Augmented reality is great but are paid ads jumping the shark?

June 1, 2010

Augmented reality adds ads

augmented realityAugmented reality is the overlaying of a computer generated image on to a real life situation by using a camera, for example with a webcam or cell phone camera. We’ve explained augmented reality and discussed its implications in real estate, but we haven’t talked in depth quite yet about the advertising already existing on augmented reality platforms.

In December of 2009, location based service Brightkite added paid ads to their augmented reality offering and are now inking a deal with Starbucks and McDonald’s so that when Brightkite users log in to the augmented reality platform, they see interactive ads for either company.

Jumping the shark?

We’ve been cheerleading augmented reality for some time and likely will continue to do so, but we also cheerlead for a healthy pace of adoption before companies sink millions of dollars into advertising campaigns. Being first off of the block in the augmented reality race will be a good thing for the brands that can afford to take the financial hit due to the high cost, and it will make for a great talking point at technology conferences, but will it actually yield a return?

Given that the majority of people in America still don’t know what augmented reality is, let alone what location based services actually are, is an expensive ad campaign jumping the shark? For the next 12 to 18 months, having a presence in augmented reality is advisable for real estate practitioners, but selling the family farm to buy Brightkite ad space is most likely premature.

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Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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