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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : January 15, 2010

Hallmark brings augmented reality to the masses this Valentine's Day

The 100 year old greeting card firm looks to the future as it unveils the first in a line of augmented reality cards that, quite literally, give messages a new dimension.

by Helen Leggatt

Augmented reality has been used by a few innovative firms such as Best Buy, Topps and, most recently, Adidas and Topps.

But now, mainstream stores will carry a selection of greeting cards laced with augmented reality which simply require a computer, or mobile, equipped with a webcam to view them in their full glory. The cards, produced by Hallmark, a company celebrating its 100th birthday this year, shows the forward-looking nature of a business that has kept up with many changes over the last century.

Launching just in time for Valentine's Day the first "webcam greetings" line consists of ten variations including licensed properties such as Scooby Doo and Snoopy, with more being introduced in the coming year. The cards will retail for $2.99 each except for those that include sound, which will retail for $5.99 each.

"As Hallmark embarks upon our next 100 years in business, it's important to continually identify new ways to help amplify the emotions our consumers feel when experiencing and sharing our products," said Monic Muldrew, associate product manager. "With the experience available through these cards that come to life with a webcam, we hope consumers will fully explore and interact with this fun new way to connect."

As augmented reality becomes more mainstream marketers should look for opportunities where the technology can enhance not only ad content but also emotional reactions to marketing communications. Augmented reality can pack a lot of punch, and information, into a small printed item - such as a business card or technical specification.

Another bonus is the ability to tie together print media campaigns with some of the newest digital technology to bring a more interactive and engaging experience for consumers.

Tags: AR, augmented reality, Hallmark, webcam

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