Technology Featured ANZ

Meta to provide free AR, VR training to Australian creators via learning academy

Australia Tech giant Meta, in collaboration with social enterprise Code Like a Girl and global creative studio T&DA, has launched the Meta Immersive Learning Academy in Australia — a global initiative to support the next generation of creators for the metaverse.

Through this partnership, Meta will be training a cohort of over 200 women and Code Like a Girl community members in 2023 to impart the confidence, tools, knowledge, and support they need to enter the world of immersive technologies.

The academy will provide free, guided training in immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, as well as a place for community building, mentoring and even monetisation opportunities. The curriculum also features the work of prominent Australian AR creators, Jess Herrington and Raymond Leung. 

Over an eight-week period, Meta will provide learners with training and coaching, and participants who complete the course will be able to develop face filters, target tracker, and world effects through its AR studio Meta Spark. It will also give participants information sessions and community-building events for women to connect and build networks.

Lastly, the participants can apply for a formal Meta Spark certification upon completion of the course.

Meta will also be launching free, self-guided Meta Spark training modules, which will be available on the MILA Australia website. 

“As so many companies build for the metaverse, we’re seeing exciting opportunities for creators to build their business – whether it’s through creating new experiences; designing accessories for avatars; or making the effects that bring augmented reality to life – we want to support creators to make a living,” said Mia Garlick, Meta’s regional lead for APAC.

Ally Watson, CEO and founder of Code Like a Girl, also commented, “We’re delighted to bring this program and cutting edge curriculum to the Code Like a Girl community where it will introduce a much-needed diverse range of creators into the Metaverse – leading us towards more equitable experiences for all genders.”

Raymond Leung, creative director at T&DA also shared his excitement over the Meta Spark curriculum. He likewise mentioned that the program will teach Australians how to effectively use Meta Spark to drive innovation and growth. 

“As the demand for digital skills continues to rise, we believe it’s essential to equip individuals and businesses with the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving landscape. By leveraging our expertise in education and training and META’s cutting-edge technology, we are confident that the Meta Spark Curriculum will provide valuable insights and practical applications for individuals at all levels,” he added. 

Previously, Meta has also unveiled new features for its social media platforms Instagram and Facebook, including a new broadcast channel for Instagram and Meta Verified.

Marketing Featured East Asia

This AR campaign by HSBC invites Hongkongers to make a wish and move forward

Hong Kong – Financial services company HSBC has launched an augmented reality (AR) campaign alongside Wunderman Thompson Hong Kong to empower Hongkongers to move towards their goals this new year and open up a world of opportunity.

The campaign depicts a virtual wishing tree that carries the wishes of seven million Hongkongers. The wish-making tradition was gamified together with a lucky draw to incentivise city-wide participation. This is all supported by a full suite of product offers including payment, account opening, and investments, amongst others.

Hongkongers can participate by pointing their phone towards the HSBC Main Building, selecting the seed that befits their wish and tossing it towards the building to add their ‘blossom’ to the ‘HSBC Wishing Tree for 7,000,000.’ 

Participants are then prompted to register for the Lucky Draw with a total prize pool of $1,230,000 RewardCash.

“Each seed of the Wishing Tree for 7,000,000 is a visual representation of the wishes that people make, which then blossoms into an auspicious flower to symbolise how their dreams would come true with the support of HSBC. The words of blessings were creatively crafted to be witty and culturally relevant to engage with local audience in an entertaining and resonating way,” HSBC explained in a press statement.

HSBC also recently launched a campaign alongside MSL Hong Kong, which turned Hong Kong into an ‘open canvas’, coinciding with the launch of HSBC’s Metaverse Gallery, targeted at giving local emerging artists more exposure.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Snap, Hyper Island to launch AR accelerator programme in SG

Singapore – Snap, the parent company of social media platform Snapchat, has announced a partnership with education provider Hyper Island to launch an augmented reality (AR) accelerator programme in Singapore. 

The two-day course is targeted at digital creatives, marketers and brand managers aimed to accelerate participants’ understanding of AR and integration in marketing strategies.

