12 digital fundraising trends for 2012 #3 Augmented Reality

I came across this fun awareness campaign by youth breast cancer charity CoppaFeel! last month and it caught my eye, not just because it was described as “The world’s first augmented reality 3D boob billboards” but because it was one of the first examples I’ve seen of a charity making use of Augmented Reality in any shape or form.

Augmented Reality is a live view of something in the real world that is augmented by some form of computer generated overlay when it is viewed through a digital device, such as when viewed using the camera on your Smartphone or Tablet. The overlay might be an image, a video, data, or even an audio track.

In the case of the CoppaFeel! campaign when you view the poster through an iOS or Android device running the Blippar App, the image ‘leaps-out’ at you in a simple 3D form and you see, overlaid on the poster, buttons that you can use to interact with the ad. In this case it offered you the opportunity to give each of your boobs a name and then share them thus labelled with your friends on Facebook or Twitter – all in the interest of reminding women, in a fun and memorable way, to check their breasts on a regular basis.

To give you an idea of the resulting experience, you can see the original poster (left) and the ‘augmented’ poster (right) below (as viewed on my iPhone using the Blippar App). Or, for the full experience, just download the Blippar App to your smartphone and use it to view the original poster on the screen.

If you haven’t yet seen some form of augmented reality campaign it is highly likely you will do this year, as digital marketers capitalise on the mass adoption of camera-equipped smartphones to augment everything from billboards (pizza anyone?) and press advertisements (e.g. for Commonwealth Bank in Australia), to guide books (like this App from the Museum of London) and games (use AR to hunt invisible monsters!), and even coffee cups (like Starbucks  Christmas Cup Magic) and your humble pint of beer (Guinness in this case).

In a market research report released last month by US business research company Visiongain, it was estimated that use of Mobile Augmented Reality will increase exponentially over the next five years – to the point at which 25% of all App downloads will incorporate Augmented Reality functionality.

The potential for digitally augmented fundraising? Well what about a WWF poster where the snow leopard leaps out at you to get you to sponsor it? Or a Third World disaster press advertisement where you can see an overlay of a field clinic in action and interact with virtual buttons to donate? Or how about turning your supporter newsletter into an interactive 3D experience along the lines of the AR pop-up books developed by Helen Papagiannis?

Got any other great examples or ideas of how Augmented Reality can be used by fundraisers and non-profit marketers? Do share them by leaving a comment below.

This is the third of 12 posts that I’ll be publishing throughout January on trends I think will prove to be important for digital fundraising in 2012. You can find the previous trend post, on Strategic Blogger Outreach, here.