Remember when we were shopping in stores, attending concerts, and watching sports in person? Yeah, me neither. The saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” hits a little too close to home this year. But instead of dwelling on all of the things we’re missing out on this year, some brands have chosen to view 2020 with a ‘glass half full’ perspective. They’re rewriting the narrative of 2020 by creating virtual experiences that give consumers some glimmer of normalcy. Let’s walk through some of the brands we’re falling head over heels for their virtual experiences.
Ask anyone around and they’ll tell you one of their favorite memories as a kid was their time at summer camps🏕 . Walmart is keeping the memory of summer camps alive, just minus the homesick feelings that usually accompany camp. Accessed through their native mobile app, Camp by Walmart hosts the typical summer camp activities, such as fitness, performance skills, and arts and crafts, just virtually. But this isn’t like any typical summer camp…these sessions are hosted by celebrity ‘camp counselors’ including Drew Barrymore, Neil Patrick Harris, LeBron James, Idina Menzel, and Todd Oldham. And in lieu of an end of the week campfire, Walmart is hosting a drive-in movie night beginning in August and ending in October in the parking lots of 160 stores. This sounds a lot cooler than my summer camp experience (not to mention fewer bug bites).
The Home of Your Dreams
With all of this extra time indoors, I’ll bet you’ve cooked up some home improvement ideas with all of the HGTV you’ve watched. But completing an entire home renovation while practicing social distancing is almost impossible…until now. Lowe’s created an augmented reality (AR) experience called Lowe’s for Pros JobSIGHT, which allows professionals to conduct home visits virtually. Professionals can use an on-screen laser to consult with homeowners on their next home project.
Shopping Just Became a Whole Lot More Interesting
Many people dream of becoming a fashion designer. How exciting would it be if you could bring your designs to life? Well, you no longer have to dream about getting on Project Runway for that to happen. Nike has developed a coloring book that turns your designs into a 3D experience with AR. To imagine their next pair of Air Max sneakers, shoppers can design their dream pair of shoes in the coloring book, then view their design on their phones using a QR code. Now, go ‘make it work’ designers.
Staying with the theme of shoes, Gucci solved a pain point for shoppers…trying shoes on. Listen, I understand it’s not hard to try on shoes. It’s certainly a lot easier than app development. But in our current world, risking their safety to try on a pair of shoes isn’t exactly consumers’ ideal Saturday. Now, consumers can try on Gucci shoes from the comfort of their own homes using the first global shoe try-on Snapchat lens (if only there was a place other than the grocery to wear these luxury shoes to this year).
We Like Sports
Personally, I’ve never been a huge sports fan, so I’m not losing any sleep over not being able to attend a nine-inning baseball game in 90-degree weather this summer (although I do miss the concession stands…microwave soft pretzels just don’t taste the same). Even though the NBA is making a return this year, many fans are crushed they won’t be able to attend the games. Michelob Ultra is partnering with Microsoft Teams to get fans in the stadium, virtually, of course. Microsoft has a new feature called Together mode that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create a shared background, which makes it appear you’re in the same room with someone else. 300 lucky fans will have the chance to be on a 17-foot LED screen behind the action. 🏀