How do you drive interest in a washing machine? Just ask AEG, which recently partnered with AR specialists 3RockAR to deliver an experiential campaign to commuters at London’s Kings Cross station through a ‘magic mirror’, immersing passers by in a different world through 3D animations. RetailTechNews spoke exclusively with Chris George (pictured below), marketing director, UK and Ireland, of AEG’s parent company, Electrolux, about why this campaign fit so well with the AEG brand, and why emerging technology is crucial to driving the company forward.
“The AEG brand aims to be ‘always an idea ahead’”, explained George, “so we are looking at how technology innovations can be utilised to help enhance the consumer experience; or, in this instance, how it can be used to engage consumers in thinking differently about our brand and our products.”
The Magic Mirror offered AEG the opportunity to test whether augmented reality could help to make an impression on their consumers and, George reasoned, that it wouldn’t necessarily seem to align with selling white goods.
“It doesn’t seem like a natural fit, at first, for what is traditionally a low-engagement category”, admitted George, “but what you have to consider is that AR is already an intrinsic part of our design and production efforts.”
In fact, AEG’s parent company, Electrolux, only recently announced that it will be rolling out augmented reality in 16 of their factories around the world. Again, when you think of common applications for AR, manufacturing probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind; but the AR smart glasses will increase efficiency by enabling remote collaboration between field experts and on-site engineers.
“With the Magic Mirror campaign, our basic aim was to bring AR into marketing and test how different media can impact consumer engagement with our brand and our technologies”, said George. “This consumer-facing trial is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how we can use AR and VR to interact with consumers.”
With this campaign heralding only the beginning of how innovative brands, like AEG, can drive engagement through emerging technologies, we can expect much more from the company, as it continues to operate with its ‘always an idea ahead’ philosophy.
“AEG technology is going to help consumers deal with an increasingly connected world by enriching their interactions with the appliances”, explained George.
The technology will help consumers make smarter decisions when it comes to arbitrary tasks, such as how to clean clothes or cook meals. “Ultimately, it’s about helping consumers get the most out of our products, by creating appliances that are either extremely intuitive to use, or that simply don’t require any input to get the best out of them”, he continued.
Putting this into practice, with a real-world example, George explained that most consumers don’t realise they should start their cooker hoods up to 15 minutes before they start frying, to allow the air to circulate properly in the room: “With technology like Hob2Hood, interactions with the AEG hob automatically starts the fans in the hood, so we aren’t relying on people having to learn how to get the most out of the appliances.”
As George reinforced, it’s not just about being connected, it’s about being genuinely ‘smart’.
It’s the concept of being ‘smart’ that allows brands like AEG to apply technology across all parts of the business, from retail and marketing, to manufacturing, to ultimately deliver the optimum experience for the consumer.