Augmented reality will bring new and interesting ways to embarrass ourselves.  Really. 

The 19-year old reggae singer, Sean Kingston, has an upcoming album “Tomorrow,” due out September 22nd, that will include an AR marker in the CD case to be used for a karaoke session with Lil Sean.  Fans will get to sing along on one song, “Fire Burning,” while Lil Sean (a miniature animated version of him shown on his CD cover) dances on screen with them.  The news release claims fans can choreograph his dance moves.  The idea behind the augmented reality project is to get fans to make videos with Lil Sean and send them in or to post them on YouTube.   


I’ve spent my fair share of time in Japan making a fool of myself singing karaoke and if they can get people to post them to YouTube, it’ll drive the marketing through viral videos.  Only if they’re particularly awkward though, which luckily for Sean, is the point of karaoke. 


Epic’s executive vice president of marketing Lee Stimmel had this to say about the project:

It’s all about the one-to-one marketing that we as labels tend to lose.  If I get a 10-year-old kid to get engaged with Sean Kingston by building a video and showing it to his buddies, I just turned on four more guys and gals to him. That has to resonate with entertainment going forward.

The reason I choose this to write about, even though its not even released, is it helps illustrate some of the points I made in the “10 Things Your AR App Must Have To Succeed” post from earlier this week.  The technology is not the star.  Instead, they’ve utilized it to help engage the fan in new and interesting ways. 

This usage is not trying to directly increase click-through, or make immediate sales like a door-to-door salesman.  Consumers are much too savvy to fall for these types of transparent attempts.  Instead, they’re trying to elevate the fan’s experience by investing in making the fan happier.  The service only happens after they buy a CD (granted you can surely copy it from somewhere), so they’re improving the fan’s experience after the purchase.  They believe that excited fans will help generate the sales they want for them which makes sense.  We take purchasing advice from people we trust, not from goofy technology-laden ads. 

Will this campaign be a hit?  Hard to tell.  How easy it is to use and upload will also make a difference. 

I liked the Cannonballz game from Zugara because it did all the uploading for me so I didn’t have to do anything other than jump around in my room like an idiot.  If I’m forced to work too hard to look like an idiot in my own house, then I won’t bother. 

[Via Reuters]


Thomas K. Carpenter

Thomas K. Carpenter is a full time contemporary fantasy author with over 50 independently published titles. His bestselling, multi-series universe, The Hundred Halls, has over 25 books and counting. His stories focus on fantastic families, magical academies, and epic adventures.

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