Augmented reality app urges smokers to swap cigarettes for cash

Howard Lake | 13 March 2013 | Blogs

The British Heart Foundation has worked with augmented reality app specialists Blippar to try to persuade smokers to quit and use the money saved for something else. The app is being launched on No Smoking Day.

Point your smartphone (with the Blippar app on it) at the Government warning signs on any cigarette packet, and onscreen the packet will transform into one of three 3D scenarios demonstrating what the smoker could do with the money saved from giving up smoking, together with the health benefits. These are family cinema tickets, gadgets, and a holiday.

Blippar and BHF's Swap Fags for Swag augmented reality campaign

The BHF stops short of using the app to suggest that smokers make a donation so it is a public health campaign rather than a fundraising campaign. Yet the 'swap fags for swag' campaign does have some characteristics that fundraisers can learn from.

Blippar and BHF's Swap Fags for Swag augmented reality campaign

The Blippar app works on any iOS or Android device. Blippar say that this is "the first time ever that product packaging has been hijacked using augmented-reality for a charity campaign".

Once the app has displayed the ‘swag’ items to the user, the 3D interactive content directs the smoker to, a website full of resources to help smokers break the habit.

Betty McBride, Director of Policy and Communications at the BHF, said: "The tobacco giants are notoriously protective about their slick cigarette packaging – here’s a bit of slick that does some good for once. We need to up our game if we are going to help people beat their addiction to tobacco by finding new ways to reach out to them. We want to help the two thirds of smokers who tell us repeatedly that they’re desperate to quit."

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