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Interactive 3D Ad Brings Bank’s Virtual World to Life

Commonwealth Bank has run a mobile-driven, augmented reality advertisement in key Australian markets. The ad, placed in a number of Australian newspapers, invites readers to download the CommBank 3D reader app so they can explore Cherryford Hill, an interactive virtual town.

In this digital world, users can interact, move around and explore the features of the award-winning CommBank Property Guide app.

“The augmented reality press advertisement is an interactive way to communicate the benefits of the CommBank Property Guide app to the customer,” said Mark Murray, GM/Consumer Marketing at Commonwealth Bank.

STEP 1 – Find the ad in a newspaper or print it out.

STEP 2 – Download the CommBank 3D reader app. When you start up the app, the camera view will open with overlaid instructions.

STEP 3 – Point your iPhone at the image on the ad and the streets, houses and locals of Cherryford Hill will come to life.

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The app is fully narrated by “Paul,” a virtual host who helps users navigate their way around Cherryford Hill. Within the the 3D augmented suburb, you can click to see recent sale prices for virtual properties and unlock hidden items like the ability to turn the day into night. There is also a conveniently located link to download the CommBank augmented reality property-finder app.

Commonwealth Bank’s campaign represents a bizarre marriage of old and new media channels, where traditional print advertising is used to deliver a digitally-interactive ad. You can’t have one without the other; it takes both a newspaper and smart phone — one communications technology from the 17th century, the other from the 21st.

“We will continue to explore the convergence of traditional and digital marketing channels in the future,” Murray said. “We are constantly looking for ways to better engage with our customers and ensure they have a positive experience with our brand.”

CommBank’s ad is similar to one AXA Insurance ran in September 2010. In AXA’s execution, people could lay their smart phones on the ad to fill in a piece of a disaster photo. A video played, showing how a giant Godzilla-like monster destroyed the street scene.

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  1. Brady Walen says:

    Does anybody else feel like this is too complicated?

    First, you have to notice the ad. Then, you have to know what to do with it. Assuming that you recognize the opportunity for engagement, and that you’re interested and willing to take time to explore the content, you need the CommBank 3D Reader before you can actually move forward. As consumers, we have short attention spans. With each step, ads like this lose part of the potential audience.

    This challenge is not unique to financial services. But I’d bet that financial institutions using these kind of ads will experience a lower-than-average participation and conversion rate simply because financial services isn’t exciting. It’s tough to communicate value when you first have to tell your audience how to access content.

    I’m sure we’ll see more of this within the industry, but I’ll be curious to see if it gains any traction. I feel like Commonwealth Bank could have skipped the newspaper ad campaign all together, and instead, developed a more targeted campaign to those likely to be purchasing a new home (as opposed to a mass-market advertisement like the one featured here). The app makes sense. The campaign, not so much.

  2. Brady, I share your concerns for any promotion that makes you download something, whether that be a QR code reader, an MS Tag reader (like this complex campaign) or an application like CommBank’s. The compatibility rate varies from person to person and from device to device. You have to make sure your offer speaks to an ultra high tech audience, because those are going to be the people most likely to engage with this sort of promotion.

  3. Failry self-indulgent marketing attempt – next they’ll be asking us to duck down to the newsagent to buy 3D glasses so we can enjoying their TVCs more…

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