June 13, 2021

Step into Augmented Reality Technology to Succeed, AMC: Advice from an Investor

As an investor (and customer) with AMC, I couldn’t help but notice that they don’t seem to be employing augmented reality technology, in both their lobby and theater spaces, to make the experience more interactive for customers, and ultimately to make AMC more successful in the business (so that my stock goes up). Check out some of these ideas, AMC, if you are listening!

Augmented reality overlays visually interactive elements over your real environment, which you view through your phone’s screen. Think of the mobile phone game Pokémon Go or how many online stores offer a virtual furniture preview.

AMC should really begin enhancing their theaters by analyzing the lobby space, where guests spend the majority of their time waiting either to get into a movie or while in line to get snacks. Arcade games unique to the AMC theater chain or paired with current showings. Virtual AR games supported by individual user devices and the theater’s wi-fi network can substitute for physical (old-school) arcade machines, which can break and/or quickly go out of style.

Games chosen should be done with careful thought and include playtesting with feedback, if possible. For example, an article by Business Wire (https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180220006051/en/National-CineMedia-NCM-Brings-Augmented-Reality-to-Movie-Theaters ) details three examples of AR being developed by company Noovie for use in a movie theater. “Cinevaders” encourages patrons to shoot lasers at aliens invading the theatre. “Emoji Escape” has patrons catching emojis throughout the lobby space. Unfortunately, these two ideas are not really viable due to the safety of patrons looking down at their phones while moving in a lobby possibly filled with other patrons to play the Emoji Escape game; and as for Cinevaders, it’s not a socially sensitive idea to have people shooting anything while inside a theater. Finding these weak points in game design can often be observed through playtesting.

Also described in the article is the game Munchie Mania. This AR game is a great idea for AMC to incorporate, and doesn’t pose safety concerns like the other ideas. The description from the creator of the game, Noovie: “Munchie Mania – Who doesn’t like popcorn at the movies? Players will toss flying kernels to fill up their individual popcorn bucket – and you can play at home!”

Some other ideas for incorporating AR (and interactive technology) into AMC theater spaces:

  • Tell stories about your brand or the origin of your products. Maybe you have an interesting story about one of your founders that you can share or about the origins of the movie camera and projection screens.
  • Offer post-event access to event content. Try an AR photo booth that can be shared later or the ability to share game stats or replays.

  • Offer a tour, a model, or an experience. You could create new experiences seasonally, to match happenings in popular culture or scientific happenings (like space exploration), or to compliment marketing promotions.
  • Engage all five of their senses: this idea could go along with marketing or seasonal promotions. AR content, music, seasonal food choices could all have some more thought and variety offered throughout the year.
  • Give theater patrons unique opportunities to share on social media including photos, short videos or badges of earned game achievements/rankings. Connecting your AR or other fun technologies with social media adds to patron excitement and also acts as free referral advertising for AMC.
  • Partner with a 3D space mapping technology company like GILDA (https://gilda.co) for precise location mapping of the inside of theaters and lobby spaces. This ensures that AR interactions are triggered in the correct locations, encouraging a more accurate and seamless guest experience.
  • One last technology idea - that’s not AR - is to incorporate ordering food through an app with qr pickup, similar to the pizza pickup portal used by the Little Caesars pizza chain for hot food items.

Try a few of these ideas or try them all, AMC, and you’re sure to increase customer satisfaction and your overall profits.

June 7, 2021

And Now For Something Different: Model Diversity in the Peloton TV Commercial 'At Home Motivation'

**Update to Article - only five days after this was published, the commercial was removed from Youtube, that's why the video is missing below... perhaps they listened?**


Have you seen the 2021 Peloton bike commercial advertisements on TV yet? In the era of body image diversity, this commercial is a total marketing FAIL. Read on to hear why this commercial irks me everytime the upbeat tune from Beyoncé starts to play.

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the newest Peloton bike commercial (released Spring 2021) which features the song 'At Home Motivation' by Beyonce. On an interesting side note, superstar singer and entrepreneur Beyonce has partnered with Peloton to create a series of custom workouts lead by the famed singer... Here's the commercial:


What strikes you most while watching? What do you notice about the people chosen to represent at-home exercise participants? Watching it at home many times now, I've noted a few things, both positive and negative, regarding the diversity with the models Peloton has chosen to represent regular people participating in home exercise using Peloton’s bike equipment.

Let's start with the positive attempts at model diversity - - there does appear to be many different ethnicities and ages displayed in the commercial for the at home exercisers. The Peloton trainers represented are also somewhat diverse in ethnicity and age. That's where the diversity attempts end.

Now for the negative - -

What bugs me the most is that every model representing at home exercise participants appears to be in really great physical shape. As I watch, I’m thinking “why do these people need to work out, they’re already fit?” Maybe Peloton is only for people who are already fit? And the only girl working out at home is in great shape, far from the average US women’s size (which I think is a size 16). The commercial really leaves me feeling out on the Peloton fitness trend.

Even the older gentlemen doing sit-ups at the end appears to have a little tummy, but upon second look, you’ll notice that he is quite fit and might have the bulk due maybe to a layered shirt.

My point isn’t to pick apart the models used (because these are real people too) - but to ask that companies consider body shape as a diversity item on their checklists. The lack of diverse body shapes is kinda depressing to watch. Every time I hear Beyoncé’s catchy tune start, I sigh and wonder why the marketers could be missing such a relevant issue in today’s world. Discussions about diversity, specifically body image, are everywhere.

And while we’re on the diversity checklist: I didn’t sees any models (both trainers and at home fitness participants) that had differing abilities, such as sight loss, limb loss, or mental illness. How about including some diversity here, which could recruit customers that are veterans, elderly, or somehow “different” than the norm Peloton is currently portraying in their commercial.

What about income diversity? Perhaps criticizing for income diversity is a reach, since Peloton equipment is at a high price point - and requires a monthly subscription that's more than most cellphone planes or a gym membership at a Youfit or Planet Fitness.

I digress, back to body shape -

For an example of a company that does a commercial right for inclusive fitness, check out the brand new commercial for Echelon Fit, sponsored by the Saved by the Bell character, Mario Lopez. The commercial uses very diverse models, looking like real people with many different body sizes and types. Here’s the most recent (2021) Echelon Fit commercial:


Peloton, please consider choosing models that represent a more diverse audience in your next commercial attempt.

Beyoncé, how could you put your name on something that leaves out so many types of people? I am both surprised and disappointed that you would so irresponsible with your sponsorship.


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