Astral partners with Ad-Dispatch on augmented reality app

Astral Out-of-Home is getting into the augmented reality business. The Montreal-based company has partnered with Halifax-based Ad-Dispatch – which bills itself as “North America’s leader in augmented reality (AR) development” – to help launch a new universal AR application called Iris AR for the out-of-home industry. Terms were not disclosed, but Ad-Dispatch’s vice-president of sales, Jonathan […]

Astral Out-of-Home is getting into the augmented reality business.

The Montreal-based company has partnered with Halifax-based Ad-Dispatch – which bills itself as “North America’s leader in augmented reality (AR) development” – to help launch a new universal AR application called Iris AR for the out-of-home industry.

Terms were not disclosed, but Ad-Dispatch’s vice-president of sales, Jonathan Burns, said the partnership has been constructed on an in-kind basis, with certain benchmarks for participation, education and go-to-market strategies.

It is a marriage between what Burns called a “brilliant” out-of-home strategist with an expert in the AR space.

“It’s an opportunity for both of us to go to market with a really innovative app and be able to leverage it jointly,” he said. He wouldn’t disclose development costs, but said Ad-Dispatch has been working on the app for about 14 months.

Available for both iOS and Android devices, and created specifically for the Canadian out-of-home advertising market, Iris uses AR to bring two-dimensional creative to life.

It made its formal debut last week in Toronto with a TSA campaign for the alcohol brand Drambuie designed to bring its “Taste of the Extraordinary” campaign to life. When users interact with the ad via Iris they see a three-dimensional image of a Drambuie bottle turning upside down, with the liquid flowing upwards.

While AR is not new to the marketing space, previous efforts have required users to download a campaign-specific app. The bilingual Iris app can be used to access AR content for multiple campaigns from multiple vendors. “The objective is to create a community of AR brands with the user in mind,” said Burns. “The user will be able to connect with out-of-home experiences from this one app.

“It is probably the most robust universal AR app out there.”

Ad-Dispatch had previously worked with Maclean’s on an AR issue and earlier this year partnered with retail giant Walmart and Hollywood Studios (Marvel, Disney and Nickelodeon) to offer in-store AR experiences.

“Our key differentiator is our ability to build content that wows and impresses,” said Burns. “It’s visually appealing and it’s got a component to it that people naturally want to get immersed in that space.”

Established in 1999 as a content developer for North American agencies and retailers, Ad-Dispatch made AR its “primary focus” about three years ago, said Burns.

Media Articles

Remembering Suzanne Raitt

The industry shares fond memories of Newspapers Canada's VP and CMO

On The Move: Changes at FCB, eBay, Defy and Hill + Knowlton

A weekly recap of who's headed where in Canadian marketing and communications

Ex-CEO of Accuen joins Kik Interactive

Global ad executive will work to build partner ecosystem around social network

Google looks to make YouTube more shoppable on mobile

Viewers will be able to browse products, link directly to retailer's sites from within ad video

Sprint hires Kevin Crull as CMO

Former president of Bell Media to oversee advertising and social media efforts

4 ways to get the media coverage you want

Industry experts share their tips of the trade

Spotify expands lineup to include video, podcasts, radio

Move suggests steaming service looking to cash in on digital video advertising: analyst

Discover Media takes ‘channel-agnostic’ to new heights

Play Taxi alum says new platform centralizes buying across every media channel