The phones have eyes: Vodafone’s augmented reality app brings t-shirts to life

With a big pitch on the go and some unwanted attention from the Commerce Commission and the ASA for misleading and irresponsible advertising, Vodafone’s been in the news a bit recently. But it’s got something slightly more positive to shout about now: an augmented reality (AR) application to celebrate its sponsorship of the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

Youtube VideoYou savvy marcomms folk presumably know that AR is the overlaying of computer-generated content on a live view of the world (here’s a few fine examples). Some of you might even have AR business cards. But it’s still a fairly fringe technology in New Zealand, and, as far as Vodafone can tell, “it’s the first large-scale AR application of its kind” in New Zealand.

Smartphones, as the Web Vision video says, have eyes and ears, so the Vodafone app, which was created by Smudge Apps in Christchurch and can be downloaded at the Android Market, at the iTunes app store or by texting music to 898, allows users to hold up their phone, bring a t-shirt graphic to life and play Avalanche City’s latest single “You and I”.

1200 t-shirts have been made and hundreds of them will be worn for the next few weeks by Vodafone retail staff in the lead up to the awards at Vector Arena on November 3.

“Today’s technology is pretty incredible and we wanted to find a way of connecting our passion for Kiwi music with our love of cool innovation, while having some fun,” says Vodafone general manager of brand and communications, Suraiya Phillimore-Smith. “We know that Android and iPhone users are going to love seeing this in action in Vodafone retail stores. Our staff are going to be flat out standing around as customers point phones at their t-shirts.”

Music fans can also download the Avalanche City single straight to their smartphone via the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards app. In addition the app features highlights from the 2010 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards and finalist profiles.

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