If You Build It, They Will -- Hey, Look, It's Already Built...

Augmented Reality software brings products to life through 3D technology. Its existence dates back to 1990, and software company metaio has been creating commercial campaigns using the technology since 2006.

I wrote about a metaio-executed campaign back in December for MINI convertible, where a print ad and Web cam combined to create a 3D convertible, which potential buyers could view from multiple angles, and the comfort of their homes.

This time around, The LEGO Group tasked metaio to show consumers what the finished product from certain LEGO kits, like a police station, for example, would look like.  In toy stores worldwide, shoppers hold up special LEGO boxes and the kiosk will project an image of the completed toy atop the box. LEGO hopes the digital boxes, which are test-launching, will increase revenue.

This kiosk will be a huge draw to children and parents alike. Sure, the element of surprise is thrown out the window, but instant gratification is brought to the forefront. A toy that could conceivably take hours to unpack and assemble can be shown in seconds, thanks to a camera, display screen and 3D animation software.

I wonder if the technology has backfired though, in terms of consumers changing their minds about buying a product after they've seen the 3D version? I'm leaning toward yes, but that doesn't stop me from eagerly awaiting the next product given the augmented reality treatment. To date, metaio has used its technology to drive print readers online and consumers to cash registers via point-of-purchase displays. Which medium is next?

2 comments about "If You Build It, They Will -- Hey, Look, It's Already Built... ".
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  1. Jeffrey Jones from Word.Jones, February 23, 2009 at 4:56 p.m.

    Lego used to be cool. Now they "package" kits which parents and kids buy for the end result, not the imaginative play in between.
    No one says you can't build something other than the picture on the package, but nowadays, imagination seems to be in short supply in the toybiz. Paint-by-numbers play...
    "Oh, wait Johnny, you're not building that right.... Look at the picture."

  2. Jackie Bassett from BT Industrials, inc, February 23, 2009 at 5:03 p.m.

    As the author of the book "So You Built It & They Didn't COme. Now What?" I think this product is brilliant!

    Yes: maybe some customers after seeing a product in 3D won't buy "it" but that's what companies want to know early , before millions of dollars in Sales & marketing are invested in something no one really wants.

    Yes: Then a company can recover and learn quickly 'why not" and soone get orders for a rproduct they haven't even built yet!

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