WebAR making vandalised mural accessible to everyone

Technology presents opportunities for savvy marketers

The controversial Luke Cornish mural at Bondi Beach
The controversial Luke Cornish mural at Bondi Beach

Immersive technology company, Unbnd, has immortalised a controversial mural using augmented reality technology, opening up a wide variety of opportunities for marketers. 

Recent work by Archibald-nominated artist, Luke Cornish, is at the centre of a debate around Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. Cornish’s mural on a Bondi Beach seawall depicts 24 armed Australian Border Force officers standing under the words “(Not) Welcome to Bondi,” to represent the number of suicides in Australian detention centres since 2010. The work was defaced by vandals hours after Waverley Council voted against calls to remove it. 

As a way to preserve the original meaning of the artwork, Unbnd has employed its WebAR technology to capture it digitally. By setting up a URL, Unbnd has enabled people visiting the vandalised mural to hold up their phones and view the original artwork in augmented reality (AR). Because WebAR eliminates the need to use an app for AR, the technology can bring the mural back to life simply by using the browser on a mobile device.

Unbnd specialises in AR, WebAR, SocialAR, virtual reality and interactive projections.

“This is a prime example of how WebAR can immortalise the intended meaning of an idea, concept or message and make it accessible to anyone with a smartphone,” said Unbnd managing director, David Loughnan. “Not only does this open up huge possibilities for artists, communities, individuals and brands to bring powerful messages to life and communicate them at scale, it paints a picture of the future of augmented reality and how it can be used beyond novel applications. 

“With older AR, you had to download an app. WebAR is new tech, and while it is still in its infancy, it means you can click on a URL to open up your camera and view the AR. It essentially democratises AR and allows it to scale. Downloading an app is a huge barrier for marketing." 

Loughnan saw plenty of opportunity for marketers to provide more immersive experiences for customers using the technology, but said it's also a driver for the conversions piece.

"You can attach promotional codes, and connect online and offline assets. For out-of-home in general, it will be a big disruptor and offer many creative opportunities," he claimed. “AR experiences put into contextual environments drive visualisation and emotional connection with a product."

Unbnd's plans are to take AR, voice and artificial intelligence (AI) and converge the three to serve relevant information in immersive way. This could include behavioural and location details.

"It also allows us prove ROI, it’s cost effective, and because it’s on the web we can attach a whole heap of metrics around it,” he told CMO

Meanwhile, the WebAR experience will not only make Cornish's artwork accessible to those who didn’t get a chance to see it, but will also ensure the message lives on. Cornish himself believes a measured and less reactive response is essential, a sentiment he delivered to his Instagram community yesterday.

“A lot of people have asked me how I’m going to respond to the vandalism of my Bondi mural, and this is something that I've needed to be smart and mature about. You don't respond to vandalism or censorship, you react to it, and reacting will only draw me into a tit for tat fight about a topic I'm not interested in fighting about, freedom of speech, something I already have, unquestionably,” he stated on the social site.

“After giving it much thought, I've decided the most progressive way to move forward, and leave this behind, is by implementing an augmented reality feature of the mural, which anybody with a mobile phone, can hold up, and view the mural, as it was intended to be seen, any time, forever. Thanks to the team at Unbnd, passersby can now hold up their phone to the wall and experience the original artwork." 

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia. 

 

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