Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality Applications in Cause-Related Marketing (CRM)

Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality Applications in Cause-Related Marketing (CRM)

Kenneth C. C. Yang (The University of Texas at El Paso, USA) and Yowei Kang (National Taiwan Ocean University, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5912-2.ch010
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This chapter deals with emerging augmented, mixed, and virtual reality platforms and their applications in cause-related marketing (CRM) campaigns. This chapter provides definitions and examples of augmented, mixed, and virtual realities and explains their importance CRM professionals. Compared with traditional marketing platforms, reality-creating technologies are characterized with their capabilities to interact with marketing contents through their geolocation specificity, mobility, and synchronization of virtuality and reality. These technological characteristics have made reality-creating technologies very promising for many cause-related marketing (CRM) campaigns. This chapter surveys current discussions in the existing literature and ends with three cause-related marketing (CRM) campaigns. The study concludes with an overview of emerging issues, future directions, and professional best practice recommendations.
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The Emergence of Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality

Using digital information to generate a sense of immersive reality is commonly referred to digital reality technologies that include “an amalgamation of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality, 360°, and immersive technologies” (Cook, Jones, Raghavan, & Saif, 2017, n.p.). A recent research report by (2018) predicts that the global revenue for both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications will reach $94.4 billion by 2023. International Data Corporation (IDC) (2017) similarly forecasts a rosy prediction that these reality-creating technologies and their applications will reach $13.9 billion in 2017. The compound annual growth of AR and VR is expected to reach $143.3 billion in 2020 (IDC, 2017). Separately, AR is predicted to generate $120 billion in revenue by 2020, according to Forbes (Gaudiosi, 2015). The forecast of the “disruptive” mixed reality (MR) is even more astonishing as the technology is said to affect the $2 trillion entertainment market (Rizzotto, 2016). These technologies are expected to diffuse to other industry sectors in society, ranging from education, financial services, real estate, and retailing industries (Cook et al., 2017). Citing smartphone penetration as a main driver of these technologies due to its ubiquitous presence in people’s lives, it is projected that consumer applications in entertainment, gaming, and media will account for 30% of the revenue in 2017 (, 2018). The popularity of Pokémon Go location-sensitive AR game in 2016 is an excellent example of the convergence applications, which has earned over $1.2 billion worldwide (Suciu, 2018). (2018) also estimates that the Asia-Pacific Region will see the fastest growth.

The applications of digital reality technologies could be traced back to 1990s. As early as 2010, HarperCollins Publishers experimented with AR to promote Cecelia Athern’s book, The Book of Tomorrow, in its campaign ( (Shields, 2010; Yang & Kang, 2018). Ford’s UK VR campaign (

Interest in technology-driven marketing activities such as customer acquisition, customer nurturing, brand affinity, and point of sale in both consumer-to-consumer or business-to-business electronic commerce has led to their growing applications in almost all industry sectors (Marketo, n.d.). A survey of agency clients reported that 67% of media buyers and planners are interested in incorporating AR and VR into their digital marketing campaigns (Martin, 2017). The survey also found that VR (67%) was favored over AR (17%) in their media buy (Martin, 2017). Due to their popularity, AR and VR marketing campaigns have gradually been recognized in major professional awards (e.g., the Auggie Awards, the Emmy Awards, or the Webby Awards) (Giardina, 2017). Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) expects these reality technologies will ultimately become major advertising media in the next five years because of their immersive storytelling and emotion-eliciting benefits that can influence consumer brain at its neocortex, limbic system, and reptilian brain (Klie, 2016; Marketo, n.d.). Trade publications and conferences avidly advocate the coming of VR, and other reality technologies, as one of the noteworthy trends (Alcántara, 2018; Braiker, 2018; Burritt, 2017b; Higham, 2018). For example, a VR campaign by McCann Erickson (2016) allows kids to experience what it is like and how people feel to be bullied (, to allow sick children to travel virtually to their dream destinations (Dias, 2016). This award-winning CRM campaign has successfully created awareness and driven donations to St. Jude Children Research Hospital (The Shorty Social Good Awards, 2016). The impacts of these digital reality technologies are far more important to other aspects of contemporary human experiences, ranging from medical diagnoses by doctors in a distant location, promotion of box office movies and HBO’s Game of Thrones, and visualization of customers’ home improvement projects by Lowes (Marketo, n.d.).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cause-Related Marketing (CRM): A sub-set of marketing activities that is related to a company’s social responsibility programs (CSR). CRM focuses on linking a company’s sale (usually a percentage of sale) with the amount to be donated to non-profit organizations to support their social causes.

Reality (Reality-Creating) Technology: An umbrella term when referring to technologies that can create simulated realities using computer-generated images, videos, interactions. Usually, the term refers to augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality technologies.

Virtual Reality: Refers to an assembly of technologies that provides immersive, interactive, and information-rich virtual experiences through a computerized, simulated, real-time 3D virtual environment.

Augmented Reality: The term refers to a simulated, but enhanced, reality that combines both computer-generated virtual and real-world data to enable users to perform real-time interactions with computer-generated graphics, imagery, and objects, in a seamless way and with an illusion of these layers of information coexisting in the same space.

Digital Advertising: An umbrella term to refer to emerging advertising practices (such as internet, social, mobile, reality technologies, etc.).

Mixed Reality: A term that refers to the computer-generated reality when the physical world blends with the digital world through environmental input, spatial sound, and location.

Best Practice: Refers to a method, procedure, or technique that has demonstrable evidence through research or practice to generate the maximum results and become a benchmark or a standard to widespread adoption by the industry.

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