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BMW try before you buy with AR

BMW introduce ‘try-before-you-buy’ with AR

What is it?

BMW have become the first brand to trial Snapchat’s ‘try-before-you-buy’ AR (augmented reality) lens to promote its new X2 model.

What does it mean?

The use of this lens as part of the Snapchat ad campaign will let customers visualise how products look in the real world before making a purchase. It will also allow customers to “customise” the car by changing the colour, size and placing it in different locations.

 The AR experience can be unlocked by swiping the ad when it appears in Snapchat; the user can then virtually walk around the car and see all its detail.

Is it a game-changer?

Snapchat has, in the past, built 3D characters into the platform, such as the infamous dancing hotdog. But this collaboration with BMW is the first time a product has been translated for the AR world is such a dynamic way. 

As to whether this is a game changer, that can be debated. AR is not exactly new; it has long been an upcoming feature in the digital landscape. Facebook have recently updated their News Feed to make it more compatible for AR content, and brands such as Amazon and Ikea have dipped their toes into the world of AR with apps which allow their users to ‘place’ items of furniture within their home.

The launch of the X2 is the first time that consumers have been able to ‘test’ a product with the use of Snapchat’s 3D AR lens. Does this signal that brands are beginning to recognise the wider capabilities of AR and incorporating them into their social media strategy? Possibly. But first, it seems that AR technology needs to be more widespread in order to permeate mainstream social channels.