Jurassic World Eats Pokémon Go at Augmented Reality App Marketing

Two years ago, Pokémon Go made waves as the first really successful augmented reality app to gain a broad user base. This year, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is the summer’s latest blockbuster, and a geolocation augmented reality app may just be its secret marketing weapon.

Two years ago, Pokémon Go made waves as the first really successful augmented reality app to gain a broad user base. While the mobile game was a stand-alone product and not marketing, it left us asking: “What could AR technology do for marketers?” This year, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is the summer’s latest blockbuster, and a geolocation augmented reality app may just be its secret marketing weapon.

Pokémon go was not insignificant for marketers. It broke ground by getting users to engage in a geolocation-based augmented reality experience (which continues to this day, the game still has a significant user base and recently added new features). And it was one of the first AR experiences to offer location-based digital advertising.

But Pokémon Go is a game, not a marketing experience. While it offers sponsorship opportunities, it does little to prove the role AR can play in a marketing campaign. That’s where Jurassic World Alive is different.

The New Breed of Branded Augmented Reality

This new, geolocation augmented reality game is, as Polygon puts it, “Pokémon Go, but With Dinosaurs.” And while it is stand-alone game with its own revenue model via in-game purchases, the entire experience was created through a partnership between Universal and Ludia, with built-in partnerships with AMC and Walmart.

The "News" tab on Jurassic World Alive links directly to the brand's social media pages and advertises that tickets can be purchased at your local AMC.
The “News” tab on Jurassic World Alive links directly to the brand’s social media pages and advertises that tickets can be purchased at your local AMC. | Credit: Jurassic World Alive by Thorin McGee

It should be noted that Ludia was not a part of Pokémon Go, and has developed several games on its own beyond Jurassic World Alive. So this type of game is not limited to certain developers. If you wanted to pursue one for your own brand, you should look for a studio like Ludia to help create it.

An important brand impression is made every time the user opens the app. And the game itself lines up perfectly with the theme of the movie, which sees the Jurassic World dinosaurs escape into our world.

There are several in-game mechanisms that allow Universal to use the app as a marketing base. For example, an in-game message system allows the brand to send marketing messages to every player. And an in-game news feed lights up with notifications whenever a new offer hits. The news section also links to the movie’s social media properties, and has a prominent banner reminding players to get their tickets at any local AMC.

Like Velociraptors, AR Marketers Hunt in Packs

The partnerships with Walmart and AMC are built right into the app. Each brand has special “supply drops” at its locations that give players generous bonuses for entering the storefront and engaging.

When Walmart has a new supply drop, players are greeted with a full-page ad telling them to pick it up a their local Walmart.

The nearest AMC is that red dot in the background. The big crocodile is a "Sarcosuchus."
The nearest AMC is that red dot in the background. The big crocodile is a “Sarcosuchus.” | Credit: Juassic World Alive by Thorin McGee

The AMC partnership is more prominent in the game. In addition to the call to action to visit AMC to pick up your tickets, “nearby” AMC locations are also marked on the player map, even if the closest one is miles away. Inside, the supply drop is very generous, especially over the movie’s opening weekend. I understnad the digital swag given away was enough to sway several gaming movie-goers I know to visit the closest AMC over competing chains.

AR apps and geolocation have come a long way for digital marketing purposes. They’re not right for all brands, but when the brand opportunity lines up with the features of the platform, it’s a great chance to change the rules of your customer experience.

How do they fit into your marketing strategy? Let’s talk about it in the comments.