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AMC Theatres tries augmented reality to activate static movie posters

AMC Theatres is thinking outside of the box with how mobile can elevate the moviegoing experience via an in-application augmented reality feature.

The movie chain has updated its iPhone app to let consumers scan 25 movie posters to learn more about the film and buy tickets. To kick off the app launch, AMC Theatres is also rolling out a sweepstakes this fall that rewards consumers for downloading and interacting with the app.

“Augmented reality offers the ability for entertainment venues, in this case, movie theatres, to offer their audience something really special on their device of choice, the mobile phone,” said Lauren Offers, global head of marketing for Aurasma, London.

“Moviegoers are already interested in the material at the venue and have their phones on-hand, so augmented reality is a great way to deliver bonus content to that high-value audience,” she said. “It demonstrates the theatre as a quick adopter of the newest technology, and it provides more awareness of future movies available at their retail locations.”

AMC Theatres declined to comment for this story. The technology is powered by Aurasma.

Augmented movies
The augmented reality feature is found within the “My AMC” tab. The section walks consumers through how the technology works with mobile-enabled movie posters.

The posters include an augmented reality symbol at the top to indicate that the content is scanable.

Once the poster is recognized by the app, consumers can either watch the film’s trailer or buy tickets. If tickets are not available yet, users can save the film and receive an alert once tickets go on sale.

AMC Theatres is also launching an augmented reality sweepstakes within the posters to help market the app. The sweepstakes will run through Oct. 30.

When consumers scan a movie poster, a button lets consumers fill out an entry form and sign up for the movie chain’s SMS coupons.

Five winners will receive movie tickets for a year or up to 100 tickets. Users can enter up to 10 times.

To promote the new app feature, AMC is leveraging in-theater signage and videos that are connected to a sweepstakes.

Posters and calls-to-action during the AMC First Look pre-show prompt users to download the app for a chance at winning the free tickets.

In addition to augmented reality, the app lets consumers find nearby theaters, view movie showtimes and read reviews.

The in-theater mobile promotion

Mobile interaction
Since debuting its ticketing app in 2012, AMC Theatres has done quite a bit in mobile (see story).

Most recently, the brand ran a summer campaign that aimed to build up the company’s SMS efforts (see story).

Augmented reality is often criticized as a gimmick for brands, but in this case it seems that the technology works in linking consumers with additional digital content from a print ad.

Versus a QR code that takes up room on a print ad, image recognition and augmented reality does not require the brand to place a marker on a print ad, which is appealing for a brand as long as consumers are aware of how the technology works.

“Augmented reality offers tons of opportunities for movie chains to provide interactive experiences for their patrons,” said Lisa Hu, vice president of business development for North America at Blippar, New York.

Ms. Hu is not affiliated with AMC Theatres. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

“Not only can the company provide locations of nearby theaters and lists of upcoming show times, but they can also offer special deals and discounts to fill empty seats and boost concession sales,” she said. “And, of course, having an augmented reality experience trigger trailers for upcoming films, behind-the-scenes content and exclusive interviews will also result in higher levels of consumer engagement.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York