Power Rangers Get Browser-Based AR Ads Ahead of 25th Anniversary (EXCLUSIVE)

Ever dreamed of being a Power Ranger? Now you can, thanks to a new augmented reality (AR) experience that makes use of your phone’s front-facing camera to let you try on the Rangers’ iconic outfits for a selfie — and you don’t even have to install an app for it.

The new Power Rangers AR experience is part of a new ad unit launched Monday across the sites of a number of publishers. The ad has been produced by Santa Monica, Calif.-based immersive advertising startup Vertebrae, and brings AR to mobile web browsers across iOS and Android devices.

“With this campaign, we’re able to connect with fans on a new level by putting them in the helmets of the Power Rangers to unleash their inner superhero,” said Saban Brands CEO Janet Hsu. Saban Brands, the rights holder of the Power Rangers franchise, wants to use the ads to lead up to the 25th anniversary of the show’s premiere this coming August.

The goal of the campaign was to do something innovative with emerging technologies, but also reach a big audience, and not just a few early adopters, or people who own a certain phone. “We were able to custom design, produce and distribute an AR experience for fans, accessible at scale,” Hsu said.

Saban Brands isn’t the only company interested in using AR for advertising, said Vertebrae CEO Vince Cacace. “We’ve seen this huge influx of interest in augmented reality.” But not everyone wants to just bet on one horse, and develop an AR app for just iOS, or build only a Snapchat AR lens. That’s why the company built its own Javascript libraries to bring AR to web browsers on iOS and Android. “We can use the same assets across Snapchat and the web,” Cacace said.

Vertebrae started out developing ads for VR, but has found that some of the attention has shifted to AR. “AR is outpacing VR at this point,” Cacace said. Some of this is also due to the fact that it’s easier to develop a simple AR filter, as opposed to a complete VR app. “The creative side of it is less daunting,” he said.

As for Saban Brands, the company plans to do more digital promotions for the Power Rangers in the coming months. “I can’t reveal too much because we want to surprise fans throughout the year,” said Hsu. “But yes, they can expect to see more exciting digital initiatives leading up to August 28th, which is the date ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ premiered in 1993.”

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