Panera is out today with an augmented reality (AR) ad unit for mobile devices that lets users rotate menu items and share the experience across Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. Panera said this was the first AR ad unit for the food industry.
In the example video, the user can rotate a wrap sandwich, the Mediterranean Egg White Breakfast Wrap, which is the only menu item currently available in AR. The user reaches this AR experience by clicking on an ad:
And here’s the experience for viewing through mobile devices.
The company said the AR makes it easy for customers to assess a food selection, through navigable visual inspection as well as displayed info about nutrition and ingredients.
The ad unit is currently running on sports web site Bleacher Report via the mobile ad platform Composite from digital agency Glow. The creative assets were developed by Panera’s AR agency, QReal. The platform, Panera said, facilitates the social sharing of such an AR asset.
The ad utilizes the OS-level ARKit and ARCore augmented reality frameworks in iOS and Android devices, so that no app needs to be downloaded.
What does AR offer consumers that they couldn’t get from, say, an online menu?
This kind of ad is letting consumers “find information fast,” Panera VP of marketing Scott Nelson said via email. He also added that it helps the brand “push an overall category innovation.”
The success of this kind of AR ad, he said, will be measured by whether consumers tell their friends about it, so the key focus will be on shares and engagements.