BirghtKite First to Bring AR Ads to US

Once every piece of data is geotagged then all manner of things will be possible: such as floating coupons in augmented reality (AR) apps. Today BrightKite announced just such a thing. The company has brought "offers" (deals, coupons) into AR via the Layar browser. According to the release out this morning:

Using the Brightkite service, users can look at the world around them through their phone’s camera to see real-time digital information on top of real-world locations. As the camera is turned in different directions, the graphics change to accommodate the lens’ movements and the user sees all their friends’ Brightkite data revealed around them. New partnerships with retailers, bars, restaurants and other businesses will allow Brightkite users to not only see Brightkite data but also nearby stores and local offers exclusive to each location. This is the first time AR has been used for an advertising campaign in the U.S. 

This is much more novelty right now than anything else. Layar is not yet widely adopted and BrightKite is somewhat buried on Layar. However deals/discounts/coupons will proliferate in mobile, including in AR environments. As I said, all you have to do is tag the coupons and then they can be "distributed" in myriad ways -- and associated with physical stores as they are in this implementation. 

Other "AR" coupon approaches: barcode scanning with competing offers presented in the results (e.g., competing store or etailer offers same TV at a lower price). In addition, you might see offers/deals when you hold the camera up in front of a business location (e.g., Yelp's monocle: free appetizer, etc.). 

AR works best right in front of a place, building, store, product as a way to get more information. However the idea that I'm going to scan the horizon looking for deals and then head to that location is unlikely. This is an early experiment that will eventually give way to specific use cases as those emerge over time.