Toying around with Augmented Reality

Leave it to the toy business.

People like James Cameron, Mattel, and Lego, experience artists by definition, are quickly picking up on, and beginning to lead, the efforts to actually implement, rather than just talk about, augmented reality at retail.

There are some really innovative packages and POS displays beginning to show up.

Yesterday I wrote a short piece about the continuing use of augmented reality at retail. And in response, my friend Dennis, of the blog truly deeply/madly, alerted me to Lego’s new and really amazing interaction of packaging and point of sale, as shown below.

And here is a link to some additional background on this system, developed by Metaio out of Germany, at

But there are other toy companies involved in this as well. Mattel has a new line of Avatar toys demonstrated below by James Cameron.

The fascinating thing to me will be watching how more traditional consumer product companies begin to use this technology.

Imagine walking into the cheese aisle, lifting up a package of brie, and watching a demonstration of how to integrate this item into a cocktail party menu.

Or wandering into the makeup aisle, lifting up an eye shadow, and not just being able to watch an actual demonstration of its use, but getting a recommendation on a complete facial care regimen, live and customized for you in the store.

Or going to the fresh produce aisle, picking up some lettuce and being able to learn where it came from, who grew it, how to use it in a salad, some suggestions for dressing options, and finally getting some recommendations on other menu items based on what you already have in your cart.

For retailers this offers some very engaging new “sales through experience” opportunities within the store.

For consumer product companies the brand building and cross-sell opportunities are endless.

And for the consumer it promises an integrated shopping experience that can enhance anyones lifestyle.

Very exciting stuff!


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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One Response to Toying around with Augmented Reality

  1. Dennis says:

    Not too many companies have so far managed to really use this technology to give the consumer something extra. The examples above entertains but that is where it stops.

    I don’t know how your suggestion with the eye shadow would work (got to avoid to make people look like a clown lol)
    But in that direction, of actually solving a problem for people, there are a couple of more cool examples I wanted to share. In this article ( at AdAge they listed some of the best I’ve seen:

    – Online clothing store that allows you to “wear” the clothes
    – Samsung that puts up a virtual TV in your room so you can see how it looks (after I saw a friend taping his wall to see how his possible purchase would look I really love this!)
    – USPS: see if your stuff fits into a package prior to going to the post office.

    By the way true deeply/madly is not my blog, I was simply linking to it 🙂

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