Now that the NCAA Basketball Tournament is underway, 7-Eleven has decided to launch an augmented reality experience to remind basketball fans where they can quench their thirst throughout March Madness.
The first AR experience leverages the front-facing camera. First, the effect places a virtual bottle of BodyArmor within the camera view and, when users open their mouths, the bottle turns upwards to deliver some imaginary refreshment.
Next, the experience turns users into basketball players, inserting the real-time camera feed into a basketball court scene, complete with a virtual basketball player's body. Users can also customize the skin tone and gender of the virtual costume before capturing the scene to share with others.
The second experience takes over the rear camera and anchors a miniature basketball game in the user's environment. Following the familiar three-point shooting contest format, players can compete with an AI opponent to see who can reach 10 hoops made first, with three rounds of escalating difficulty available per game.
A VR version of the game is available for devices that don't support Android devices (since the 7-Eleven app's AR camera doesn't yet support ARCore) and iOS devices that aren't compatible with ARKit.
Users can also earn points for 7-Eleven's customer loyalty program by sharing the selfie experience on social media, or playing a round of the mini-game. Additionally, customers can earn double the points when they purchase a 28 oz. bottle of BodyArmor in 7-Eleven stores.
BodyArmor's position as a sponsor of a major sports tournament is a key battleground in its aim to topple market leader Gatorade. The fact that the company is including augmented reality marketing in this highly-visible campaign speaks volumes about AR's position in the current promotional landscape.
(Ironically, basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who skipped college and went straight to the NBA from high school, was an early major BodyArmor investor and brand marketer.)
The convenience store chain remains committed to augmented reality experiences, built with Zappar's Zapworks Studio platform, as a means to attract customers.
Previously, 7-Eleven published a football-centric AR experience at the beginning of the 2018 football season. Suffice to say, 7-Eleven is doing a great job of feeding the appetites of tech-centric sports fans.
And as the sports entertainment world continues to pull augmented reality into the marketing game, we can expect to see an even wider range of such marketing initiatives in the coming months.