Restaurant Goers Wowed by Interactive Newspaper-Themed Menu with Layar

Chris Cameron May 12, 2015

Albron, a Dutch food services company, has teamed up with communications agency de Toekomst to bring Layar’s Augmented Reality technology to its restaurant menus. Albron, which operates Grand Café-style restaurants at Center Parcs Holiday Villages across western Europe, commissioned de Toekomst to produce interactive menus that resemble newspapers.

The menus, which have been distributed among Albron’s 10 Center Parcs restaurants in the Netherlands and Belgium, provide an entertaining and engaging restaurant experience for visitors. Customers can use the free Layar App to scan the newspaper-style menu to access interactive digital content.

“People get flooded with information and tend to read less information,” says Corine Holtmaat, Activation Manager for Albron. “Images and video are the right media to tell a story and really engage a viewer, hence the choice for Layar.”

The unlockable content includes food and drink suggestions based on the current weather conditions, videos showing the stories behind foods and brands like chocolate and Heineken, detailed overviews of the restaurant’s catering concepts, and even a poll to vote for their favorite restaurant employee.

“Our company is called de Toekomst, which is Dutch for ‘the future,’ so it’s in our company DNA to look forward to the world of the future and use modern technologies such as Layar for our online and printed media,” says Nic roos, Director of de Toekomst.

The employees of the restaurants have been instructed to help explain the interactive menus to customers, which you can see in the video above (even if you don’t speak Dutch).

To try it yourself, check out our Client Examples page and scan the newspaper menu with Layar.


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Mattel Promotes Barbie® in Canada with Interactive In-Store Displays and Accessories

Chris Cameron April 29, 2015

Toy manufacturer Mattel is turning to Layar’s Augmented Reality technology to promote one of the world’s most iconic and famous toys: Barbie®.

During the busy holiday shopping season, Mattel partnered with Toys“R”Us Canada, one of the world’s largest toy stores, to promote Barbie®. The promotion objective is to engage with young girls and parents at home, in-store and online and runs in store into Summer 2015.

Brandfire Marketing Group was engaged by Mattel with the challenge to bring Barbie® to life throughout the consumer purchase journey. Working with Blippar’s Nigel Newton, Vice President for Canada, Brandfire was able to create an omni-channel campaign that brought consumers in-store and engaged with them at shelf level by inviting them to participate in secret savings. AR content was also featured in select email blasts as well as additional custom-created entertainment content. All of these elements ended with access to a free downloadable Barbie™ Diary with integrated AR content.

The Barbie™ Diary includes several interactive AR elements as well as a savings coupon for all Barbie® purchases in-store at Toys“R”Us Canada. Scanning the coloring pages with the Layar App reveals inspiration for how to complete the drawing, while games and puzzles have their answers revealed through Augmented Reality.

“At Mattel, we are constantly challenging ourselves to innovate at retail and bring our brands to life in-store for the customer. Layar provided a great platform for consumers to interact and engage with our brand directly at shelf in an exciting new way,” said Lu Huang, Sr. Marketing Associate, Barbie®. “We kicked off with a few smaller executions to test out the technology, which was new to us, but we are excited about the endless possibilities. Imagine being able to “meet” a life-size talking and moving Barbie® character at your local Toys“R”Us store – how cool would that be? I’m sure we’re not far away!”

Mattel and Toys“R”Us Canada have also produced both in-store displays as well as direct mail flyers for the campaign. Nearly six million copies of the Toys“R”Us Canada Holiday Toy Book featuring 10 interactive AR pages were distributed to homes and store locations across Canada. Scanning the pages with Layar App provided a direct link to shop for Barbie® online.

This combined promotion from Mattel and Toys“R”Us is a great example of how Augmented Reality and Interactive Print can be used to engage audiences in a wide variety of complementary ways.


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Zalando’s SDK-Powered Interactive Magazine is Back

Chris Cameron April 14, 2015

Last year we told you about how Zalando, Europe’s leading online-only shoe, fashion and accessory retailer, had integrated the Layar SDK into its iOS app to give users a unique AR experience for its magazine. Now, the latest issue of Zalando’s magazine is out with even more great Augmented Reality and Interactive Print experiences.

Several pages within the magazine have been made interactive, giving readers a unique print-to-digital shopping experience that connects items in the magazine with their digital counterparts on the Zalando website. A variety of Augmented Reality features wow readers as photography comes alive with behind-the-scenes videos, and 360-degree experiences give them new views of top products, and much more.

