If I were four years old, I know exactly what I would do after seeing the Band Aid Magic Viewer AR app in action. I’d go out and skin my knee.
“Ma!!! I hurt myself. I need Kermit.” Or I might just rifle through the box of Muppet-branded Band-Aids and aim the new iOS app at the bandage. In one of the most thoughtful and entertaining uses of AR I have seen yet from a branded app, the collaboration of Muppets, Band-Aid and the JWT team behind this generate genuine fun.
The app load time is a bit long, considering that you probably have a crying kid there waiting to be entertained after having gotten a boo-boo. But the ideal use case here is that the app takes some of the hurt out of the hurt by distracting a kid with her favorite characters. You aim the app viewer at a Band-Aid, and it triggers one of three interactive animated sequences.
In one, Kermit plays his rainbow song while strumming a banjo and swinging. The swing responds to your tilts. In fact, you can get him to swing backward and forward in and out of the screen. Miss Piggy is her diva self, demanding to be photographed in her various poses and getting impatient with being left waiting. And Gonzo does his usual stupid Gonzo trick, bounding to the screen to hold on with suction cups. Your job is to shake him loose. Good thing Apple builds these devices well, because it takes some serious rattling.
After oh-so-many brand apps and AR executions that strike me as just dismal, it is refreshing to see someone get these things right in all the ways that should seem so obvious.
The AR is simple, genuinely engaging and actually works. I have suffered through too many AR schemes that make me jump through hoops, position celebrity cutouts in just the right way or play some stupid “collect-them-all” game that really is about the merchant and not about my enjoyment. These animations are rich, good and interactive. They are not about the AR wizardry, but about the end user enjoyment. They even give you a printable Band-Aid so you don’t need to buy a pack. They know it is all about the branding.
And the AR may not be fancy, and it may not track the phone position to genuinely enhance the physical view. Some may say this is barely AR. So what? Only your AR-obsessed programmer cares. My kid doesn't.
And they leverage the licensed characters to good effect. Kermit, Piggy and Gonzo are all in character and engaged in doing all the things we already love about them, not shilling or just standing there. Even Animal appears at the app load screen to remind us to turn up the sound for best effect. It is true to the licensed brand and it makes excellent creative use of the tie-in. There is nothing cloying or gratuitous here.
Finally, this is true to the Band-Aid brand and it provides a creative service. The use case is needing a Band-Aid, which every parent knows…sometime multiple times a day. This app speaks directly to a familiar experience and provides both parent and child with a fun moment. It provides a real service, but at the same time creates a seamless experience that is fun begging to be reused. Using mobile devices that enable brands to be entertaining, distracting media platforms should be de rigueur in this field.