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Avatar Pushes Augmented Reality

December 23, 2009 - 5 Comments

The new James Cameron movie, Avatar, is a next generation film that truly blurs the line between animation and reality.   Add to that mix the elements of new 3D technology, and you see why Cameron waited for the technology to catch up to his vision of the planet world Pandora.   

The movie is not only pushing the boundaries of progressive movie making, but the marketing effort associated with the movie is tremendous.   The movie has a full array of cross brand promotions with major food outlets, as well as a line of augmented reality action figures.   



These action figures are not the ones you might remember, in fact, they are nothing like you have seen before.    These actions figures look deceiving at first, as they seem similar to a small remote control.   However, once the devices are placed in front of a webcam, the action begins.   In addition to the control of the figure that we have seen in other AR demos, this goes further by adding controls directly on the physical device.   Press a button, and the figure takes flight; press another, and the guns begin to fire.    Add another figure, and they can interact.   Check out the demo below.

No campaign would be complete without a major food vendor tie-in, and for Avatar, it’s McDonalds.   Aside from the normal posters and commercials, this campaign also contains AR components.  By partnering with AR pioneer Total Immersion, the campaign centers around “thrill cards.”  These cards are packaged with Big Macs, and each display a different view into the world of Pandora.   The cards allow users to interact with the environment, exploring the fantasy world and seeking out what lurks behind the lush landscape.    The promotion started on December 18th,  and as of yet I have not had a chance to play around with the thrill cards.   The thought of eating at McDonalds is not very appetizing, so I might have to bribe someone there into giving me some thrill cards.   Once I get my hands on some, I will update this post with my review.  

Another major player in the AR campaign is Coke Zero.  Each can has an ID tag, that invites the user to visit, a special site that allows the user to hold up the can of Coke Zero, activating the AR on the screen.   This will no doubt introduce AR to many who are not familiar with the technology.   Coke produced over 130 million cans, making this one of the largest AR programs to date.  I will have to pick one up at lunch!   


Please let me know your experiences with this AR campaign, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.   


Hope you have a GREAT holiday and a great new year!   See you in 2010! 

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  1. I really enjoyed watching the film, it was a great experience. Your post is a really good one feels like I am reliving the whole experience over again. Looking forward to enjoy similar experience through Acer's new Avatar.

  2. It is expected that by the 2018 all the LCD and led technologies will be replaced by the 3d technology. 3d TVs are the next generation.

  3. Adam-I agree, the 3D experience is a step forward from the old style. It sounds like you are waiting for holograms that dont need 3D glasses, I would like to see it as well! Make sure to check out Cisco Live Virtual at Barcelona, we will feature a special keynote Telepresence demo that may contain some cutting edge holographic imaging. Dan

  4. Both are prime examples of how new possibilities are being created thanks to emerging technologies and their fit with offline retail outlets and the web.

  5. I really enjoyed Avatar, and it's nice to see that 3D is taking off again. I guess people are getting spoilt with all their high definition"" display devices in their home, which seem to be getting bigger and bigger and want an even more engrossing experience. It seems that 3D should be really taking off next year in the consumer entertainment sector as well. I follow trends in TVs and PC monitors quite closely and it seems that people really are after a proper 3D experience again. Maybe some day we won't even need to wear those annoying glasses!"