At the end of the course, attendees will also try their hand at developing Face, World and Landmarker Lenses on Snap’s Lens Studio, a free software that allows anyone to create, publish, and share AR Lenses with millions of Snapchatters across the globe. 

The ‘AR Accelerator’ programme will be launched in Singapore first, and rolled out in other markets later in the year. In Singapore, there are two courses, from 6 to 7 September and 29 to 30 November, with a total of 20 spaces available for anyone to sign up at a cost of S$2,500.

Gareth Leeding, head of creative strategy APAC at Snap Inc. said, “The growing smartphone adoption and camera usage in APAC has led to an increased acceptance of augmented reality. Businesses that incorporate augmented reality in their customer outreach are able to invite people into an immersive experience, facilitate product try-ons, and activate useful formats for education, thus generating conversation. At Snap we believe AR is unlocking channels to reach potential customers far beyond traditional offerings.” 

He added, “We are extremely excited to partner with Hyper Island to launch a unique educational programme in Singapore to help hone augmented reality skills of local creatives and marketing professionals. Through the ‘AR Accelerator’ programme, participants will learn about the power and potential of AR, the development of full-funnel, always-on AR strategies and the ideation and even creation of prototypes. We are confident through this course we will be able to increase understanding of AR and further its integration into marketing activities.”

Meanwhile, Paviter Singh, head of courses at Hyper Island Asia, commented, “At Hyper Island, we believe in designing learning experiences that challenge companies and individuals to grow and stay competitive in an increasingly digitised world. With our keen knowledge of education and learning built over the past 25 years, coupled with Snap’s expertise in AR, we are confident to deliver a concise and bespoke programme to inspire, equip, and support the growth of the participants.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

KROMA teases ‘tradigital’ entertainment offering through XR event

Manila, Philippines – Local media and entertainment company KROMA has teased its so-called ‘tradigital’ entertainment offering through an extended reality (xR) event hosted by the company on 6 April. In it, they showcased KROMA’s immersive experience for its online audience by combining the physical and virtual worlds.

Far from the usual green screen execution, the xR disguise is a more dynamic and intense production. It allowed KROMA officials to interact smoothly with complex virtual effects and real-time computer graphics, resulting in more natural shots. Moreover, The xR disguise platform creates exciting live visual experiences based on augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR).

According to Denise Seva, head of KROMA’s full-service activation brand LiveMNL and Music, they will continue to evolve by integrating the live component and product and tech innovations in the digital space.

“We at LiveMNL are always on the lookout for something fresh and innovative in delivering our events – be it ours or for our clients. I’ve seen a lot of comments that people were very impressed and happy with what we produce, so expect more of that coming from LiveMNL,” Seva said.

Meanwhile, Ian Monsod, CEO at KROMA, said the launch production is not the sole proof that shows how KROMA is going beyond content to further enrich the audience experience. He added that by being part of the Globe Group’s telecommunications and technology ecosystem, KROMA can connect consumers to related interests and passion points, communities, brands, websites, apps, and services essential to their daily lives.

“We are a diverse team of passionate individuals who bring together varying perspectives and points of view to create something engaging, exciting, and trailblazing for the Filipino audience. We do this across our ecosystem of brands, creators, content, and experiences. We have something for everyone’s entertainment,” Monsod said.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Lazada launches AR-powered virtual try-on for beauty product users

Singapore – Regional e-commerce platform Lazada has launched an augmented reality-powered feature called ‘Virtual Try-On’, where users can instantly sample products with pictures or live videos of themselves before making a purchase.

Users are able to immerse themselves with hyper-realistic virtual makeovers, try-on beauty products in real-time with true-to-life results. The ultra-personalised experience is straightforward and instantaneous, increasing customer satisfaction and confidence, and helping create great shopping journeys, without the need for physical product sampling.

The feature leverages Perfect Corp’s try-on platform, allowing consumers to preview their looks with the in-store experience in their homes via the LazMall flagship stores of Bobbi Brown, Estée Lauder and M.A.C. 

