We’ve always enjoyed working with companies to produce some amazing Augmented Reality projects. Last year, San Francisco-based agency Phun&Dunn released an app in association with Chouffe USA called “Summon the Chouffe.” You can read about it here.
Recently, we got to chat with Phun&Dunn’s team – Trevor Oldershaw (Partner & Creative Director), Tommy Giovagnoli (Partner & Creative Director), and Leslie Edelman (Partner & Director of Operations) – about the Summon the Chouffe app. They were happy to share some details.
What was the overall goal of the project?
In the world of import craft beers, it’s about connecting more deeply with a very small group of enthusiasts, rather than making a play for broad awareness. After all, a beer like Chouffe will only be distributing in relatively small quantities to a particular set of bars and restaurants that focus on better beers. So the primary goal here was to excite the brand’s entire ecosystem of distributors, accounts, and customers – enthusiasts, one and all, by giving them a very special view into the magical and legendary world of the Chouffe gnomes.
Why did you decide to use Augmented Reality?
Seeing things that aren’t really there? Somehow, AR just seems like a natural choice in context of strong Belgian beer brewed by community of 6,000 year-old forest gnomes.
We dipped our toes into the AR water back in 2012, and then took a huge leap forward with new artwork and new technical capabilities thanks to Metaio.
How long did development take?
The app took nearly four months to create, but that was driven as much by the creation of the original artwork and animations as the pure dev involved. Creating the app itself, including versions for iOS and Android, took roughly three months.
What resources were already available? What resources need to be created?
This was a real storytelling effort, and a real team adventure. Phun&Dunn designed all the campaign elements – copy, art, animations and fundamental app planning and design. This history and legend of Chouffe beer was a story there to be told, but it required all-new illustrations, and required us to create whole new chapters.
Chouffe USA, experts themselves in the production of beer collateral, handled the printing of all the collateral with triggers: posters, coasters, table tents and stickers.
Technically, we based the structure from an earlier version, but rebuilt everything from the ground up with our developer-partners, Apptitude Digital. They were able to include not only the AR component that made our stories spring to life from the various triggers, but also a fun and engaging “Gnome Thyself” module that allowed users to put their own faces into the illustrated world of Chouffe.
Master illustrator Michael Dziekan rendered the world for us, giving more detail and backstory than before.
What tools did you use?
Other than native platform SDK’s and standard backend management, we used Metaio’s SDK to create fast and awesome AR experience.
What were some difficulties in development? How were they handled?
Our biggest single hurdle was handling the video performance across legacy device issues in the Android ecosystem. iOS was really no problem, but Android did create some challenges as we set about supporting a number or prior releases and less robust processors on early smart phones.
Again, this was not a game of going viral for us. It was more about exciting and energizing a rabid core. So while a number like 1,600 downloads might not seem like a major victory, the impact felt throughout the sales channel and on premise with key accounts can’t be underestimated. The app became a true “wow” moment for everyone involved. And those who engaged did stay within the app for nearly five minutes as they enjoyed many tiny revelations while watching our small tall tales.
Was this released in conjunction with other campaigns?
Yes, this release was actually a key brand-building component for the launch of our “Summon the Chouffe” campaign. The tag line was a three-fold meaning: Summon the light-hearted spirit of the Chouffe beer within yourself; Summon a delicious Chouffe by signaling the bartender right now; and, of course, bring the gnomes of Chouffe to life before your eyes by summoning them with our AR app on your smart phone.
Did you notice any trends?
Chouffe is still a brand that markets based on events and promotions. The brew itself is revered, and the model is to build word-of-mouth excitement. So, rest assured, usage and additional downloads spike with each new event or promotion.
Thanks Phun&Dunn! We can’t wait to see what you guys develop in the future!
For any of you SF locals out there, Chouffe Fest is just around the corner. Check it out!