The automobile manufacturer has launched a marketing operation in Singapore, based on a downloadable iPhone application plus an advertisement in the Straits Times.

Volkswagen Shows off its Models in Augmented Reality


Marketing and advertising people today often use matrix barcode technology. This is the black and white mosaic which you take a picture of with your smartphone to obtain access to content. They have so far made much less use of Augmented Reality, though. On New Year’s Day however Volkswagen launched a large-scale operation using AR technology, aimed at Singaporean users of iPhones and iPads. Users must first of all download an iOS 4 free application from the iTunes Store, offered by VW Singapore. The app was developed by the local office of digital marketing agency Tribal DDB.

Booking a test drive remotely

Leading local newspaper the Straits Times published on 1st January a Volkswagen advertisement showing 14 models on a circular podium and wishing everyone a “Happy New Year” with a “Happy New Car”. Readers were encouraged to download and launch the application on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, then point the phone and frame the VW logo as if taking a photo. When you do that, the advertising image automatically becomes interactive on the touch screen. The user can select one of the VW models just by touching it and will then get a full presentation of the vehicle - different views, large-scale plans showing the details, just as you would find in a catalogue. Even better, the app lets you book a (real life) test drive of the car you’re interested in. The offer remains valid until the end of February, just in case a Straits Times reader has kept the advertisement page or happens to find one.

An experience to be enjoyed by more and more people

This is the first time that Volkswagen has offered this type of experience in Singapore. However the German carmaker did launch an AR application in July last year to unveil the Golf Cabriolet. A user was able launch the application from images of the car available on the Internet, at the showrooms, or in the catalogues and bring up an interactive Golf Cabriolet in virtual 3D on the iPhone screen. Other brands have started to follow suit, Heinz for instance offering cooking recipes that appear when you frame the label on a bottle of tomato sauce with your phone. With the proliferation of smartphones, especially the Apple devices, and the increase in bandwidth, Augmented Reality is now likely to progress beyond being an experience just for the initiated and start to reach greater numbers of people.