Alice Chang, founder and CEO at Perfect Corp, said, “Here at Perfect Corp, we pride ourselves on delivering market-reading AI and AR-powered virtual makeup try-on solutions that seamlessly integrate into our brand partners’ channels, and help them create high touch, customised, and ultra-realistic virtual shopping experiences. We are excited to partner with Lazada to bring our revolutionary solutions to their customers.”

Meanwhile, James Chang, chief business officer at Lazada, commented, “With Lazada’s shoppertainment strategy, we are excited to collaborate with more partners and introduce new virtual enhancements to uplift consumers’ experiences especially as e-commerce becomes an integrated part of lifestyles in Southeast Asia.”

He added, “This latest successful pilot is testament to the great partnerships we have and our commitment to scale up such immersive real-world experiences with more brands and products. Shoppers will definitely get to easily discover and try more new products while having fun with their friends and family when shopping on the platform.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Snap partakes in Women’s Day via AR workshop for young women

Singapore – In honour of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on 8 March, the camera and social media company Snap has launched three workshops across SEA called ‘Lensathon’, aimed at upskilling and encouraging participation of young women in augmented reality (AR).

The workshops will let participants use Lens Studio, Snap’s free desktop app, to create and design their own AR experiences with the theme of International Women’s Day. The workshops were conducted by women creators from Snapchat Lens Network namely Danielle Grace for Indonesia and Singapore, and Yong Nurain Sofia Binti Khairulhiddard for Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. 

Moreover, Lensathon participants who will be submitting valid Lenses will stand a chance to join its Lens Studio Community and pursue their passion for AR.

Grace commented that she is honoured to be able to teach Lens Studio workshops to bud female creators in SEA to help them express their creativity with augmented reality.

“Having used Lens Studio to create thousands of AR Lenses myself, I know the potential for creativity is limitless and I can’t wait to see the creations from our growing creator community,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Anubhav Nayyar, Snap’s director of market development for SEA, shared that their approach to AR is rooted in storytelling and creativity as the entry points to introduce this new technology to broad audiences. 

“We have greatly evolved AR not only for entertainment but also utility use-cases like education, commerce etc. Our International Women’s Day Lensathon hopes to inspire and upskill women across the region to bring their creativity and passion to life,” said Nayyar.

Snap said it has been conducting multiple Lens Studio workshops across SEA to help students and youths create shared experiences and express their ideas in compelling ways. It also announced that it will be leveraging the power of AR by launching a series of special, #BreakTheBias AR Lenses, and hyperlocal geofilters for Women’s Day, in alignment with the celebration.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

DuitNow QR’s latest CNY campaign is a ‘roarsome’ interactive endeavor

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – In the spirit of the current Chinese New year festivities, Malaysia’s national QR standard DuitNow has launched a CNY-themed campaign that is consisted of a 3D CuBig billboard on Jalan Ampang that is sure to make Malaysians have a ‘roarsome’ Year of the Tiger.

The campaign features a QR code that users can scan and use an IG filter to interact with. It is the first of its kind in Malaysia and has already caught the eye of passersby, all eager to enjoy this interactive experience and share it with their friends and family.

Malaysians can send or tag unforgettable Chinese New Year greetings to their loved ones by simply scanning the QR code on the billboard and interacting with it using the IG filter.

“We wanted to give Malaysians a little something extra to be excited about this Chinese New Year, and an interactive AR experience at a prime location in Kuala Lumpur seemed like the perfect idea. Our Sure Can campaign aims to encourage Malaysians to make payments using DuitNow QR so that they can have the ultimate convenience when it comes to shopping,” a spokesperson for PayNet commented regarding the campaign.

With AR interactions normally confined to much smaller real estate such as brochures or ang-pao packets, DuitNow QR commissioned Dreamsmind by DreamsKingdoms to take on the task of bringing this to life. To make it as realistic as possible, DreamsKingdoms opted to shoot real world footage of a lion dance combined with 3D ambience as opposed to the norm of using full 3D animation, with the end result ultimately paying off.

Interested ones who want to see the campaign in action can head over to the interactive DuitNow QR billboard on Jalan Ampang, at the intersection in front of KLCC, and then scan the QR code to access the DuitNow QR Instagram filter.

