Augmented Reality Advertising: So Close, And Yet So Far Away

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Nature Publishing Group teamed up with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to run an augmented reality advertising campaign. Point your tablet or smartphone at the print advertisement and watch the beautiful KAUST campus spring to life before you! You can click on the various departments, “talk” to virtual students, and peruse job openings hosted at Naturejobs.

The demonstration video makes this look really great:

Here’s the rub, though: you still need to download the KAUST AR app (iOS or Android). The app isn’t even useful in its own right, which makes the augmented reality portion just a gimmick. There are plenty of AR gimmicks already. Is this really the best they can do? And once you’ve enjoyed the spectacle of the KAUST campus floating inside your phone, you’ll delete the app and never use it again.

This is especially frustrating for me: I was at the KAUST inauguration. The campus is absolutely gorgeous and the facilities are top of the line. If you’re interested in graduate research (or potentially full-time employment) at KAUST, I would definitely recommend you to explore the openings there. But I don’t think a gimmicky AR advertisement is the means to attract the kind of talent they want. What a pity.