Lining up against each other today in the arena of augmented reality football apps are two teams: one from Germany, the other from the U.S. Both sides play mightily different football--while Germany's is a model of teutonic efficiency, a collaboration of three major players: Junaio, Impire, and Vodafone Deutschland, the U.S. model is a cute little banner ad that puts the spectator at the center of the action.
The smartphone app--for iPhone and Android models only--allows users to find the closest public viewing area to them, and leave comments for their mates via either Facebook or a Vodafone-supported Web site. You get the stats, and if you're lucky enough to be watching the divots flying in a South African stadium, you get a spanky little virtual scoreboard suspended above the turf.
The second one is a scruffier prospect--think Dempsey sans razor--that is part of an online AT&T campaign. It's been developed by Zugara, BBDO, and Zoic studios, and gives you five chances to beat the keeper with a headed goal. Click on a banner ad--seen here on ESPN.com--and, with a little help from your Webcam, head the ball into the net. That is, if you're good enough.
Actually, as Alan Hansen, hatchet-faced hatchet man footballer-turned-BBC pundit, would say the scoreline--read headline--flatters to deceive. While the app is as professional and informative as you can get, the banner ad just shades it--because it's fun. And because my bosses are American.