Main Feature Technology Partners

Spotlight: MY-based digital agency on crafting immersive campaigns and the future of AR/VR in marketing

Immersive technology used to be a far-fetch concept, provided only by lofty-funded companies and experienced and appreciated only by banked consumers capable of grabbing cutting-edge tech. Today, innovation in tech has seen more than just a sophistication in features but has evolved to provide the most important development of all – AR and VR can now be experienced by everyone. 

When mobile game Pokémon GO was released in 2016, AR had started to become a household name. Now, with the unprecedented digital lifestyle brought on by the pandemic, AR and VR had similarly risen to new heights – becoming brands’ top consumer engagement strategy, infiltrating people’s everyday life.

For the latest episode of MARKETECH Spotlight, we sat down with Malaysia’s fast-growing digital experience agency Unicom Interactive Digital (UID) to deep dive into how these digital experiences are developed. Through a conversation with its Chief Operating Officer Jareth Eng, we were let on the behind-the-scenes of AR development, and most importantly, the best practices and future trends in immersive technology straight from the experience builder.

Watch the full MARKETECH Spotlight episode on Unicom Interactive Digital feat. Chief Operating Officer Jareth Eng

Pivoting from on-ground activations to digital experiences

Pre-pandemic, UID started out as a provider of on-ground activations, but just like every business during the pandemic, the digital agency had to pivot to meet new demands with the firm finding itself at the cusp of a challenge and an opportunity.

“UID is in [the] position [of] bridging traditional marketing norms with digital touch,” said Eng in the MARKETECH Spotlight interview.

With its core specialization in physical to hybrid marketing activations, it didn’t come easy for the agency to shift to crafting purely web and digital experiences.

One of the on-ground activations UID did pre-pandemic for Eu Yan Sang, a Traditional Chinese Medicine brand in Malaysia.

“Suddenly, there was an influx of inquiries [asking] could you do this web-based campaign for us, could you build this digital site for us, and then we thought, why not?” shared Eng. 

Before the demand for digital risen, UID had worked with brands like Clarins, Victoria’s Secret, and TeaLive, and a staple of the on-ground activations UID mounted was installed with touch-screen and sensor devices that amplified consumer engagement. 

Transforming the firm’s value proposition to delivering web-based experiences was not something that UID was a stranger to. As Eng puts it, UID had the skillset and the ‘tools’ to build ‘software’ and that although partially an uncharted territory for them, there had been no reason to “stop us from trying.”

“Since then, we went full-force ahead, trying out [and] testing out what works [and] what doesn’t work, and we just kept finding our process, and that’s how we got to where we are today,” said Eng.

The characteristics of a good digital experience

With consumers locked in the four corners of their abodes at the height of the pandemic, the ways to explore products and services have been drastically reduced. With the presence of e-commerce, consumers are still able to fulfill their transactions, but only a similar live brand engagement can answer to consumers’ indulgence – and this is what has been the greatest role of AR and VR at this period.

After over a year, UID is finding firm its ground and has since launched a virtual concept store for skincare brand Sulwhasoo and AR applications for FMCG Nestle and Ascenda, telco Maxis, and skincare Aiken, among many others.

First off, Eng says that the common denominator among successful campaigns is content, emphasizing on the importance of ‘personalizing’ content. Eng’s advice? Be real, be sincere.

One of the things enjoyed today is the increased accessibility to almost any type of digital content and comes with that is the heightened demand to rummage through and find the one that’s most engaging and trustworthy, therefore, making personalization and authenticity top values, according to Eng.

“More and more, let’s be honest, we start to get bored of the same stuff, and we start to look for authenticity in content, because there are so much paid advertisements today [and] so much paid endorsements, and we reach a point where we do not know what is being said is real or not.”

Technically, Eng cites the element of building a good digital infrastructure, more specifically on the issue of loading speeds, as a vital aspect of a good digital experience. On-demand is now the name of the game and said area, when overlooked, can be a dealbreaker for brands. 

