Probably not good news if you've just fallen off the wagon: Stella Artois has just leaped aboard the augmented reality advertising app bandwagon, and it's almost certainly the way beverage ads will go in the future, mainly through convenience.
We've shown you many times the different, exciting ways that AR can expand the utility of your humble smartphone—mainly for fun, but also for useful purposes. Well, Stella Artois has just launched an AR iPhone app dubbed Le Bar Guide that is, so the company says, the "first global 3D augmented reality iPhone bar guide." Essentially it's an AR app that tells you where you can sink a glass of Stella's finest beer nearby to your present location, wherever that may be on the planet. And it therefore neatly wraps up AR's potential fun factor, usefulness, and commercial viability in one tiny app.
The blurb says the app is "for beer connoisseurs and lovers of fine bars around the world"—mostly that involves highlighting bars that serve Stella. But by letting you find bars that serve the brand by locality or rating, the app is promoting both Stella Artois' products and the establishments that actually sell it—damn clever. Thanks to the convenience of AR-assisted navigation to said bars (handy if you're already a little under the influence) it'll probably drive plenty of new foot traffic there. And with the words "Stella Artois" ringing in the mind of the app's users, it'll also likely be responsible for a healthy chunk of sales too.
And that's why you'll see plenty of other beer makers quickly chasing Stella's tail—if there's money to be had, you can be sure they'll try and get hold of some, by hook or by crook. And while this will be no doubt very convenient for the average beer-drinking, smartphone-owning Joe, it could quickly result in a kind of small-market saturation problem (that'll face many products in the AR advert game at some point) with too many competing offerings. Then the companies will have to work out clever ways to make their AR app stand out from the others—using more aggressive AR ad tactics than mere convenience such as this app offers. What do you think the perfect solution might be? I think I may have one idea: AR App-driven drinking games. Oh deary deary me.