“This new feature is a great opportunity to offer our customers additional inspiration for gifts, festive outfits or even their own wish list,” said Arne Schepker, Vice President of Brand Marketing at Zalando (translated from the company’s German press release). “With videos, music and 3D views, we encourage interaction with our customers and make our brands and products even more vivid.”

iOS users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland can download the Zalando app and scan the pages of the latest issue to see the interactive content. To see it in action, have a look at the video below!


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Partner Spotlight: Digital Narrative

Chris Cameron March 17, 2015

If you’ve noticed all of the Augmented Reality and Layar activity coming out of South Africa over the last year or so, you can probably thank one of our Layar Partner Network members, Digital Narrative.

2014 was busy year for Digital Narrative, as the creative agency helped several brands and publishers add Interactive Print to their marketing strategies. This includes a travel contest with vida e caffè, and several issues of Food & Home Entertaining from Caxton Magazines.

Both were widely successful campaigns, and in 2015, the agency doesn’t show signs of slowing. Here’s a look at what Digital Narrative already has cooking this year.

Sea-Change Exhibition
The Sea-Change Exhibition in Cape Town, South Africa, is a multimedia project that tells the story of the birth of humanity and the ancient relationship we all have with the sea. Displaying large format photographs along the sea wall on the promenade, a selection of these panels are transformed into high-definition videos through Augmented Reality when scanned with the Layar App.

Online retailer and exhibit sponsor Pick n Pay also invited the exhibit to participate in their Cape Town Cycle Tour expo stand earlier this month. A selection of the panels were on display where staff with iPads showed off the interactive AR videos to the public, helping to generate over 5,000 views in 3 days.

“I have been amazed at the power of AR (and specifically the LAYAR app) to add an exciting new dimension to our exhibition,” said Ross Frylinck, co-director of the Sea-Change Foundation. “It’s a very easy app to use and the feedback from the public has been really positive. To see our photographs come to life in HD video has been very rewarding.”

Interactive Wall at IAB Summit
Digital Narrative also created another type of “wall” exhibit, this time at the recently held IAB Summit. The concept was a large 4m x 5m Pinterest board-style wall, and each item could be scanned with Layar to reveal the exciting possibilities of Augmented Reality.

“Layar’s Augmented Reality is a QR Code on steroids! No wait, even a great QR Code is still a QR Code and Layar is a whole new ball game,” said one attendee. “Watching a wall, a document or even a business card come to life in front of you is mind altering.”

MINI 5 Door
And finally, Digital Narrative was recently employed to help showcase some of the new features of the MINI 5 Door at The Design Indaba expo in Cape Town. Users could scan displays and parts of the car to hear the engine sounds on specially provided headphones, watch the latest television commercial, view a 360º panorama of the car or enter a contest to win an iPad Mini.

“The augmented reality on the MINI Design Indaba expo stand was great! It helped communicate the essence of the stand by taking the 5 senses to the next level,” said Carmen Slade, Marketing Manager MINI. “This tie into the MINI 5 Door hatch on the expo floor was a great brand fit and one enjoyed by all who interacted with it.”


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Layar SDK Now More Customizable Than Ever!

Chris Cameron March 2, 2015

At Layar we’re proud to help bring Augmented Reality to the masses by making it quick and easy to create a unique interactive experience, but we also know it’s important for brands to maintain their identity. That’s why we have the Layar SDK, which allows anyone to embed the awesome power of the Layar App into their own iOS and Android apps - and today, this tool got a big upgrade!

The newly updated Layar SDK is now even more powerful, and even more customizable with a bunch of new options to craft your own unique AR app experience. We’ve listened to loads of feedback from SDK users and those interested in using it to help us implement some of the most sought-after features from an AR app SDK. Here’s a rundown of what’s new.

Even More Custom Interface Options
Now you can completely disable the Layar UI and create your own interface that matches your style and goals. We’ve also made it possible to add new features like a Screenshot button, and you can choose to hide or show other features like loading indicators, the audio player bar and the replay button at the end of AR videos.

More Control of Pop Out Behavior
By far one of our most requested features, you now have much more control over how the Pop Out feature behaves. You can choose whether the Pop Out view is 2D or 3D, whether the reference image is shown or hidden and you can allow content to automatically reattach to the reference image when tracking resumes. Check out this video example to see what we’re talking about.

Infinitely Looping Video
Your AR videos don’t have to end with a replay button. Instead you now have the option to allow them to loop infinitely.

Enhanced Workflow Plugins
We’ve created a plugin for the popular PhoneGap open source app development framework, making it easy to add the Layar SDK to your workflow. Check out our PhoneGap tutorial for help using the plugin. And for Android SDK users, we’ve also added support for Android Studio to make the SDK easier to use.

Interested in using the Layar SDK to make your very own Augmented Reality app? Learn more here and get your hands on the SDK for free right now!


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