A basic example would be, Eng continues, when a brand is running an AR campaign based on QR codes and upon scanning, a consumer is made to wait, that dead air becomes a potential pitfall where they ought to abandon the experience. 

“It’s a matter of milliseconds that you will lose a potential customer, this is why infrastructure is very important,” said Eng.

Now, Eng says that besides knowing the components of a highly-engaging digital experience, brands must simply decide to be a proactive player in the digital space. With digital the present and future of marketing, this is the way brands are able to stay ‘relevant’.

“The drive towards digital transformation may have been fueled by the pandemic but even as the world recovers and we are no longer restricted by social distancing constraints or pandemic constraints, the perks of adding digital elements to campaigns have proven themselves during the past year. Even as we head back to a norm that we were used to, digital elements will still play a part,” said Eng. 

Lastly, as a digital partner themself, Eng stresses the importance for brands to find a ‘good match’. He says it all boils down to the chemistry between the brand and agency.

“Finding a good digital partner is very important. We could be a good fit, we could not be a good fit,” Eng commented. 

He adds, “A digital partner that understands what your brand is trying to achieve is gonna be key.” 

With UID’s case, Eng believes the firm’s strongest suit is their unique perspective of having been able to execute both on-ground and digital campaigns, and therefore having a good combination of the skills and knowledge of both. 

“As a company that was borne out of delivering on-ground campaigns to the digitalization of campaigns…I’m not saying that we are the best but [we] have learned the lessons,” said Eng.

The process of building a digital experience

According to Forbes’ tech council, remote try-on capabilities will be one of the biggest tech trends that will impact business and consumer marketplaces moving forward, and therefore, VR and AR will carve an even more pivotal role in making this stride possible.

In order to bring this to fruition, players in the digital ecosystem must work hand in hand. A brand with a platform to engage and influence the consumer must forge strategic partnerships with VR and AR experience builders that share the same values and vision. 

A combination of simplification, innovation, and strategic data, Eng says, is what will hit the ground running for both agency and brand, and what would, eventually, set the record for one-of-a-kind and out-of-the-box marketing campaigns.

First, the process from conceptualization to execution must be simplified. Eng shared that in UID’s case, the process is made seamless by simply removing any technical jargon from the communication. 

“As former marketers ourselves, we understand the pain that marketers face especially when dealing with tech. We don’t bombard you with all the technical jargon,” said Eng.

With AR and VR a fixture of the burgeoning new-age tech, innovation will always be at the heart of building these ultra-immersive brand engagements, and Eng couldn’t agree more. 

He says that with UID, innovation is built from dealing with the roots, that is, learning a brand’s story – how they operate pre-pandemic so that the agency is able to bring out a digital experience that is both never-before-seen but also a continuity of a brand’s identity. 

“As brands are restricted by physicality in recent times, such restrictions don’t apply in the digital space,” said Eng. 

He adds, “Tell us what you used to do before the pandemic, what your objectives were, which touchpoints were important to you, and what your measure of success [was] for on-ground campaigns…for your audiences, it is like you [have] always been there.” 

Lastly, strategic data or the right metrics is what will keep the campaign team aligned – the brand and the agency to be on the same page. With the wave of creative innovation today, marketers on the client and agency side must not lose sight of best-serving metrics that will assure precedents to enable the repetition of success, and foolproof action plans from rewriting mistakes.

On UID’s side, Eng says that its strength comes from the team’s marketing background; that as former marketers, they know which metrics will best serve as compass for directing efforts into the most befitting strategies and channels.

“We filter off what is coined ‘white noise’ and keep the data that matters,” said Eng. 

He adds, “Again, as former marketers ourselves, we know the type of metric that you need for improving customer retention, we know the type of metric in driving your sales.”

The future of AR

AR has started to penetrate the general consumer’s lifestyle and campaigns have been evolved to commercialized and friendly formats to make AR inclusive – not just for those that have hi-tech devices to experience and not only for the tech-savvy to appreciate. So if AR is the present, what more can we expect for the development of this area in immersive tech?

Eng says that the amount of research & development had been immense in the past year, and immersive tech definitely hasn’t seen the best it’s yet to offer.

