by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) Augmented reality (AR) is hardly a new concept – it’s been tried before and often the results have been gimmicky. But I think Appletiser’s AR “Appletiser Collectables” campaign for the “Months of Love” really works, for various reasons.

Who doesn’t know that 14 February is St Valentine’s Day? But did you know that February, March and April have been designated the “Months of Love?”

Appletizer CollectablesIt seems that someone — probably a marketer — has decided that one day is not enough to celebrate romance, and that three months affords lovers and brands a much better time frame to connect. Well, for a marketing campaign it certainly makes sense.

When I think of Appletiser, the first thing that springs to mind is ‘a special occasion’, which is, of course, the brand promise.

Appletiser’s ads have firmly positioned this homegrown South African refreshment as the ideal soft drink to add some sparkle and fun to any celebration.

To tie this in with the Months of Love idea, Appletiser has released 275ml limited-edition Appletiser and Grapetiser bottles with 28 specially designed labels using fun, romance-related themes.

The campaign that ad agency TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Johannesburg and digital animation company, Pollen, came up with, in order to enhance the limited-edition bottle, was to create an app that provides an augmented-reality experience.

By aiming a smartphone’s camera at one or two of these special bottles, the app superimposes animated characters onto the live background. With the bottles standing on a surface such as a table, the app uses the camera to interpret the environment, and the characters appear to walk from behind the bottle and move around on the table; sounds also complement the action.

APPletiser Bring the Romance to LifeEven if the camera moves around, the app cleverly tracks the movement so that the characters appear to be in the scene.

The campaign was kicked off with publicity on YouTube and targeted ads in mainstream magazines.

The hope is clearly that the bottles themselves will do the rest of the job. The app could be an icebreaker in a social situation such as a restaurant or a club, where sharing something on a smartphone can create a moment of fun and closeness.

When the app is pointed at one of the limited-edition bottles, it shows a different animation, depending on which label is used, and whether there are two bottles or just one. There are nine different episodes, featuring three characters.

The characters are a dashing (if slightly inept) Johnny Appleseed, who is wooing the slinky, sexy Apple Blossom; and there’s a mischievous QP1D, the bazooka-carrying, hovercraft-riding version of Cupid (who seems equally enamoured of the curvaceous belle).

The different episodes feature scenes such as Johnny sending a paper jet to Apple Blossom, which lodges in her hair, or Cupid sending Johnny a love-arrow, which turns his head into a great big heart that explodes… it’s pointless describing them, because it’s the animation that makes it funny.

Appletizer Collectables: QP1DAppletizer Collectables: Apple BlossomAppletizer Collectables: Johnny Appleseed
The characters are creatively conceived — they have distinct personalities — and the episodes have just the right balance of ‘cute’ and ‘sexy’.

I think this AR campaign this really works, for several reasons. First, it’s simple — the app loads quickly, and, as the software discerns the label, it gives visual feedback in the form of a countdown. Secondly, it’s playful and amusing and thus memorable. Thirdly, it encourages user interaction. Fourthly, it is very tied in to the branding of the product.

So, congratulations to Appletiser for taking a risk on a new medium, and to TBWA and Pollen for an execution that has set the bar for all future augmented-reality concepts. Now get your hands on some of those Appletiser bottles, download the app (Apple or Android) and be prepared for some fun.


Oresti PatriciosAd of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research.

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