KFC WOW@25 Campaign – An Augmented Reality App

March 2013, Blink Digital (Mumbai, India)

_Link to Project Video_

When I was researching on augmented reality projects broadly on the web, most projects I encountered were not ‘art,’ but instead—in the words of Alibaba AR Lead Jiang Jiayi—”gimmicks to generating more users and engagement” for profit. On Vimeo, I ran into this project, an augmented reality app for KFC’S WOW@25 Campaign in India, created by Mumbai-based ad agency Blink Digital. I was very amused by this project, and I find it the most literal representation that I have ever seen of AR’s usage as a marketing strategy by corporations. In this app, the user literally scans money, and the app tells you what you can buy with that money at KFC. The message can’t be more direct. I think this project is quite representative of a type of relationship that creative technology has with business. Many other companies have done similar AR projects (e.g., Buy+ and Catch a Tmall Cat by Alibaba), which are not as literal as this one but serve the same purpose essentially.

Here is a video that tells you about the app as well as the entire ad campaign. It is pretty entertaining in my opinion.

From this quick research in AR, I realized that this technology seems to be used for two polarized objectives: art and marketing. The former strives to question and deconstruct myths in our society while the latter exploits the lack of critique. This reminds me again of the nature of technology as something completely determined by human beings, and the tendency for technologies like AR to lead us towards a more dystopian future.