The new feature relies on Snapchat’s “Scan” functionality, which will recognize items like McDonald’s fries or a can of Coke, and then respond by unlocking branded AR Lenses.
Unveiled earlier this year, Scan is Snapchat’s visual search offering and AR utility platform.
To make Scan work its magic, users must hold their fingers on the main Snapchat camera screen to search for relevant content and AR Lenses, which is related to what their phones’ cameras can “see.”
McDonald's and Coca-Cola are the first two brands to make use of this functionality.
With their Snapchat cameras, users can now scan the McDonald’s and Coca-Cola logo on various products to unlock branded AR Lenses, which will show up in their Lens carousels.
This required Snap’s engineers to train their machine-learning algorithm to identify the Coca-Cola and McDonald’s logos in the real world.
Snap is positioning the feature as another way to drive engagement with potential customers and affinity with existing buyers.
“Using Scan in this way offers so many possibilities for brands … from creating fun, shareable moments, to sharing product information or offering a virtual trial,” according to Carolina Arguelles, product marketing manager at Snap.
Potentially working in its favor, this type of AR activation is easier than requiring users to scan a “Snapcode” to unlock an AR experience.
The market for mixed-reality apps -- which overlay interactive digital images and videos onto the real world through a smartphone, tablet or smart glasses -- is set to explode over the next several years.
Within five years, mixed-reality-app installs will balloon from 3 billion to 10 billion, according to a recent Juniper Research forecast.Also, the researcher predicts advertising related to mixed reality apps will grow from $2 billion this year to $11 billion by 2024.