Tech and social media behemoths Apple and Facebook are determined to lead the way in immersive tech by announcing futuristic new features and products with premature news surrounding Apple’s launch of a headset and glasses with AR and VR capabilities and of course Facebook’s investment in the metaverse. 

Not getting too ahead of ourselves, Eng said that a much proximate innovative feature that’s as exciting to both brands and consumers is that AR is no longer restricted by app-based experiences. 

“The beauty of web AR is you don’t need to download an app for ease for accessibility,” said Eng. 

When face-to-face interactions were phased out in the pandemic, brands had to cruise through with the biggest question of all: How can we show our products to consumers? 

“Brands no longer [have] consumers going to them, [in your] brick-and-mortar stores and retail shops,” said Eng. 

“Augmented reality provided a way for consumers to experience a product and to still be educated, and to have a sort of [an] experience with a brand,” Eng adds. 

Now, with just a simple scan of a QR code, and by being connected to holy grail social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, consumers can be transported to different realities, be entertained with games, and even go as far as experiencing AR-activated concerts without lifting a finger. 

“Brands should start incorporating AR technology into their everyday business simply because they are now easily accessible, engaging for consumers, and most importantly, drive sales,” said Eng.

Brands who want to reach out to Unicom Interactive Digital may visit their website at and may contact the agency at [email protected].

Listen to the full conversation between MARKETECH APAC’s Regional Editor Shaina Teope and UID’s Chief Operating Officer Jareth Eng on Spotify:

Platforms Featured Global

Snapchat’s parent company launches Arcadia, creative studio for branded AR

Singapore – As more brands venture into various media to create branded content, camera and technology company Snap, the parent company of social media platform Snapchat, has announced the launch of Arcadia, a global creative studio for branded augmented reality (AR), powered by a team of world-class experts that pioneered mobile AR advertising at Snap.

Arcadia will develop new technology and aims to deliver the most innovative, impactful and effective AR experiences to brand and agency partners. Furthermore, the creative studio will be platform-agnostic and will develop experiences that can live across platform, web and app-based AR environments. 

Arcadia will work on a studio model and will take on select projects that require the most creative and technical skillset. In doing so, the studio will be developing the next generation of branded AR experiences with the goal to lead the charge on innovation for the larger AR creation ecosystem.

“Arcadia is the newest member of Snap’s AR ecosystem that we’ve been developing for the last decade and we have seen proven results with our over 40 trusted partners and success in tools like ‘Lens Web Builder’ and ‘Creator Marketplace’. By launching Arcadia, we are further cementing Snap’s commitment to Augmented Reality as a format that truly pushes the boundaries of creativity and performance in digital marketing” said Jeff Miller, global head of creative strategy.

Arcadia shared that it has already secured partnerships with world-class marketers including P&G Beauty, Verizon, WWE and Shake Shack. Through the launch, the studio will partner with brands, agencies and creators to elevate what is possible in AR, further cementing it as a must-buy, always-on format to engage with the millennial and Gen-Z audience.

In terms of how Arcadia can serve both brands and creators, the studio offers the following prospects namely ‘Studio of Record’ where Arcadia will become the official ‘AR Studio of Record’ and take on all of their AR production, strategy and insight needs across platforms; project-based work where Arcadia will deliver against a specific scope-of-work that align to Arcadia’s mission; and strategic partnership where Arcadia will offer AR Strategy expertise to clients or agencies in the form of workshops, insights and trend reporting to up-level their own capabilities 

“By focusing sharply on the AR format, the creative studio will set the highest creative and technical standards in the market, capture an early-mover advantage, command credibility and reframe the value that a modern studio brings to its clients,” Snap said in a press statement.

Main Feature Technology APAC

Capturing the attention of Gen Zs in APAC with augmented reality

Marketers have long held the belief that attention is a diminishing commodity, especially among Generation Z. However, attention has not diminished, it has diversified. To manage the onslaught of information they face each day, consumers prioritize content that engages them. For brands, this means working harder than ever to capture the attention of their audience – and this involves rethinking the way they sell and service by using interactive and immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR).

