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  • Writer's pictureBas Gezelle

5 Ways AR makes brands part of the fan experience

This summer is full of major sporting events such as the Olympics and the European Football Championship. The fans will live towards this, be in ecstasy and enjoy it for a long time to come. This fan experience is enhanced with (branded) augmented reality content and experiences.

AR content makes the fan with experience and interactivity really part of their favorite team, player or athlete and a fan can really support them by sharing that experience. I will explain the many possibilities for brands with concrete examples.

1. AR drives branded fandom

Being a fan means supporting a team or club unconditionally and, above all, showing that to everyone. Wearing the colors on the heart. Of course, fans do this with shirts, caps and flags and virtually this is no different. With AR, the face or body of the fan is tracked and a virtual jersey or cap is put on or virtually painted. And if that were not enough, it is also possible with AR to place a fan in the middle of the stadium or to have it surrounded by his favorite athletes. Both of which can be shared on social like the examples from Paris Saint-Germain and Unibet on Snapchat below.

The same face tracking can also be used to play games. The face becomes a controller through which virtual games can be played, as shown in these examples from the Miami Dolphins or Bayern Munich.

2. Make at-home viewing immersive

As soon as the match starts, a magical experience starts to happen on the screen, but brands can also enrich the viewing experience around the screen. There may be additional information about the team or statistics of the match. The example below from Red Bull shows the full route live with additional information in AR.

In addition to information, athletes themselves can also stand in a fan's room before or during the match. Athletes can be recorded as 3D video so that a video in AR can really be viewed from every angle. The athletes are so real in front of them, such as the example below of Pepsi and Lays with a Messi and Pogba who are at home with the fan, Siert Vos of Ziggo Sports who does a preview, or these NFL players during the Super Bowl doing crazy dances at a fan's house and are easy to share.

Where previously the fans were placed in the stadium, the stadium or the dressing room can also be brought into the house via a so-called AR portal. A fan walks through a virtual door with his phone and imagines himself in the stadium of the match such as the NBA and NFL portal below.

3. Turn every object into a branded fan experience

The stadium itself can also offer a fan experience in AR. Buildings are then completely mapped so that the AR experience connects seamlessly with the physical world. This AT&T x Samsung experience is a great example of this. This is a grand experience, but any object, including the products of brands, can be the basis for an AR experience. Each package of a product can trigger an AR experience like this game on a Red Bull can or an NHL ice hockey match on a six pack.

4. Make an experience of wearing and buying merchandise

An AR portal can provide access not only to the stadium, but also to the fanshop so that fans can shop at home to support their favorite team even better. And with the increasingly better tracking within the AR platforms of, among others, Snapchat, sports merchandise can be tried on right away. To see how that jersey or cap looks. And that is also the great thing about AR that it enters all phases of the customer journey, from awareness to conversion, because these products can also be purchased directly in the webshop at the touch of a button.

Virtual merchandise is certainly not only used to purchase the physical product, but also increasingly to be worn and displayed virtually. Gucci, for example, which only sells its sneakers "Gucci Virtual 25" virtually. But also Snapchat, which has special outfits for their Bitmojis with both Ralph Lauren and Levis and which can also be worn with body tracking. This could work perfectly for fan merchandise as well. And also fun to become and manage the mascot of the team in AR in this way.

5. Make the athlete better and the sports experience more fun

3D video that has already been mentioned can also be perfectly used to transfer the skills of athletes at home or on the sports field to fans. If someone wants to become as good as their hero, the fan can watch all their signature moves in a branded AR experience. Or maybe that one bicycle kick or that save from that keeper during a certain European Championship. For example, Verizon has made an app with golfers' moves in AR.

And body tracking in AR is not only used for fun and shopping, but also to track sports moves. In this way, a game element can be added to, for example, a workout. These Snapchat Lenses from Nike can count the number of squats, but also play a game via movements such as jumping over hurdles.

In short, the possibilities are endless to play a role in the fan experience this sports summer. To boost the anticipation, to enrich the competition tension and above all to make it shareable. At PLAYAR we like to tell you more about it. We wish you a very good sports summer for now!

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