When Reality is Boring: Augment It!


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It’s election time which means, among hours of black and white negative campaign ads, it’s time for CNN to go overboard with a new technology that adds little value to their reporting. In 2008, it was the Magic Wall that was amazingly spoofed on SNL. This year, their new toy was augmented reality.

Now, we can’t hate on A.R. ‘ we love it, we’ve blogged about it multiple times, and it has even become an office meme to yell out ‘Augmented Reality’? in brainstorms without additional information behind it. But, the point of this post isn’t to talk about our love (gosh, it really is cool) or hate for A.R., but more to discuss the use of new technology and marketing as a whole. Every year there always seems to be a new ‘it’? tactic that brands want to employ. This is great, brands who are constantly pushing the next technology are better for it. However, many times it happens for the wrong reason. It’s not because it’s an effective vehicle to deliver a brand message, but rather because they saw a competitor use it, or they read an article about it and absolutely need it; NOW. As with anything; using it for the sake of using it without thinking about if it makes sense, or adds value to your consumers, is pointless. Seriously CNN, no one would think less of you if you simply showed a graph with an anchor voice-over. Was there any value added to your viewers by sticking your anchor behind a series of Tetris-like blocks? Absolutely not.

So here’s the learning. Push your brand, try new technology. When done right, it can create a great consumer experience and have a lasting effect on your brand. But understand that sometimes the best ideas are not simply based on the use of a new medium but come when we execute an older or traditional marketing channel really well, or in a way that no one has ever done.

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