HarperCollins gets into AR

The publishing company launches its first augmented reality-focused campaign at Indigo stores.

HarperCollins has launched its first augmented reality-centered campaign for the release of This Dark Endeavour, a novel about young Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel.

The campaign, which features creative by Dentsu Canada, is running in Indigo stores across Canada and features markerless AR, which, unlike more traditional versions of the technology, uses natural images to trigger an animation. In this case, consumers run a smartphone enabled with the free mobile app over a large bookcase backdrop to reveal the animation.

Shelly Dwyer, associate CD, Dentsu Canada, says the idea for the AR-based campaign came from client HarperCollins coming to the agency and saying they wanted to use the technology.

“The idea for the books flying off the shelf was inspired by the central theme in Kenneth Oppel’s book, which was discovering hidden worlds in libraries,” she says. “AR isn’t new, but we wanted to push the boundaries of it by having people do it themselves, not giving them a big marker and saying to point it at something.”

Dwyer says it is the first time the agency has used the technology in this way, noting it is bang-on for the book’s tech-savvy target of 12- to 16-year-olds.

“Even if the target reader hasn’t seen AR before they will be open to looking at it and playing with it,” she says.