The London 2012 Olympic Games are fast approaching. I'm eager to see the extent to which Augmented Reality could be applied to this global celebration of human athleticism. I'm keeping a list of all the campaigns and applications being developed for this special event. Today the first instance was entered in my list. If you want access to this list, send me a message.

BP America recently launched as a component of its Team US support, a campaign using AR to raise public awareness of the US Olympic team.  They've worked with rising stars in archery, cycling, gymnastics, track & field and swimming, as well as some athletes with handcaps shown in the graphic below, to develop content (video clips and photographs). In addition to populating their web site, they had the help of New York City-based Augme to package the content into AR experiences triggered by using trading cards.


The system seems a bit of a stretch. There are a lot steps for users, even if they are sports fans.

Imagine this:

  1.  BP America will need to spend a few (certainly 5 figures) dollars and weeks letting people know that there are trading cards in upcoming issues of Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine.
  2. Then, after buying the BusinessWeek and finding a card, the user will need to follow instructions leading them to a web page where they can launch the image recognition. A press release says that the app is also available for mobile (I was unable to find it, but let's assume for the moment that it's available on iTunes)
  3. Finally, if they are able to get the software to work, the Internet connection is high speed and their computer is sufficiently powerful, they will need to have a web cam. All included in a smartphone, of course.
  4. Those with all the components will then raise the trading card in front of the webcam or smartphone.

I'm not a BusinessWeek subscriber and will probably not find these cards, but I'd really like to know how the use of AR in this scenario is going to bring more value to sports fans than watching the videos and looking at photos already on BP America's web site.

I'll contact the people at Augme who designed the campaign and ask if I can see the statistics on this experiment in a few months time.