Reinventing Nepalese Festivals with AR Filters
Esfera | Nov 2021
Bhai Tika, the most cherished day of Tihar, is celebrated on the premise of love, puja, beautiful hues, flowers, and delicacies prepared especially for one’s brother. The merry day perfectly wraps up the festival of lights with feelings of love and renewal of the brother-sister bond. However, for some, Tihar is no longer as shiny as it once used to be. With many Nepalese now choosing to work and live abroad, many brothers are left with empty foreheads and countless sisters have no one to put tika on.
Technology has thankfully shown to be a two-way street. While the abundance of pictures of families enjoying the festival together on social media feeds heightens the sense of loss, these same platforms are also giving people many options to have upgraded virtual experiences with their loved ones.
At Esfera, our team always strived to create novel and memorable experiences for our audience. As the festivities of Dashain and Tihar were approaching, we were brainstorming different ideas for the social media marketing campaign of the company. Aiming to create a campaign that went above and beyond the typical ‘Happy Dashain’ and ‘Happy Tihar’ posters, we decided to experiment with AR marketing campaigns.
Our first experiment started with a Dashain AR filter released on Facebook and Instagram. The filter was well-received among our company’s audience, friends, and family. The filter went beyond our usual reach and became successful in receiving thousands of captures on the social media platforms.
After receiving unprecedented love for our Dashain filter, we wanted to create a more immersive and engaging experience for the Tihar campaign. That is why, in addition to the AR filter, we decided to create a collage maker that allowed brothers and sisters to create a collage using their AR filter captures and share it on social media.
We developed Bhaitika AR Filters using Spark AR and shared the filters on Instagram and Facebook that enabled people to wear the seven-hue tika of Bhaitika at the touch of their fingertips. With the filter, they could take a snapshot of themselves with the Tika and share it with their friends and followers on Facebook and Instagram.
The creation and testing of the Bhaitika AR filter was an exciting experience. Like many other brother-sister sibling duos, my brother and I have had a love-hate relationship since childhood. Even though we had endless bickering when together, ever since he immigrated to Australia, I missed him terribly during Tihar, especially on Bhaitika. That is why I was excited to try the Bhaitika filter with him.
After a little bit of convincing, he agreed to help us test the filter. While trying out the filters with my brother, I discovered that, unlike our team’s initially intended use of the filter for collage images, the filter provided an exceptionally immersive experience during video calls on Instagram.
"Tadha ko Tihar" AR Campaign
We released the campaign via the social media channels of Esfera and our team members.
Upon release, we could see the AR campaign providing utility to many users; many were simply capturing their pictures with the AR filter and sharing on their stories, many were using the filter during IG calls, and many went ahead to use our collage generator to generate our “Tadha ko Tihar” collage frame and shared the collage on their social media.
Esfera used AR filters to engage with our audience on social media at a new level. This is just one example of how a company can leverage emerging technologies like Augmented Reality to execute novel marketing campaigns. While the use of augmented reality has already been widely accepted in medical training, retail giants like Ikea, and education, the use of AR in marketing holds an untapped potential for businesses and brands to cement their identity into the online social conscience.