Immersive AR ads have shown to be an impressive user engagement tool, garnering 17-times more engagement compared to static ads, according to a study by Snapchat, which compared shoppable Snap ads to standard Snap ads of the same products. Here in Asia-Pacific (APAC), spending on AR and virtual reality (VR) is expected to grow at a rapid rate of 47.7% and reach US$28.8 billion by 2024. Recent data from Statista also estimated that by 2023, there will be 2.4 billion mobile AR users worldwide, a rise of 2.2 billion from the 200 million seen in 2015. Clearly, there is a demand for this technology.

There is opportunity for marketers to capitalize on. As a digitally native generation, Gen Zs spend a large part of their time on mobile. In APAC, almost a third of Gen Zs spend six hours or longer a day on their phone but at the same time, they are also thoughtful about the ways they engage with the internet. It comes as no surprise that Gen Zs turn to AR to communicate with their close friends, and to explore the world around them. This situation lends itself as an opportunity for brands to engage with them in this manner as well.

Before we delve into how brands can use AR, let us take a step back and look at what makes Gen Zs tick.

Understanding Gen Zs in APAC

With an attention span of mere seconds and a wealth of content available at their fingertips, engaging Gen Zs can be a challenge. As such, it is doubly important for brands to fully understand the unique traits of this demographic so they can tailor their offerings to this audience.

Like their global peers, APAC Gen Zs have a strong appreciation for digital communications and technologies. A Generation survey by Snapchat conducted in December 2020 found that Gen Zs in APAC are not confined to traditional methods of communications, and favor communicating with photos (78%), emoji or emoticons (75%), videos and video messages (59%), among others. They also gravitate towards immersive video and mobile games, including AR experiences.

In addition, Gen Zs are strong supporters of the causes they believe in. The same piece of Snapchat research found that half of the surveyed respondents say they are less likely to buy from a brand that chooses to promote the opposite side on social issues that matter to them. Conversely in APAC, Gen Zs are more likely to shop from brands they support, even if it’s less convenient for them to do so.

There is no better time than now to leverage AR

By 2025, Gen Z will make up a quarter of the APAC region’s population. As this generation of digital natives rapidly warms to the concept of AR, it will become an increasingly important tool in the marketing mix of advertisers.

Consider AR as you would with any tool in your marketing arsenal. The two marketing fundamentals – objective and audience – still stand. Brands will first need to define their objectives and the results they hope to achieve from the campaign, then understand their audience like the Gen Zs. By defining these parameters at the onset, brands will be able to use AR where appropriate to elevate their current offerings to the audience.

There are many great examples of creative AR-powered offerings. One example worth noting is the work done by Singaporean creative technology studio, MeshMinds. They held the city-state’s first AR-powered exhibition Sustainable Singapore, where the AR artwork of 20 local artists used the AR app Artivive to weave in additional storytelling elements to lend more magnetism to their artwork.

Brands in APAC can also take a leaf out of their global peers’ books. Understanding Gen Zs’ need for engaging content, luxury brand Gucci launched its first-ever global AR shoe “try-on” campaign on Snapchat in 2020, where users can virtually try on Gucci shoes on the app. After seeing how they looked wearing the brand’s latest sneakers, users were able to purchase the shoes directly from the Lens.

A one-up from existing technology, AR brings to the table an optimized digital experience that can set brands apart. Advertisers need to view the AR as a permanent addition to their media plan and instead of a mere novelty.

AR will have a profound impact on the future of marketing

Gen Zs are a formidable force that is poised to take over the current active generations. Coupled with their growing spending power and influence, Gen Zs are set to reshape the future advertising landscape in APAC. 

As such, brands need to develop a better understanding of the devices that Gen Z consumers use; where and how they consume content; and the role they wish to have in the direction their content goes. This ensures the impact and relevance of a brand’s marketing piece and goes a long way in building brand love and brand loyalty.

AR is one of the many up-and-coming technologies that brands need to get on to gain a competitive edge. It is exciting to consider how we are only at the beginning of what is possible.

This article was written by Kathryn Carter, head of APAC at Snap Inc.