How AR can be used to enhance Brand Character

6 min read
Blog Author

How AR can be used to enhance Brand Character

Blog Author
6 min read
Brand Characters are a natural extension of a brand, it’s promise and the values it bestows upon customers and there are several ways in which AR can be used to enhance them..

One of the fundamental aspects of AR which is so compelling and makes it unique is the ability to deliver spatial storytelling. That opens up a couple of really interesting new ways for brands and license holders to connect with audiences at a time when it's never been more important for brands to build consumer trust.

68% of people say it’s more important to be able to trust the brands they buy or use today than in the past 

88% of people say trust is more important than loving the product itself 

Outcome: Trust drives growth

Brands are not only built on ability and competence, but also the emotional impact of trust on the consumer. People reward trusted brands with advocacy (61%), purchase (57%), loyalty (43%), and engagement (31%).

Sources: Clear Channel, JCDecaux and Edelman

Brand characters are a natural extension of a brand, its promise and the values it bestows upon customers and there are several ways in which AR can be used to enhance them...

Creating AR episodes

The first one is through what we describe as ‘AR Episodes’. Effectively these are 3D animated shorts that are world tracked and can be placed in your environment (on a tabletop or floor). What makes this experience so unique and effective, is that you, as the end-user control the camera, you can view the episode from different angles and focus on different elements as the story unfolds. This perspective shift and sense of presence seeing it play out in your environment drive a different level of engagement and interaction. That’s not to say it’s better than film, TV or online but it does give a fresh, new and different dimension to the idea of episodic content. 

The other problem this approach solves is creating content that can play well globally across territories without the requirement of much localisation. These episodes don’t require dialogue and play on universal themes so can work across markets with only light adaptation reducing cost.

Bringing brand characters to life



The second area is bringing a new lease of life and depth to brand mascots and characters in general. The use of character to embody a brand’s values and bring a product or service proposition to life is clearly not new by any stretch and has been used from the advent of marketing across sectors from food, beverages to stationary and utilities. 

Characters become a short-hand and creative device to drive brand salience whether that’s a tiger, octopus, meerkat, zebra or other weird and wonderful custom creation breathing life into inanimate objects (red phones, talking vegetables and Weetabix spring to mind!). But as the heyday of TV spots has waned and with the move to digital many of these mascots have ended up as 2D representations of themselves and rather underutilised in recent times. 


Their role has also changed as brands have become more purposeful and become less direct sales vehicles and increasingly ambassadors and used as spokespeople in an age of more conscious consumerism.

Connecting packaging



Here’s where AR fulfils another powerful role especially when it comes to connected products and packaging featuring these characters. We can turn this passive media space and 2D characters into 3D representations of themselves that can walk onto your countertop and talk directly to your audience and involve them in a conversation or activity. 

And it works a treat.  

Recent research working alongside our good partners at Experience Is Everything and System1 showed that this use of brand character in AR for a cereal activation outperformed the ad norm for the category by 55% when it came to eliciting feelings of happiness and surprise. As Orlando Wood, Chief Innovation Officer at System 1 explained. 


‘The AR experience comfortably surpassed category norms for advertising, achieving an emotional response that was amongst the very highest on record’. 


We know from our neuroscience research that it doubles the level of attention and drives a 75% uplift in memory recall. And we know from our collection of data from working on scores of connected packaging campaigns around the world that on average these AR activations deliver 90 seconds of active dwell time and click-through rates that are orders of magnitude greater than other channels alongside lower bounce rates. But it’s the emotional response as well that should not be ignored and is so interesting from the System 1 research and links back to the purpose of using brand characters when it comes to AR.

This is something we’ve seen great success with in the past and indeed present. We worked with TCC to bring their Goodness Gang Go collective of fruits and vegetable characters to life as part of a very successful shopper promotion campaign used across Biedronka and Lidl in Europe to promote healthy eating for parents and kids whilst increasing taps, trips and transactions through the till. 

More recently, there’s been our collaboration with Experience Is Everything for Pop-Tarts owned by Kellogg’s and their creation of a new brand character in Mr.E (pronounced ‘Mystery’…see what they did there?!) brought to life in WebAR to remarkable results.

The experience achieved: 

1.  10% scan rate (typical scan rates for CPG products range between 2-4%) 
2.  82% completion for all users scanning the product packaging and unlocking the character
These results are, quite frankly unprecedented in the industry and are truly unique to the medium of AR.  

Finally our latest work with Zebra Pens and their character Zen the Zebra. This last case shows the power of brand character to bring the brand to life in spatial storytelling creating a unique point of difference in a crowded pens category with little to no product differentiation.

Key takeaways

1. AR opens up a whole new world of spatial storytelling for brands and opportunities like AR Episodes to give a new and fresh perspective on how audiences can interact and engage with your IP.

2. When it comes to brand characters, AR gives a renewed purpose and lease of life to these guardians of a brand’s personality to engage audiences, tell brand stories and drive all-important sales.

3. If you’re a brand owner with your own character or license arrangement with existing IP the data would suggest you’re missing a trick if you’re not bringing them to life with AR to surprise and delight your audience and drive greater brand awareness and emotional connection.

With a camera capability for your business and connected packaging strategy, there’s never been a better time to breathe new life into your existing assets.

To find out more feel free to download our Connected Packaging research report or contact us at to find out how we can help get more out of your brand assets through the magic of AR.