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Covent Garden / Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blippar

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world

London shopping district hosts augmented reality scavenger hunt

Over 140 shops in London’s Covent Garden are participating in an augmented reality Christmas treasure hunt.

Working with three Hearst Magazines fashion editors, augmented reality app Blippar created Christmas gift guides that can be accessed through the Blippar app by scanning special tags attached to items in-store.


Cosmopolitan, Elle and Esquire – the magazines involved – will also each host an event at Covent Garden during the festive period.

Blippable stickers on restaurant and shop windows can also be scanned with the app to unlock special offers.

On the more playful end of the spectrum, visitors can also scan a reindeer statue, to see a digital version prance around the Covent Garden Piazza and fly towards them within the app, and the 50-foot Christmas tree, to unlock more offers.

Eight reindeer posters have also been hidden around the area, and visitors can scan them to enter a daily prize draw – from 15 November until Christmas Eve.


Contagious Insight / 

Grand scale / This isn’t the first time we’ve seen augmented reality integrated into the shopping experience, but we’ve never seen it on such a huge scale. Pokémon Go brought AR to the masses, so it’s no longer elusive. Conducting an event like this a year ago would have been incredibly risky, as the technology might have gone straight over customers’ heads, but now that AR is understood by the public it’s more intriguing than confusing.

Curated content / The Christmas gift guides are the most useful part of this project – and they are made even more so by the fact that they’re created by people who are experts in fashion. The style editors from Elle, Cosmopolitan and Esquire worked with 35 different fashion brands to compile the curated gift collections, so the guides will be anything but amateur.

For shoppers who are at a loss for present ideas, professionally curated gift guides would be a good enough motivation to download the Blippar app and pick Covent Garden as their Christmas shopping location.

Entertainment for engagement / The Blippable content ranges from gift guides to prize draws and ‘magical’ experiences, so there’s something for everyone. This not only means that stressed parents will have something to distract their children with while they’re Christmas shopping, it also provides a good motivation for shoppers to explore different parts of Covent Garden.

Gift guides can be accessed by scanning clothing in-store, which also gives shoppers a reason to enter shops they wouldn’t normally, and increase their dwell time once they’re in them. The prizes and child entertainment (Blippar is also hosting Santa visits and an augmented reality rooftop experience, not to mention the reindeer treasure hunt) are a good way for Covent Garden to differentiate itself from the other London Christmas shopping go-tos, like Oxford Circus.



This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world. I/O helps anyone in the world of marketing understand why brands are innovating, how they're doing it and with what success.

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