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Opinion

TikTok Community Invited to Use First Virtual Try-On Service: The Future of AR

UK sports retailer JD is collaborating with Nike to create a buzz around the launch of the new Nike Air VaporMax. The brands are inviting the TikTok community to get involved by using the branded hashtag #JDVaporMaxShuffle, marking the first augmented reality (AR) shoe try-on in the UK. So is this something we are going to begin seeing more of in the world of social media?

JD and Nike have created this campaign in close partnership with TikTok’s Creative Lab. The 3D AR branded effect will allow anyone to try on all three colourways of the new Nike trainer. The TikTok community will be able to explore a fun new way to try out new looks without having to purchase or leave the comfort of their own home. 

As well as the creation of the AR try-on feature, JD and Nike have collaborated on a bespoke track for the challenge. Music and sound are extremely important on TikTok, and the platform is shaping the way we consume music today, so the lyrics will encourage people to move and interact with the 3D AR branded effect even further.

TikTok is launching its own AR platform

Although this is a first-of-its-kind campaign for a UK brand, it is likely that this will not be the last we will see of AR on TikTok. TikTok is in fact building its very own AR development platform – TikTok Effect Studio. Following suit with Snap and Facebook, TikTok has recently launched a new creative toolset, currently in private beta testing, which will allow its own developer community to build AR effects for use in the app.

The TikTok Effect Studio is not designed for third-party use, but instead, it’s about building AR experiences and creative effects that would be provided to TikTok users directly. Developers are now able to register their interest for the Effect Studio on a dedicated site – Effect House. Those interested will be asked to provide their TikTok account info, company, and level of experience with building for AR, as well as examples of their work. The site also asks if they’re using a Mac or PC, and whether they would test Effect House for work or for personal use. 

This suggests that TikTok could soon be a strong contender as a successful and highly professional AR hosting platform. 

How can AR authentically fit into influencer marketing? 

AR is a great way for tech creatives to experiment with and develop their skills. Many predicted that it would be something that we would see utilised within influencer marketing a lot more, too. However, there are certain campaigns that would successfully allow for authentic use of AR, but also many that thrive for realness, rather than technological creativity. 

In this case, using AR to create a virtual trainer try on for a big name brand such as Nike, as a great addition to the campaign. As Nike is a largely trusted brand, consumers know what they’re getting in terms of quality with the trainers, but may not have the finances or resources to go out and try on multiple shoes. This is where AR is great, as consumers can visualise a style before they commit to a purchase, and consumers are also more likely to take a risk when purchasing a material product, such as clothing. It could certainly be the future of social commerce. 

Although, there are certain campaigns in which reality and authenticity are needed, and despite it being creative, AR does not have a place. For example, campaigns based on mental health, or skincare are well received by consumers when they know they can trust the influencer doing the campaign, and in turn, trust a product they’re promoting. 

There is some extremely creative technology development that has gone into creating beauty filters and virtual influencers, for the most part, providing entertainment and allowing consumers to get involved with features on different platforms. Though if you’re on the market for a new product to clear your blemishes, or you want to understand how to tackle feelings of anxiety, consumers want to be able to turn to people they know are real. 

Trust over creativity 

Virtual influencers cannot provide authentic support, and AR filters will reduce consumers’ trust – we know this, as the ASA has ruled that any filter alternating the effect of a beauty product must be disclosed. 

Therefore, although the way AR is developing is forward-thinking and future-driven, within influencer marketing, there is always going to be a huge space for untouched, real content.

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