Worlds largest AR screen in London drives Abu Dhabi tourism campaign

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi) has been awarded the Guinness World records title for the ‘Largest Augmented Reality (AR) Screen’, as part of an AR ad campaign to promote the UAE capital as a world-leading holiday destination.

The campaign used the 40-foot digital billboard in London’s Piccadilly Circus, transforming the screen into an interactive augmented-reality (AR) experience, showcasing some of Abu Dhabi’s most iconic landmarks.

The screen was also been designed to allow passers-by to play a starring role in the experience. By standing near the fountain in the square, people were captured on camera and transposed on to some of Abu Dhabi’s most famous attractions, including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, wildlife haven Sir Bani Yas Island, and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, on the screen.

The interactive activation played at 10 minutes to the hour, every hour, for two weeks in early December, as part of a competition to win a trip to Abu Dhabi, with Etihad Holidays. To enter, people were required to take a selfie of themselves enjoying the augmented-reality experience, share it online, and ask family and friends to vote for the photo. The picture with the most votes won.

“The world record-breaking augmented-reality experience took over Piccadilly Lights for two weeks, showcasing the UAE capital’s most famous landmarks in a pioneering way,” said Ali Al Shaiba, acting executive director of tourism and marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi. “When conceptualising the campaign, we knew we wanted to do more than just bring Abu Dhabi’s famous sights to life at one of London’s most iconic landmarks. We also wanted to capitalise on the scale of the experience by breaking a GWR title for the ‘World’s Largest Augmented Reality (AR) Screen.”

The screen also incorporated a weather overlay that triggered weather-specific messages. “At this time of year, it is traditionally cold in London, while in Abu Dhabi the weather is wonderfully temperate. With this campaign, we wanted to encourage people to swap rainy, windy days for fun in sunny Abu Dhabi,” said Al Shaiba.