Augmented reality Christmas catalogues


Having managed thus far to escape the digital world, Christmas catalogues are finally coming to life. Several companies are following Amazon‘s example this year and using augmented reality to enhance their print publications, making the family event that children look forward to even more magical.


Finding a Christmas catalogue in their mailbox is often a very exciting time for children, who proudly slip it under their arm to be explored later when writing their letters to Santa Claus. The Christmas catalogue may be a commercial tradition that has been perpetuated by many brands – even when efforts are being made to reduce costs -, but it is indeed a true family tradition and one that has played a central role in many homes for many years now. More than just another brochure, it is in fact seen as a magazine in its own right that the little ones can flick through, eyes wide with amazement, and carefully cut out.




Amazon newly brings to life into the Christmas catalogue

Amazon has been printing off a brochure of around 10 pages’ worth of its products and sending them to its Prime customers in the run-up to Christmas for a number of years now, improving its content year upon year (with the notable addition of stickers) until it became fully connected. The bankruptcy of Toy’R’Us in 2018 and the consequent absence of its legendary Christmas catalogue gave the e-commerce giant a great opportunity that it grabbed with both hands. Amazon’s Christmas catalogue is now one of the centrepieces of its business action plan and one of the few printed materials that the platform produces, and this is where the paper version enriched with augmented reality really comes into its own. Entertainment, a guided tour in the company of Santa Claus… this is true digital magic at work!




The rise of the augmented reality Christmas catalogue

Walmart, Target and even Carrefour, have also released augmented reality Christmas catalogues, making them a focal point of their marketing operations and one that can even be extended in store, going beyond simply presenting the products available from the brand to encourage readers to pop in to the store and see what’s on offer. In the first such publication released by Carrefour alone, toys are brought to life in 3D, Santa Claus addresses the children and the whole thing has a really fun vibe. Having downloaded the Carrefour AR (Augmented Reality) app developed by Wonder Edition, adults and children alike can enjoy seeing their catalogue come to life as they write their shopping lists.


At a time when parents are keen to limit their children’s screen time, there is certainly room for criticism of this approach, but there is nothing gratuitous or artificial here about using augmented reality to keep the Christmas magic alive!