Tom Cruise. Robocop. Fight Club. Here’s What They Have In Common.

Minority Report - Robocop - Fight Club

In Minority Report, Tom Cruise is greeted at The Gap by a digital display asking how those tank tops worked out from his last shopping excursion. Robocop’s head mounted display recognized faces and displayed information about the subject in target. Edward Norton’s character in Fight Club flips through Ikea catalogs wondering what kind of dining set defines him as a person, set to a virtual catalogue of his condo.

What do these movies all have in common? Augmented Reality technology. The idea of Augmented Reality (AR) has been around for decades, but not until recently have we seen this futuristic technology being remarkably employed in commerce. AR offers the ability to provide brands content rich, utility based experiences that can entertain, educate, and capture –and even better, retain – customers.

The more time we spend interacting with a brand, the more likely we are to develop a loyalty and affinity for said brand. There’s no room for gimmicks in Augmented Reality anymore – used without content in the proper context, shelf life is low, with a one and done approach. But when used to breathe life into a commerce experience with entertainment, customized suggestions, and interaction opportunities, long lasting, successful AR campaigns bridge the gap between passive and progressive relationships. It’s estimated that in 2014 30% of mobile subscribers will use AR at least once in a week. 864 million smartphones will have AR technology enabled on them.  Revenue is expected to reach $600 billion by 2016. It’s continuing to broaden customer experiences more than ever – so, just how?

Let’s take a look at a recent example of AR being used in retail today and a demo experience PlayNetwork recently created:

Ikea | (Fight Club was on to something!) Turn your home into an Ikea showroom with a scalable view of 90 catalogue products. This clever use of AR brings the Ikea brand right into your home, allowing you to take the time to match up your next furniture purchase perfectly. The Set Up: The Ikea app uses the measurements of the Ikea catalogue in comparison to the surrounding room to scale each furniture item at the appropriate size. Choose from 90 popular pieces to flip, set, and rotate in any space. Think you’ve found the perfect fit? Snap a picture to tide you over until the real deal takes its place.  Ikea showrooms can be overwhelming even for the savviest of shoppers; this AR application solves the problem of finding parking, adds an entertaining element to their shopping process, and allows customers to interact with the brand in a whole new way.

PlayNetwork | Our Product Innovation team created this proof of concept using Father John Misty’s latest album. The Set Up: While browsing the record section at your favorite clothing store, you find you’re able to make the cover artwork “come to life” using your phone; turn the album over to preview the tracks then and there. Continue browsing the rest of the store by double tapping to take the player with you and by the end of track 3, you’ve decided you need this in your collection. Simply tap to add it to your cart and checkout online. This AR experience increases the time customers spend shopping, giving them an interactive excuse to linger as they listen. It also allows the customer to make their purchase decision in-store or after they’ve left.

Interested in using AR to help build your brand? Give us a shout.

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Hong Kong Joins Our Global Teams

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

We are excited to announce the expansion of PlayNetwork’s global reach with the addition of our new Hong Kong office. In addition to this new office, PlayNetwork has locations in London, England; Columbus, OH; Sherman Oaks, CA; New York City; and our headquarters in Redmond, WA, allowing us to continue delivering consistent brand experiences globally.

The new Hong Kong office, located in Causeway Bay, will enable us to continue to expand services throughout the Asia Pacific region. Along with our office announcement, we welcome Leo Ku as Managing Director, Asia Pacific. Leo comes to PlayNetwork with an extensive history in business development, growth management, sales & marketing, media innovation, and deep knowledge in Asia markets.

As part of our commitment to provide brands with content, services, and solutions, PlayNetwork Hong Kong has launched a free monthly event series called Retail Thursday. Through this networking event, participants can explore innovative ideas and learn about the rapidly evolving retail industry.

Welcome to the team, Hong Kong!

View the press release here:

How to Meet Omni-Channel Shopper’s Expectations

ImageImageImageA new study reveals that 63% consumers felt their in-store holiday shopping experience could have been improved.  More than half of those that want improvement said they’d consider using personalized coupons.  In fact, 85% of consumers prefer personalized offers that reflect their past shopping behavior.  Because consumers have the ability to access a plethora of information across so many channels, they expect nothing less than a superior and personalized experience when they arrive at a store.

