Augmented Reality: A Supercar for Everyone

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Augmented reality (AR) isn't anything new but with advances in mobile and wearable technology, it's more accessible than ever before. And the great thing about AR is that it gives users a chance to experience something that they're very unlikely to experience in the real world.


Owning a supercar is one of those experiences. At the NYIAS this past week, one supercar manufacturer, McLaren, decided that every one that walked into their "exclusive" exhibit deserved to be a McLaren owner...at least virtually. How did they achieve that? By having a well-executed and fully integrated marketing campaign for the launch of their brand new "entry-level" sports car, the 570S.


It started out with a healthy amount of PR. All new model launches are heavily promoted, but a supercar launch has a certain appeal that gets even non-gearheads excited and McLaren took advantage of it. Then came the experiential portion of the campaign. The McLaren booth at NYIAS was filled with all of their new models and and one classic, but unlike the other exotic brands, the company allowed show goers to get up close and personal (no touching) with each model by just waiting in a brief line.


While in line, the anxious visitors were greeted by brand representatives that engaged with each person individually, asked questions, made jokes, and in an ideal case, got them to download the new 570S mobile app. Along with the app, visitors were given a simple sheet of grid paper with a visual outline of the 570S on one side and app instructions on the other.


This is where AR became the centerpiece of the campaign. A phone's camera, through the 570S app, captures the outline of the car on the grid sheet then displays a virtual model on screen that users can engage with in a number of ways. McLaren has done the AR app thing before with their P1 and 650S models but this app packed in a lot more features that add real marketing value. On top of learning the ins and outs of the car's design, engineering, and performance, users can also fully customize the digital model then share it socially via Twitter or Facebook.


A campaign created for social buzz? Sure, but there's more. In the app, there's another menu strictly for brand engagement. There's a place to sign up for the McLaren newsletter, a map to show where the nearest dealers are, and a link back to the website where users can check out the rest of their lineup.


So what strategies did they use?


  • Traditional PR √

  • Social Media √

  • Experiential √

  • Content √

  • Mobile √


The takeaway?


McLaren isn't in the business of selling vehicles to everybody. It requires a certain taste and a hefty wallet to purchase one of their cars but in order to beat more well known competitors (ie: Porsche or Ferrari), McLaren has to get the word out and differentiate itself. It used a combination of different marketing strategies to achieve a great audience experience but also some fundamental business goals such as increased brand awareness.


Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker

Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Northeast powder hound. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. VP Marketing, Doodle owner and cocreator of my daughter.