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Ritz-Carlton brings augmented reality to Arabic magazine Sayidaty

November 19, 2013


The Ritz-Carlton is animating its print advertisements with augmented reality in the female Pan Arab magazine Sayidaty, which marks the first campaign of its kind for the brand in the Middle East.

Through the help of technology from augmented reality brand Blippar, readers of Sayidaty are able to scan Ritz-Carlton ads or articles for a three-dimensional experience. The hotel chain's ability to reach women consumers on a more engaging level will likely secure interest in what is still a nascent market.

"The Ritz-Carlton has transformed itself into one of the world’s most relevant luxury brands and we’ve taken a digital first approach to engaging with luxury consumers all over the world," said Clayton Ruebensaal, vice president of marketing at The Ritz-Carlton.

"We brief our agencies to bring us back any interesting opportunity that would be relevant to our strategy of owning memories and to the way local consumers engage with media,' he said.

"In this case Blippar was a perfect solution to our challenge to show the GCC luxury traveler all the different experiences we can offer around the world in an engaging way. No small task, a lot of information, delivered in an interesting way. this new technology let us do just that."

Stay with us

The Blippar-enabled ad made its debut Nov. 16 within a six-page article in both the print and iPad versions of Sayidaty. The article builds upon the point-of-view of the brand's "Let Us Stay With You" campaign, which began in 2011.

The Ritz-Carlton in Sayidaty

In a reverse-psychology move, the Ritz-Carlton began asking its guests to let the brand “stay with them” through a brand platform revitalization that included video, artwork, a Web site relaunch and new mobile projects.

With the campaign, the Marriott-owned hotel chain invited consumers to create memories in Ritz-Carlton properties around the world that will stay with guests long after they leave the hotel. The advertising captures stories, tips and memorable moments that the Ritz-Carlton employees provide guests with every day (see story).

The campaign's longevity likely indicates that it either has done well or can be seamlessly transferred from market to market.

Readers of Sayidaty can download the Blippar application and scan the trigger image within the article for a three-dimensional experience rising from the page.

Users can compare and explore features of the different hotels, view photo galleries and maps and make reservations.


Sayidaty assembled moments from properties such as The Ritz-Carlton, Tyson’s Corner; The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC; The Reserve, Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico; The Ritz-Carlton, Laguana Niguel; Hotel Arts Barcelona; The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfzburg, Germany and The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna.

The variety of locations speaks to the global nature of the reader's travels.

"These augmented ads are simply the future of our industry,” said Damon M. Banks, director of DMB Public Relations, New York.

"In the hospitality industry, augmented reality provides another way to better connect with your consumer," he said.

Blurring boundaries

Other luxury hotel brands have recently engineered campaigns that blur the boundaries of different channels.

For instance, Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts enlisted British author Simon van Booy to pen a short story with the hotel as both a setting and a player for its latest ad campaign that raises awareness about various properties.

The story, titled “The Escape Artist,” is set against the backdrop of the Waldorf Astoria’s Chicago property, and follows fictional fashion designer Alexandra, played by actress Olga Kurylenko, who travels to the hotel to get inspiration for her latest collection (see story).

Also, Italian fashion house Fendi is promoting its fall/winter 2013 menswear collection with a meditative and print-like video that showcases products more effectively than typical promotional videos.

Shot in slow-motion, the “Neverwinter Tale” video lingers on select items to give prospective consumers a grasp of the product range. While many promotional videos are designed to pique interest in a collection using fractured, rushed scenes, Fendi’s slow-progressing film may drive sales (see story).

Since augmented reality can combine mobile, print and the Internet, it can access the best of several worlds.

"When we say this technology from Blippar, we wanted to bring it to the GCC consumer because we know they thirst for new technology and respect brands who know how to engage in that space," Mr. Ruebensaal said. 

"For us, with a relatively new relationship with these consumers it was critical to find a way to break through the clutter of all the luxury messages and all the digital messages," he said. 

"We believe this will achieve that for us."

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York