Print Advertising And Augmented Reality Ads: The Old And The New

Augmented Reality Advertising In Print Ads


If advertising technology had an ‘It’ girl, she would look a lot like Augmented Reality. Propelled by the fanatic popularity of Pokémon Go, whether you love it or loathe it, AR is the tech that’s on the minds of marketers.   One reason is because we know that virtual reality and augmented reality are expected to generate about  $150 billion in revenue by the year 2020.1 Another reason is that, done correctly, it’s pretty awesome.

But AR will have a more significant impact on advertising and marketing—specifically print advertising and magazines.     

Using Augmented Reality, marketers and brands can share a more interactive user experience with their audiences. If you’re not sure what AR is, it’s when print publishers—usually magazines, but also can include packaging and outdoor media, and more—incorporate a layer of digital code into an image. When consumers hold their smartphone or tablet over the image, it triggers the augmented reality program that runs on the mobile device, blurring the lines between the real world and the simulated world. Augmented Reality provides  an interactive dimension that brings something new to the print advertising industry.     

Today’s tech-savvy consumers, of all ages, are more than comfortable juggling multiple platforms and various gadgets. They’re the perfect audience to introduce to AR—they’re interested in and appreciate new technology, and they want to stay in front of the trends.  Enter AR marketing in magazines. 


Many brands have had success with augmented reality advertising in magazines. Way back in 2013, This Old House ran an ad in a print issue, then ran the same ad in 2014. The increase in response between 2013 and 2014 was 214%, which shows that the popularity of augmented reality is growing, as users learn how to utilize the digital layers in print publications to access online information.2     This week, Porsche is taking AR out for a spin, with a 5-page gatefold ad in Outside magazine. The experience, created by the AR player Blippar, allows Blippar's mobile app users to scan the page to unlock a digital display of the mountain, along with a 360-degree photo of a Porsche 718 Boxster interior. They can even play a game driving the car through the mountainous Gotthard Pass.3     

Of course, in addition to the immersive graphics and overall wow factor, the ads also include marketing 101 best practices, like links to corporate and retail websites, social sharing options, calls-to-action, and more. And AR marketing in magazines spans every industry—from travel marketers using virtual maps and simulated tours of cruise ship staterooms, to fashion brands giving shoppers 360° views of their newest line. Ever used those Taco Bell, Ghostbusters, or L’Oreal SnapChat filters? Congratulations, you’re an AR ambassador!


The creative possibilities of AR in magazine ads are unlimited. AR significantly increases reader interaction and has already increased ad revenue. As the technology becomes even more seamless, further combining the virtual and physical worlds, consumers will look forward to experiencing the newest and most cutting-edge advertising available. Brands need to make sure they’re prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that AR advertising in print magazines has to offer.     

Naturally, the best way to experience how amazing AR ads in print magazines are is to see them for yourself.  Some great examples can be found here