Easter ISN’T cancelled
Easter ISN’T cancelled - an augmented reality Great Indoor Easter Egg Hunt to keep kids engaged over Easter
Easter is here and it’s safe to say that this year will be strikingly different from previous years - there won’t be any frolicking in the sea, extended family lunches or long weekend traffic as people escape to their bachs - we’re all staying put and cracking open Easter Eggs in our own bubbles, from the comfort of our own homes, in the current Level Four lockdown.
In the wise words of our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Easter bunny might not be able to get everywhere this year, so to help lift spirits, Method, a creative experiences studio have used the power of web AR technology to create a magical experience for families to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes.
“Due to Covid-19, everything has closed down in terms of entertainment, so we wanted to do something family-friendly and playful for Easter with the usual Method creative tech spin. No one has been through this before and this lockdown is such an unusual and stressful event, so I think humour and play is going to get us through this.” Method’s managing director Sam Ramlu says.
Cue The Great Indoor Easter Egg Hunt. It works as follows: the family gets together to draw, decorate and cut out five Easter egg shapes, and an adult then hides the eggs around the house according to the instructions detailed by Method.
Next, the children (and maybe even some adults) start the hunt for the eggs! Using a mobile phone they simply head to The Great Indoor Easter Egg Hunt website, click “Start Hunt”, and follow the on screen instructions. Each time they discover an egg they hold it up in view of the camera to see a surprise animation, and the next clue, play out through augmented reality.
“People are looking for experiences that keep us connected and keep us sane. This is an opportunity to play and spend more valuable time with your family, while sticking to the level four rules.”
There are no fiddly app downloads required, and the technology is as simple to use as opening up a web browser. This essentially means that it becomes accessible to as many families as possible.
The project is a great example of what Method specialises in - using design, animation, storytelling, gaming and tech to blend real-life environments with the digital world to create an engaging experience.
“We love linking the physical with the digital and right now it is needed more than ever, especially with parents who are struggling with screen time and how they balance it,” Ramlu says. “Times like this show that AR and games don't have to be mindless or always the bad guy, and there can be a healthy link to the physical as well. We love the idea of kids drawing the eggs and decorating them, but then the added layer of the digital brings the surprise to life. They’ll love creating their very own Magic Easter Eggs.”
In terms of the technical muscle behind this game, Method has built its own web-based augmented reality platform for businesses and agencies called Mattar that creates rich, interactive AR experiences that can be viewed directly in a mobile browser.
Seeing as client campaigns on the platform have been put on hold because of the Covid-19 situation, it was the perfect opportunity for Method to test the technology themselves with the public.
Ramlu says up until recently, AR experiences on web browsers – versus on an app – haven’t been the most user friendly.
“Not all browsers supported AR content which led to lagging, plus the image recognition had to be really rigid, much like a QR code,” she says. “Now, the browsers have caught up and they can handle web AR much better, while image recognition is now available. Thanks to Google Cloud Vision, we can also run campaigns that recognise real objects adding a whole another layer of possibilities for brands.”
As the technology webAR uses is contactless and digitally created, there’s a clear opportunity for brands to engage with their audiences using this tech during the lockdown and long after.
Ramlu says Method’s mantra through this crisis has become “Keep playing to win, not just to survive” when it comes to digital communications and experiences and their own strategy.
Businesses need to adapt and evolve to function under the current circumstances and so Method’s focus has now pivoted from location-based experiences to elevating home-based experiences during the lockdown.
“I know a lot of people are in survival mode at the moment, but we’re thinking long-term,” Ramlu says. “Instead of pausing, we’ve thought, ‘What could we do to accelerate some of our own original IP?’ So we’re doubling down on our efforts to create engaging content. Let’s get people being more playful, instead of panicking.”