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Road Respect – augmented reality app

Led by a collective of North East councils, the Road Respect campaign aimed to discourage young people from driving after drinking or taking drugs. Organisers knew an app would needed to ensure the message stuck and saw AR could have a major impact with the tech-savvy demographic.

Road Respect AR showing car crashing through a shop window

After being given access to empty stores in the Metrocentre, Gateshead, and The Bridges shopping centre, Sunderland, we used vinyl stickers to make it seem like they were car accessory shops, the ‘accessories’ featuring the campaign hashtag #idiotisachoice. These new ‘shop fronts’, then, acted as a trigger for an app that showed a Vauxhall Corsa crashing through the window – accompanied by the sound of screeching brakes, smashing glass and engine revving – the instant tablets were pointed at them. Campaign teams could thus use this to attract passersby, who would go on to take part in simulations within the stores themselves.

This was a flagship project on the grounds of scale alone, given the huge target images, meticulous planning necessary to ensure realistic detail and the fact that, as far as we knew, no AR firm had yet done anything as ambitious in a retail environment. The setting did pose challenges, but nothing we couldn’t overcome. We worried, for instance, that reflected light could stop the app from reading the triggers. But by blocking out parts of the image during testing, we confirmed this would be insufficient to interfere with the process.

Overall, the project, developed using Unity, proved a huge success, dramatically boosting the impact of a worthwhile initiative.

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Road Respect

The ‘shop fronts’, acted as a trigger for an app that showed a Vauxhall Corsa crashing through the window - accompanied by the sound of screeching brakes, smashing glass and engine revving - the instant tablets were pointed at them. Campaign teams could thus use this to attract passersby, who would go on to take part in simulations within the stores themselves.

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