

?The goal of the app is to get Guinness fans engaging with their drink and sharing their fun with friends," said Jessica Butcher, marketing and founding director at Blippar, London.

"It is aimed not only at existing Guinness fans, but those that might consider choosing the drink on the basis of it providing a slightly more interesting and fun, festive experience than the drink next to it," she said.

Holiday beer
The Guinness augmented reality initiative is being promoted to European markets and is running through the holiday season.

To participate in the Guinness campaign, users must download the Blippar app.

Consumers then open the app and point their smartphones at their drink.

The Blippar app claims to work on the full line of Guinness products, including cans, bottles and pint glasses.

At the top of the page, the app reads, ?All I really want for Christmas.? Below, the smartphone?s camera shows the beverage.

The app then recognizes the Guinness logo and brings up a page that asks users to verify that they are over the age of 18, which is the legal drinking age in Britain.

The app then brings up a list of holiday-themed decals that users can use to decorate their cup of beer, including a Santa hat, a snowflake and a present.

Users can then add as many elements as they wish by dragging, scaling and rotating the items across their beer.

Consumers can share their decorations via Facebook, Twitter and email.

The augmented reality initiative is part of Guinness? broader holiday campaign, which also includes out-of-home posters, print, television ads and mobile advertising.

In addition to the holiday-themed promotion, Guinness also recently launched an app for the United States that lets consumers find the nearest pub serving Guinness and rate their experience.

The app for U.S. users also includes pub games and shows consumers how to pour the perfect pint of beer.

Here's a demo video of how the Guinness augmented reality experience works

Augmented beverages
Guinness is not the only beverage company using mobile with a holiday-themed initiative.

Starbucks is also using an augmented reality app that lets users interact with the company?s holiday-themed merchandise (see story).

Augmented reality has recently become an easy way for marketers to leverage product packaging by adding another level of engagement.

In addition to Guinness, Blippar has worked with other European-based brands including Cadbury and Tesco to build mobile components to existing campaigns.

?Established brands with reputations will help and aid brand solidification by giving consumers tools and apps to interact in interesting ways with the products so that brand awareness goes up and the consumer begins to associate the brand whenever it comes up in their life,? said Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism, New York.

Mr. Buckingham is not affiliated with Guinness. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

?It is a great way for fans of Guinness to further entrench their preference in beers and for potential consumers who have heard of the beer before but never engaged with it before to begin doing so,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York