Nestle logoAugmented reality (AR) advocates say that it’s time for companies to start adding the unique blend of physical and virtual interaction into marketing plans now. While some brands still appear mystified (and scared, perhaps?) of the technology, others are proving that AR can serve as a highly effective, interactive marketing tool. CPG giant Nestle is the latest brand to experiment with AR, using it to turn an ordinary advergame into a memorable experience.

With Nesquik Factory, Nestle pulls players into, well … a Nesquik Factory. The game uses a player’s webcam to put them into the role of a factory worker. Fill the bottles with the right flavor of Nesquik and you make it to the next level. Mundane? Perhaps, but the experience of seeing oneself in a game, and using real-world movements to interact with virtual objects is novel, at the very least. 

Nestle employed AR development firm Zugara to create the game. Together, both companies followed overall social media marketing best practices, while managing to incorporate AR in a way that wasn’t “scary” or cumbersome. The game also employed three specific tactics for creating a successful branded game, with or without AR:

1.    Make it easy for the game to spread:

In the image below, you’ll note that the “Forward to a Friend” and “Play with Facebook Connect” options are highlighted with red circles.

Nesquik Factory screengrab 2

The first option is email – simple enough. The Facebook option lets players sign in, and then share a “snapshot” of themselves playing the game on Facebook.

2.    Gather player contact info for lead generation 

The “Forward to Friend” option also includes a simple opt-in for players who want to receive information about other Nestle products, games, and promotions. Again, very simple, but potentially very effective. If the player forwards the game after they’ve had fun playing, they’re likely more inclined to opt-in and be notified of other “fun” experiences sponsored by Nestle. 

3.    Maintain prominent branding without being obnoxious

A branded game serves to get a company’s messaging across – but it must do so in a way that’s not heavy-handed. Nestle achieves this by setting the game in a Nesquik factory, but also by requiring players to bring the Nesquik brand into the game themselves.

Nesquik Factory screengrab

To play, users need to have their image motion-captured by a webcam, but Nestle also requires that players motion-capture a Nesquik bottle as well. If they don’t have one on hand, they can download and print a picture of one from the game site.

The experience will reinforce positive branding with Nesquik fans, and increase awareness for people that stumble on the game via a friend’s suggestion or Facebook update.

With the game, Nestle joins the ranks of other big brands like IKEA, Adidas and Toyota that have also incorporated AR elements into their marketing campaigns.