Augmenting the mARket with Lenslist | Atomic Digital Design
Imagine that every commercial and campaign you see is enriched with an educational and entertaining layer! 🤩 Check out what AR brings to the marketing table according to Gabriel Picard – the co-founder of Atomic Digital Design and our especially inspiring guest at “Augmenting the mARket”. ⭐️🪐
Learn fundamental professional tips on how to build a team with a common idea, way of working, and purpose; what not-so-obvious opportunities Augmented Reality and the digital sphere offers… and also how they managed to attract the attention of world-famous brands and start working with them. ⚡️👾 A special approach is important for everyone… And what exactly this approach is, and what secrets are hidden in its implementation, you have to find out right here! 👀💎
Augmenting the mARket with Lenslist
Atomic Digital Design is one of the most recognisable AR agencies that are on the market right now. But everyone started somewhere – could you tell us about the beginnings of your company?
Atomic Digital Design was created in 2012 by Antoine Vu and I. At the time, we combined CG animation and video game expertises to help brands create better marketing experiences. We got started with AR by developing Games Apps. It has always been a very exciting technology for our team but back in the days it was for very small parts of a project or just for prototyping. About five years ago, we met with Snap after making a cooking tutorial with their technology. They were impressed because at that time Snap was known for making mostly face lenses. We decided to work with the rear camera and exclude the user of the experience to show another aspect of AR that can be used for educational content. Snap asked us if we were interested in becoming creative partners. Since then, we have focused our attention entirely on AR projects. Today Atomic Digital Design counts 50+ talented people and continues to grow.
Nowadays, AR gradually reaches its higher potential, bringing more people to this space. How do you think your company differs from other marketing agencies or AR agencies? What’s your secret weapon that changes it all?
We partner with Digital Marketing Agencies to help them include AR to their strategies. We are not really competitors. But if we have to compare with other AR agencies, maybe our processes are different. We’ve developed internal methodologies to build AR experiences and to help brands embracing this new ads format. We take qualitative time in client guidance and support and we’re pushing our production process to build AR at scale. That is the kind of challenge we address. Atomic is a production powerhouse, today we’re capable of delievering 300 experiences a year and we plan to grow. We work with hundreds of brands, from various industries: the big luxury, fashion brands like Hermes, Dior, Gucci, Cartier, we worked with beauty brands like NYX and Lancôme, entertainment, we augmented the concert of French duo PNL and DJ Snake, and recently we’ve developed an AR activation for Tiktok in a Parisian museum.
We want AR to become mainstream to make it an everyday reality. We truly believe that AR isn’t a tech trend, we are building the future of human digital interaction and we’re happy to welcome more people into this space.
Your portfolio has lots of world-known brands in it. NYX, Cannes, Lacoste, Dior, and Adidas are just a few examples from a wide range. Which project stands out the best out of the others?
For us there was a real breakthrough with the Adidas Unboxing project. It was for the supercourt sneakers and we created a cool dancing shoe choreography using a lot of different production techniques such as motion capture or 3D scanning. Back in the day these techniques were mostly used in the cinema and media industries and never really incorporated this way into an AR production. That was the moment we realized that AR projects could be places at the same level of complexity as any other media production.
With Lacoste Arena project we were able to bend the rules of physicality by augmenting a 10 feet high wall and making a hyper realistic crocodile appear at the entrance of the brand’s flagship.
During the Cannes Lions festival, we collaborated with Snap and Vogue to augment six showrooms that displayed renowned fashion designers’ pieces. Layering AR content to these fashion pieces was a great way to contextualise the objects, giving the users another layer of experience. During the same event, we worked on a second activation for Snap: eight AR lenses that translated the minds of eight CCO, eight macro worlds of their own with their style and vibe.
The first AR cooking tutorial for a brand called Marlette, we got noticed because we made use of the world camera in a creative way. But most importantly, at the time we took a very down to earth approach and designed the experience to provide the user utility. To us, this kind of experience is where AR is going and we will even see more and more of these type of AR usages with the launch of AR glasses.
Frankly, we had the chance to work on so many great projects but we’re just as excited about the ones in front of us
Do you have any specific dos and don’ts when it comes to leading the case at the highest level possible? Is there any advice about how to communicate with the managers and not get lost in the Big World?
As AR is still pretty new in the marketing industry, you’re gonna spend a lot of time explaining how it works. What you can do or don’t.
Leading a production has its challenges; from following the timeline to handling revisions or technicalities, it is essential to have a solid production system and smooth communication with your clients.
How does community impact the life of an agency?
What you’ve created is tremendous. The AR community is driving the trends and the standards for creation. Creators influence and inspire other creators; this is at the core of creativity.
And it works the other way around, meaning that to create a great community we got to contribute to it as well. We also want to inspire other creators, we even designed our own AR gallery that showcases our latest projects so that everyone out there can easily be inspired by what we do.
Nowadays, the most common use of Augmented Reality tools is in the marketing field, which is amazing when it comes to getting users to know about this technology. In your opinion, what other spheres of life can be developed and reinvented with AR?
Soon, we will witness a merging of our physical and digital worlds. AR will be much more prevalent in our everyday life as we move towards more spatial computing and the internet of things. We can imagine many more new domains; they can be commercial, entertaining, cultural or educational. Recently, we augmented the Louxor Obelisk in Paris to test out the Lightship feature of the 8th Wall platform. That shows that AR can create new ways to experience culture or art.
It’s a common fact that you’re all about recycling, re-use & re-start when it comes to the creation process. How, in your opinion, not giving up on something old can impact a better future in AR?
Obviously this creative process is related to the ecological context that we are all living in.
We are talking about how to be more responsible, sustainable, and we want to apply the same principles to the digital design world. So what is a responsible digital designer? It’s quite complex to answer.
More than ever the concept of “old” has to be rethought and redefined. Always wanting to create something new isn’t anymore enough we should instead focus on creating something meaningful. In the meantime we all have to challenge the concept of “new” as well.
I believe the idea of “old” and “new” in creativity is a really black & white way to describe things. As creators, we understand that it is often in the old/first ideas that lie the essence of what you are trying to do next. Creativity never stems from nothing, it is always based on a combination of things that inspired you.
We hope that you will use the information received and will be able to establish your own guidelines and principles for working in this exciting ARea thanks to our unique guest and his example of a rapidly growing company! 🙌🏻☄️
Nobody says it’s easy, but your desire and passion will do the trick. And as Gabriel said, just don’t be shy! 😊💜 Confidence and striving for new heights is a powerful force… 💪🏻