Shoppers are prepared to take their business where they feel their business is valued – 92% said they would be more likely to return to a store if an in-store discount was given as a follow-up.

What else can brands do to capture the attention of shoppers that are seamlessly maneuvering channels to find exactly what they want?

The Emotions of Sound

This visually entrancing website created by hearing care company Amplifon asks: how do you feel?

Sounds can evoke every type of emotion, stir our memories, and help connect us to the world. This campaign created by marketing firm Epiphany takes us on a sonic tour of the sounds we encounter in our daily lives. So – how do you feel? 

Click through below:

Emotions of Sound Interactive Survey from Amplifon

Emotions of Sound by Amplifon

Top Albums of 2013

This is the last one!  This review of Grey Reverend’s record will conclude the reviews of some of our top albums of 2013. We hope you have enjoyed reading these reviews as much as we enjoyed writing them.  Happy Holidays!

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Artist: Grey Reverend

Album: A Hero’s Lie

Label:   Ninja Tune

Louis Armstrong once observed that “All Music Is Folk Music, I Ain’t Never Heard A Horse Sing A Song.” Satchmo’s wit eloquently dissolves the notion that music needs to be categorized and that is precisely what I like about “A Hero’s Lie” – the second album under the name “Grey Reverend” by D.L. Brown. Steeped in serious music theory and jazz improvisation (in addition to rock and blues), Brown was on his way to becoming a jazz guitar soloist when a neurological disorder called “focal dystonia” limited his ability to play such complex and intricate music. Undaunted, Brown purposely leaned inward toward a more direct subtle, melodic, thoughtful, thankful, literate side of songwriting. The highly complex became more accessible and sincere; jazz music became folk music; and by ordaining himself as Grey Reverend, D.L. Brown discovered an emotional connection to an audience willing to defy and transcend musical categories.

-Tom Killorin, Music Supervisor


Top Albums of 2013

Here is the second to last review of some of the PlayNetwork music team’s top albums of 2013.  Stay tuned for the last review tomorrow!  Enjoy.

milk-carton-kids-ash-and-claymilk carton   

Artist: Milk Carton Kids

Album: The Ash and Clay

Label:   Anti Records

What I love most about the Milk Carton Kids is the simplicity of their approach and the haunting beauty of their songs. What I love almost as much about them is their carefully crafted live act and stage personas. That might not be strictly applicable when selecting your favorite studio-recorded album of the year, but once you’ve experienced the duo in a live setting their personality and charisma cannot be separated from their music. To cheaply convey the aesthetic of the Milk Carton Kids to the uninitiated, they could be simply pegged as Simon & Garfunkel harmonies with Dave Rawlings (Gillian Welch’s musical partner) style guitar playing. Which you might expect to just be some lofty hyperbole, but the thing is those harmonies are actually on par with the legendary Art and Paul, and Kenneth Pattingale could sit-in for Dave Rawlings on guitar any day. The fact that two guys with a pair of acoustic guitars standing around a single condenser mic can make such powerful music is a testament to their authenticity and rare talent.

-Gabriel Marowitz, Associate Music Supervisor

Top Albums of 2013

We have a few more reviews of some of our top 10 albums from 2013.  Enjoy this review of Goldfrapp’s Tales of Us.goldfrapp-tales-of-us goldfrapp

Artist: Goldfrapp

Album: Tales of Us

Label: Mute

On their sixth studio album Tales of Us Goldfrapp (Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory) take a substantial departure from their previous record Head First. Gone is the synth-driven electro of “Rocket” and “Believer.” In its place is a lush collection of acoustic and intimate songs that are subdued and somber. The instrumentation is sparse – acoustic guitar, strings, and piano with nary a drum to be heard. But the arrangements are effective, creating the proper atmosphere to take you on their personal and reflective journey. Although the record lacks a true standout song (my favorite is “Annabel”) the album as a whole is mesmerizing – proof that the duo’s talent goes well beyond pop hooks and electronic production.

-Mark Campbell, Music Supervisor