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Today's Vision of Tomorrow: Augmented Reality-Boosted Beer Drinking, Via Stella Artois

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.

stella artois AR

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.

[Via YouTube]

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  • Chris Reich

    I like the linkage of product to provider. But I do not like the life dominance the I-Phone seems to be achieving. I recently spent a week at a trade show with a sales rep and his I-Phone.

    Time for lunch? I-Phone. Directions to party? I-Phone. Where's the bathroom? I-Phone. What should I eat? I-Phone. What do I do now? I-Phone. Buy a T-Shirt? But which????? Picture to wife. I-Phone.

    There are levels to this new Dantesque I-Phone hell from the circle of useful 'apps' like, er, telephone, to 'I'm too damn dumb to pick out a T-shirt'. In the center circle of hell are those playing games at $80+/mo. on their phones or Twittering what they are having for lunch.

    I'm certainly not anti technology but I see a lot of time that could be used for thinking and solving going to asking a phone for answers. I know this will have long term effects as when store employees got cash registers that tell them the change owed you. Now very few people know how to make change. So what? If the information exists, why the need to know? I mean after all, I buy shoes and have no idea how to make them.

    But that is not the point. It's not about the specific. It's about the general. The more tidbits we get from our I-Phone the less thinking we do. I posit that soon we will forget how to think.

    My nephew came to visit recently. He had his GPS so no need for directions. I specifically put him in a hotel on the same street where we live and only 30 minutes away. Easy. Exit, turn right, drive 18 miles.

    He called 3 hours later, totally lost.

    The point is not that he couldn't use a GPS or whether the GPS had our address in its database. Techies will offer a range of excuses for why their toys don't always work. The point is that he drove for three hours before questioning his location and direction.

    Chris Reich