- HBO worked with Verizon Media to promote the second season of fantasy series "His Dark Materials," which premiered on Nov. 16, with augmented reality (AR) advertising. The campaign marked the first time that an entertainment brand used Verizon Media's AR ads to reach audiences, per information emailed to Mobile Marketer.
- By scanning a QR code with a smartphone camera, mobile users were shown an AR ad unit that let them see a 3D version of a daemon, which is an animal-like manifestation of a person's soul in the show.
- More than half (52%) of entertainment consumers said AR is appealing, while two-thirds want to learn more than about brands that use AR, according to Verizon Media's research. The finding that entertainment consumers are 4.8 times more likely to want to learn about a brand whose advertising is high-quality and fun underscores why entertainment brands like HBO are exploring AR for advertising.
HBO's collaboration with Verizon Media on a campaign for "His Dark Materials" aimed to engage mobile consumers with the show by providing a more immersive experience. As Verizon's research indicates, AR content is appealing to about half of consumers, giving entertainment companies like HBO a way to interact with fans of a show and prolong their exposure to its branding.
HBO's AR ads for "His Dark Materials" follow other innovative efforts to engage viewers with content and experiences inspired by the show. The network this month released an AR app called His Dark Materials: My Daemon that urges people to care for a personalized daemon by engaging in a series of wellness activities. App users can tell their daemon how they feel to get tips on those activities, while progressing through an in-app journey to improve health and happiness of their daemon. As the first season concluded last year, HBO sent personalized daemon sculptures to dozens of its most dedicated fans, as measured by their posts about the "His Dark Materials" on social media. Before that season premiered, HBO released branded AR lenses on Snapchat that let fans interact with characters from the series.
The rollout of higher-speed 5G cellular service by companies including Verizon Communications, parent company of Verizon Media, will help to make AR content more pervasive throughout the U.S. About 83.1 million U.S. consumers, or 25% of the total population, will use AR at least once a month this year, according to researcher eMarketer. As that user base grows 14% to 95.1 million by 2022, brands will have more opportunities to engage consumers with AR experiences.
Verizon Media has made AR content a centerpiece of the promotions for 5G service. Last week, the company showcased the capabilities of its higher-speed cellular network in a collaboration with social media company Snap. The companies hosted a geotargeted AR experience that let users of photo-messaging app Snapchat point their smartphones at the New York Public Library's main branch to see a virtual music performance by Black Pumas singer Eric Burton. In September, Verizon unveiled an AR experience for NFL fans who are unable to attend games in person. The "5G SuperStadium" experience in the NFL app lets fans see a variety of digital content, including "holomojis" of their favorite players, on Apple's 5G iPhone.