Monday, August 31, 2015

The Augmented Reality of Direct Mail

Augmented Reality

I had an experience last week that took my love for direct mail to new heights! As companies begin to expand their creativity and usage of technology that allows for mobile and online integration I can't imagine that people will not soon realize their mistake when they count direct mail out of the marketing mix. 

Last week, I opened my mailbox to find a package from the USPS promoting their new designs and integration options. The package included an offer to receive their new beautifully designed hardcover print options catalog for FREE (of course I returned mine immediately). It also included a vibrant postcard displaying an ice cream cone topped with a textured sugar wafer! Next to the image was the copy, with instructions prompting the reader to "download our USPSAR app and scan the ice cream". As I mentioned in my Creative QR codes article, I hate having to download apps and visit sites to see if "I won" or etc. However this occasion was different, the ice cream cone was so vibrant and the book offer was so gorgeous I couldn't put off the curiosity. So, I downloaded the app and scanned the ice cream and...(hold on wiping my mouth) watched as chocolate began to flow onto the ice cream, then whipped cream, with a cherry on top and finally a flood of sprinkles! Can you see it!!! A hot day in August watching the most amazing Sunday I've ever seen be created. It was so appealing I had to share it with my kids, each one watching in amazement and by the end of it craving a sweet treat!  

This my friends is the magic of augmented reality and a very successful direct mail package. The outer packaging with its textured print and vibrant colors tickled my senses. The offer of a beautifully bound hardcover book with the promise of more energizing material excited me and the use of augmented reality delivered and lived up to the hype the piece already created. There were no low points in the package and coming from the USPS was very innovative and unexpected. 

There is nothing worse than having to go the extra step to download an app to be disappointed at the end. So before you dash off to brainstorm some sophisticated and "outside the box" 3D experience remember to consider whether:
  1. AR is a good fit for your target audience
  2. How your graphic ties into your message, does AR help or hurt the package
  3. Test it out first to see if you get the desired reaction
If you've considered these factors and are ready to roll out your idea, here is a list I found of the best AR apps for IOS and Android.

Thank you for reading and as always "Keep It Bubblin'!"


I am the founder of Bubblin' Banter Direct, a blog about Direct Marketing. I have been in the Direct Marketing field almost 10 years. I love everything about it and love sharing advice with others on how to keep their brands Bubblin'!

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