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Brands and retailers adopting consumer-facing mobile AR are still relatively few. AR integrations usually involve things like product visualization or in-store shopper enablement. And it spans from utilitarian (contextualizing complex products) to whimsical (promoting film releases).

In the latter camp is 7-11. And its gaining lots of traction, given the latest milestone of 10 million in-store lens engagements from a total of more than 30 campaigns. And it was enough to score an Auggie award at last week’s AWE conference for Zappar, which powered the campaigns.

Among 7-11’s AR fare are in-aisle games, such as flinging virtual footballs at animated Reeses-branded blimps (rear-facing camera). There’s also selfie lenses of giant Dorito hats (front-facing camera) that shoppers can play with. More examples are in the sizzle reel below.

In all cases, the goal is to boost brand engagement in a high buying intent zone (store aisle). This is a form of AR we’re very bullish on, given that buying intent and in-context use. These gamified and whimsical product tie-ins are also fitting to 7-11’s persona (candy, snacks, etc.)

And this is just one form of AR advertising, which continues to broaden and produce real revenue. Another in-aisle use case will be visual search as Walmart has already begun to roll out. That utilitarian use case is more fitting for Walmart, given a more extensive and varied product set.

Meanwhile, 7-11’s AR integrations are likewise on-brand, which is a lesson in choosing your flavor of AR wisely. This will continue to be a moving target, which is why close attention to best practices like this are a key exercise in AR’s early days. We’ll continue to monitor and report back.

Meanwhile, hats off to Zappar for the Auggie. It’s among the few learning early lessons and can bring AR ad effectiveness to subsequent clients. Other brands & retailers will follow such success signals though it could take a while for the historically-laggard madison avenue to adopt en masse.

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Disclosure: AR Insider has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this post, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.

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