Case Studies

Happy holidays in augmented reality

See the excitement and challenges of building a festive geospatial AR experience on one of London’s most iconic shopping streets.

the brief

Regent Street’s ‘Spirit of Christmas’ festive lights are Central London’s largest lights display, and every year thousands of people flock to see over 300,000 LED lights create an extraordinary and magical experience. At OLS we are lucky to call this home, as our London office sits directly overlooking this magnificent street. But this year, the beautiful 17-metre spirit that is usually anchored to our building was bypassed due to scaffolding. So we set about filling the empty space with cutting-edge creative using the latest in geospatial AR technology.

the objective

Create a festive augmented reality experience anchored to one of the most photographed streets in the world – blending physical reality with digital creativity! With such an incredible lights display to contend with and surrounding grandiose architecture, we needed to create a stunning AR experience on a big scale that felt impressive and immersive. 

the challenge

Working geospatially meant mapping the real world space and making sure that every aspect of the creative was designed and scaled to fit the space seamlessly. Working in augmented reality also meant that file size optimisation was a challenge – i.e. how to balance quick delivery with high-level visual quality for mobile devices. We also never shy away from high ambition and wanted to publish a dual filter (on both Adobe Aero and Snapchat), so the creative had to work seamlessly across both platforms. 

the result

Snapchat and Aero both utilise Google Maps data which gives you access to their 3D tiles, which are image files that contain photorealistic imagery of buildings in real world scale. This provided us with our ‘map’ so we could build our customised experience specific to our location on Regent St, and without the need for JavaScript. 

We used standard 3D techniques to build out the creative, with a strong focus on optimisation of polys and maintaining texturing quality. Building elements that could be reused within the space also helped us keep the file size down. 

Publishing to both Adobe Aero and Snapchat was less complicated, as they both pull data from Google. Lens Studio was a little more complicated due to the vast size of the product, but the results were equally successful on both platforms. 

The final result was a fully immersive augmented reality experience that fulfilled all of our objectives, and had over 1,500 visits to the experience landing page. The tracking, which can be hit or miss with AR, was super successful and allowed the whole experience to be visually seamless. The netted ‘lights’ also really brought the magic to the AR at nighttime, holding people’s attention on an otherwise hugely lit up street.