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Behind the Idea: The secret AR cocktail menu 

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Augmented reality is still something of an outlier when it comes to the marketing space. There have been many brands that have dipped their toes into the technology, of course, but to the layman, it’s still perceived as a gimmick that’s struggling to shake off the reputation of Pokemon Go. 

One team that has taken the concept a step further is Clarity, the marketing and communications experts. Last week, the agency launched an AR menu as part of the ‘Be in The Know’ campaign for cocktail bar chain Be At One which also included a brand partnership deal with Bacardi. The campaign was centred around a secret cocktail menu that could only be accessed using AR via a bespoke app. The app also unlocks cocktail insights from Be At One bartenders and access to limited edition, premium cocktails.

I caught up with Jeremy Harvey, Creative Partner and Founder at Clarity, to discuss the agency’s work on the campaign: What drew them to the AR concept, how difficult was the campaign to pull off and how did they match the idea to the brand?

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Jeremy Harvey

What was the brief?

In the highly competitive and fast-moving cocktail space, Be At One asked us how it could continue to stand out, maintain its market-leading position and enrich the experience of its valued customers. We needed to drive word of mouth, social sharing and ultimately sales.

How did the initial pitch go?

This initiative coincided with a planned evolution of the brand’s campaign platform for the year, so there was a big appetite for innovation and desire to shake things up. Thankfully the trusting relationship we’ve built with the client meant we were all on the same page and open-minded to pushing the envelope for this campaign.

Tell us about the concept and why it was the right choice?

We knew we wanted to create something like an exclusive club, that only the true Be At One fan would be able to unlock and interact with – that was the spark for creating ‘Be in the know’. This led to the development of the Augmented Reality (AR) menu - a secret menu using AR to enable app users to ‘be in the know’ and unlock hidden content – including secret menus, cocktail insights from Be At One bartenders and access to limited edition, premium cocktails. Customers who then have the app can scan an indicated menu page to reveal a secret cocktail that they are then able to purchase at the bar. The bartenders at Be at One are true innovators and it’s their creations that delight guests and keep them returning. It’s the guest's desire to try these new cocktails ahead of their friends and peers and to own that social currency through sharing on social, that was at the heart of the idea. 

What was the production process like?

We were extremely conscious that the campaign needed to deliver value above and beyond the initial AR interaction, so it was critical that the content was rich and had high production values, as well as delighting guests and ensuring they returned and shared their experience. The complexity within the technology meant we worked closely with our digital partners to bring our vision to life through the creation of 3D assets that were dynamic and realistic.

What’s the main message of the campaign and why is it important?

This campaign demonstrated an acute understanding of the Be At One customer and their desire for unique VIP experiences. The main message of ‘being in the know’, is Be At One is offering access to content that others don’t, providing guests with highly prized social currency.

Why will the final assets resonate with consumers?

For our young, mobile-first, socially led audience, these types of exclusive and interactive experiences bring them closer to their friends, and in turn the brands that provide them.

What’s the most interesting thing or unique fact about the campaign that will help it cut through?

Unlike previous AR campaigns, this initiative provides a real value exchange for Be At One’s guests -  it’s not a singular, of the moment experience - it’s part of a wider narrative of cocktail storytelling that will permeate across all of the bars channels. 

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

The creative concept and delivery happened within an eight week period, but the programme was then held to be released at an optimum moment in the social calendar, so it could coincide with the launch of the Be At One Christmas menu

What do you hope it achieves for the brand now it’s out?

Be At One are often imitated within their space – so we’re confident this will both further differentiate the brand amongst its competitors, whilst also providing an exciting platform through which their teams can engage in innovation and delight customers.

How satisfying is it to have released the campaign having worked so hard on it?

It’s always brilliant to see a bold creative idea make it from the sketchbook all the way to the guest. It’s also important for us to work with a client who has the creative vision and the bravery to entertain that idea and help drive its delivery. It’s taken a lot of collective effort, but the finished product is unique, engaging and, most importantly, is driving commercial return for our client.

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