May 11, 2017

Why agencies should focus on creating quality AR experiences

Max Dawes




By Max Dawes, Marketing Director, Zappar

I recently spoke with Mario Sergio da Silva Faria, CEO and Founder of Massfar, a Zappar Authorised Partner and one the top AR agencies in Brazil and Portugal. During the conversation, Mario speaks candidly about the problem of agencies producing poor quality AR experiences, which he believes has held back the entire industry. He also outlines how he thinks AR will evolve beyond its current use, and could ultimately feature as prominently in our lives as our smartphones. Be sure to check out each of the zaps that Massfar have created, they're not to be missed...


Mario Sergio da Silva Faria, CEO and Founder of Massfar


MD. Would you start by giving everyone a quick overview of yourself and Massfar?

MF. Hey, my name is Mario and I am the CEO and Founder of Massfar. Massfar is a licensed Zappar partner with ten years of experience in the study and development of content to AR.

We create AR content for companies in Brazil and in Portugal. We have a lot of experience helping companies transform their products, campaigns and ideas into interactive experiences that generate engagement, spontaneous media and financial return.


MD. What are the biggest challenges that Massfar face as an AR design agency in Brazil?

MF. The biggest challenge is convincing companies about the advantages of using AR.  The technology is still in its early stages and brands are still feeling their way around it. That said, many of the most innovative and forward-thinking brands have begun to integrate AR into their campaigns, which we believe will blaze a trail for others to follow.

At Massfar, we are confident in the future of AR and have invested time and resources into learning about the landscape. Our internal team is highly experienced in creating this type of experience. In the past, we watched as a handful of agencies attempted to offer AR, but the output was not of a high enough standard. This affected external perception of the industry and the readiness of AR as a technology.

What people sometimes fail to understand is that AR is a medium, much like YouTube is for video. If you watch a few bad YouTube videos, that doesn’t mean that all video content is bad, it means the content creator did not do a great job. The same principle applies to AR. Unfortunately, too many agencies are still creating sub-par AR experiences and there aren’t enough people creating good stuff.


MD. Please could you outline the AR production process that your company goes through - from winning a brief with a client to publishing the final experience. 

MF. It typically starts with our business development team identifying possible clients. We then study their products and suggest how an AR application might work well in their campaigns, packaging and products. Our focus is on building relationships that will last for several years.

Once a project has been agreed, we work incredibly closely with the client to make sure that they get the outcome that they are happy with. A project tends to last between two weeks and three months, depending on the complexity. Internally, we have some very talented people that work on the projects. We have a 3D team, javascript developers, and graphic designers, who over the years have built up a lot of expertise in AR, and offer a lot of guidance on what will, and won’t work in AR.

"AR is a medium, much like YouTube is for video. If you watch a few bad YouTube videos, that doesn’t mean that all video content is bad, it means the content creator did not do a great job. The same principle applies to AR"


MD. You have used both ZapWorks Designer and Studio tools to create AR experiences for clients. Please talk me through what you see as the benefits of both.

MF. Both Designer and Studio are essential tools for us. We love using Designer for simpler projects where we only use 2D assets. There are some really powerful things that you can do, especially by using the first frame of a video as the target image. The end user can zap the experience, and then the picture instantly comes alive. That is really engaging. A project of global significance was the DVD cover of singer Anita, developed entirely in ZapWorks Designer. (Check out the video just below).

Studio is clearly the more powerful tool, so we choose to use it on the more complex projects. When a client is looking for a higher level of interactivity or something more innovative we will always try to create a Studio experience. In the past, we have created some pretty fun stuff using VR, animated 3D models, and mini games.


MD. How popular is AR within Brazil? What has been the public’s reaction to the medium?

MF. With Massfar’s effort from 2010 through to the present, it is seeing strong growth in Brazil. With simple but objective projects, Massfar has helped popularise the use of AR in our country. Every person reacts in a different way, but one general reaction is the surprise of experiencing major technological breakthroughs like AR.

We believe that AR in Brazil is still a little behind other countries, due to the quality of our internet that is still precarious and is not available in all public places. But it’s certainly becoming more popular. Due to the velocity of the technological evolution that we are going through, I believe there will be way more changes in the next five years compared to the changes we have had in the past 50 years.


MD. Many people are excited about the potential of AR. Looking forward 3-5 years, what do you think the future of AR will be for the average person.

MF. I believe that AR will be a part of the everyday life of people, helping in shopping, payments, disclosure, leisure, teaching and more. We can’t predict how many times that the average person will interact with AR per day, but if you think how many times we check our phones these days, then AR could become just as ubiquitous. Our belief is that certainly, the mobile devices will be, for a long time, the primary facilitators for the use of AR, but I expect to see glasses becoming a complementary use for more specific actions.

"AR will be a part of the everyday life of people, helping in shopping, payments, disclosure, leisure, teaching and more."


MD. What advice would you give to other design agencies/company’s looking to move into the AR content creation fold using Zapworks?

MF. Study the market, study the technology and do not just go out and sell something that you don't have the knowledge about. We must impress people with our projects and not create experiences that make the user frustrated.



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