n October 24th, 2022, fans watching Monday Night Football were treated to an augmented reality event promoting a product, the first of its kind.

The event was put on by Proctor and Gamble (P&G) to promote the Gillette Labs Exfoliating Bar. Why Gillette Labs, specifically? Because the NFL game in question was played between the Patriots and the Bears on the Patriotsā€™ home turf, Gillette Stadium. Makes sense, right?

The beginning of the 45 seconds-long virtual campaign shows the mascot for the Patriots team, Pat the Patriot, striding into the locker room. Once inside, he flips a switch that says ā€œGillette,ā€ changing it to ā€œGillette Labs.ā€

The scene changes to the inside of the Gillette Stadium, where the famous lighthouse shines a beam of light on the Patriots logo on the 50-yard line. The logo turns over and becomes a silver-colored base, upon which different shapes come together to form an image of the Exfoliating Bar razor.

Image: Gilette AR Razor

While razors arenā€™t necessarily that exciting - no matter what cool tricks you use to market them - thereā€™s no denying that the use of augmented reality in an advertising campaign before an NFL game is pretty ground-breaking. No company has held such a large virtual event to promote a retail product before, and P&G pulled out all the stops to make sure theirs was truly special.

The first step to making it special was hiring the Famous Group. According to their website, this California-based video production company is in the business of producing virtual fan experiences for large-scale events and venues.

This isnā€™t their first project with an NFL team. In 2021 they created a realistic virtual panther that stomped and roared its way around the Carolina Panthersā€™ stadium. Their video premiered online during a football game on September 12th, 2021, and went viral, gaining one million impressions by halftime.

To build a frame of reference for the augmented reality portions of the Gillette Labs ad, the Famous Group used two cameras equipped with tracking technology to perform a laser scan on the Gillette Stadium. The stadium is currently undergoing renovations, but they were able to fill in the gaps -including the landmark lighthouse, which is also under construction - using AR.

Of course, the campaign was visible only to the fans who were watching the pre-game from home. The fans who attended the game in person saw nothing but Gillette Stadium as it is in real life - still under construction. There were no giant razors being pieced together ā€œlike a Transformer,ā€ as the Famous Group vice president for business development, Andrew Isaacson described it to USA TODAY Sports.

What makes this campaign even more remarkable is that it was shown to a national audience. This was a point of pride for Gillette, according to the razor brandā€™s vice president of North American grooming, John Claughton. He told USA TODAY Sports that he hoped fans watching would find the campaign ā€œinnovative and pioneering.ā€

Weā€™re sure he hopes that more people will buy Gilletteā€™s new razor, as well. As for us, we were impressed by the augmented reality on display on Monday Night Football, as it bodes well for more ā€œinnovative and pioneeringā€ campaigns in the future.

Nov 3, 2022
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