What is old is new again. In this case, a classic arcade game gets the augmented reality treatment.
In a new promotion playing off its ad campaign featuring actor Craig Robinson (The Office, Hot Tub Time Machine), Pizza Hut has turned its pizza boxes into a virtual Pac-Man game via web-based AR technology.
Now, customers who order a large Tastemaker from the pizza chain between March 15 and 26 (or while supplies last) will receive a specially-marked box that includes a QR code that leads to the Pizza Hut Arcade website.
When viewing the website from an iOS or Android smartphone, customers can point their camera at the Pac-Man maze on the box to project a virtual arcade game onto the package. From there, the game plays as one would expect, complete with a virtual joystick controlled with swipe gestures on the touchscreen.
If that weren't enough fun, players can share their scores to Pizza Hut on Twitter with the hashtags #PizzaHutARcade #Sweepstakes to enter for a chance to win a real-life Pac-Man arcade cabinet. The winner will be announced on April 3.
"Pac-Man's design and creation was inspired by the shape of a pizza with a slice taken out of it, making this partnership so appropriate for the Pac-Man brand," said Yutaka Fuse, head of licensing and branding at Bandai Namco. "Pac-Man games and Pizza Hut pizzas occupy a special place in many people's memories; we're excited to have the opportunity to create fun memories for a new generation of Pac-Man and Pizza Hut fans through this collaboration."
The secret sauce behind the experience is the 8th Wall Web platform, which enables customers to simply navigate to a website via their mobile devices. Another key ingredient that 8th Wall brings to this pizza party is its Image Targets feature, which turns the Pac-Man maze printed on the box into an AR marker.
And, because it's a marker-based experience, that means you don't necessarily need the pizza box to play, as long as you have the right image. With a little photo manipulation, we were able to play the game using the image below.
It's not the first such promotion from Pizza Hut, which previously embedded an AR bean bag toss into its packaging for an NFL promotion. Similarly, the company's competitor, Papa John's, utilized image recognition technology from Snapchat to build its own AR cross-promotion for Spider-Man: Far From Home.
From wine, to beer and soda, to video games and CD cases, to hair coloring and candy, brands are having a blast adding AR experiences to their products. As a result, it's becoming more difficult for parents to tell kids not to play with their food.