Southampton FC has launched an ad campaign that uses augmented reality to embed extra content within banners around the city.

Fans can use the Blippar app to access the club’s mobile website, team shop and ticket office.

Users can also add their face to the Southampton team huddle and share the image using email, Facebook and Twitter.

Marketing manager Chris Hayler said the campaign was not about producing ROI, but was aimed at engaging with fans in a new way and making them feel part of the club.

It’s not about driving revenue, partly because it’s tricky to measure the return on this technology, but is about engagement and also trialling advertising on new platforms. Although hopefully we will see an incremental revenue increase as it will raise awareness and may encourage people to buy a shirt.”

The banners were launched to celebrate Southampton’s successful start to the season, and the AR element is an additional feature to help promote the campaign. It is the first time Blippar has worked with a football club, but early indications show that it is performing better than expected.

Marketing executive Harri Evans said, “Our chairman really wants to innovate rather than copying the likes of Arsenal and other Premier League clubs. He always encourages us to try new things to engage with fans.”

The campaign was created as a result of discussions with fans about what they want from the club – hence joining the huddle being a key feature – and with Blippar about what services they thought would work for football clubs.

Evans said that analysis of the club’s interactions with fans on Facebook and Twitter showed that fans respond in much higher numbers to news about football, such as a player signing a new contract, rather than corporate information, so the AR focuses on the team rather than hospitality or corporate details.

The campaign is live on 72 banners until January 20th when the club will receive data from Blippar about the number of people who have ‘blipped’ the ads and how many had shared an image of themself in the huddle.

Southampton’s campaign is the latest example of brands using AR to offer additional content to consumers. 

Waitrose used Blippar for a Christmas campaign and Billabong recently launched an AR ad using Zappar.

While the results of such campaigns are yet to be proven, a localised campaign that targets football fans could work well. If it does, this will also prove to be a useful case study for Blippar, which has just received funding from Qualcomm Ventures.