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What do Family Guy and smart refrigerators have in common? Not much, you’d think, but Samsung and London-based advertising agency BBH found inspiration in the strangest of places. They today launched Doorways, an augmented reality (AR) experience at IFA 2018 that lets users step into a Griffin house outfitted with Samsung smart home appliances.

Much of the AR magic takes place in a cordoned-off Doorways display area, where participants point their cameras at walls wallpapered with QR codes. A special Family Guy app overlays scenes from a narrative featuring Peter Griffin, who instructs the viewers to interact with the Samsung SmartThings-compatible appliances arranged in the digital scene.

One homemaking task involves choosing a playlist; users walk up to a Samsung Smart Refrigerator, launch the Spotify app from its touchscreen, and beam a song to a nearby Samsung Smart TV. Others include learning how to pair the aforementioned television to the fridge to view its contents, running a load of laundry in a Samsung Wi-Fi Washing Machine, and turning on an oven.

“For many consumers, smart devices and the Internet of Things can seem like a complicated concept,” Ian Heartfield, chief creative officer at BBH London, said in a statement. “It can be difficult for them to see what these devices can do and how they can all work together to benefit them. This need to bring it all to life for consumers is why we developed Doorways. Harnessing AR and the wit of Family Guy gives Samsung a unique solution to a complex challenge.”

For BBH, the Samsung/Family Guy experience is just the start. Doorways, which leverages Google’s ARCore platform for positional tracking, will be rolled out at tech events globally and in “prominent locations” in cities such as London and New York. The next few experiences will aim to “educate consumers on different aspects of IoT,” BBH said.

Augmented reality marketing is a lucrative business; it’s expected to reach $117.4 billion by 2022. There’s a good reason for all the enthusiasm: It can capture people’s attention for more than a minute and a half, increase attention rates by 20 percent, and improve click-through rates to purchase by 33 percent, according to The Drum. Brands like Home Depot and Anthropologie offer AR apps that let customers “see” what couches, tablets, and beds might look like in a space before they step foot in a store. Sephora’s Virtual Artist allows users to “try on” makeup via their smartphones’ front camera. And there’s plenty more where they came from.


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