How charities are campaigning using augmented reality
Websites, blogs, email newsletters and social media have long been standard tools in the campaigner’s toolkit, but there’s a new kid on the block - augmented reality.
Note: this article was updated on 4th April 2012 to add information about an augmented reality campaign by Crisis and Aurasma. Skip to the new content.
Many charities, as a result of cuts to funding, project closures and the loss of key staff, are turning to technology to communicate their messages more efficiently and to larger numbers of potential supporters. Augmented reality is one such technology.
According to WIkipedia, “Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.” At its most basic, it involves a user pointing their phone’s screen at a physical object and additional information is overlaid onto the screen, offering additional interaction with the world around them.
There are increasing numbers of augmented reality campaigns in the business world, including a 3D world you can control with your Adidas shoe and augmented reality greetings cards from Hallmark. There are clear benefits to teaching and learning, especially given the proliferation of mobile devices and how reliant students have become on their phones, and the tourism industry can benefit immensely from digital trails and additional signage and information accessible from mobile devices without cluttering the environment with visual noise.
Examples of charity-related augmented reality apps, however, are few and far between.
Enter Save the Children, who have just launched an augmented reality campaign to help raise awareness and boost donations for their East African Appeal, using a digital message embedded in the newsletter mailed to their 240,000 supporters.
Recipients of the newsletter who own an iOS or high-powered Android device simply need to download the free Aurasma app and point the camera of their smartphone at the newsletter to watch an engaging video about the charity’s life-saving work, embedded in the page itself. Users then have the option to click-through to Save the Children’s website and make a donation.