Brand consultancy 8traordinary has unveiled an Instagram AR filter to help support local F&B businesses. The filter helps Instagram users pick a F&B establishment to dine at with a randomiser. This comes as the agency recognises the F&B industry is among those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with as many as 529 F&B establishments in Singapore closing down from February to April 2020, according to chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao.
Jeffrey Lim, founder and managing director of 8traordinary, said it wanted to play a part in supporting and even saving local F&B businesses while having some fun along the way. He added that creating this filter not only leverages on technology to help consumers quickly pick a choice, but also brings out Singapore's melting pot of food culture.
Lim said the agency chose to launch an Instagram filter as it is trendy, super shareable, and great for increasing brand awareness. "We also wanted to ensure this doesn’t come across like a promotion or sales but a native way of using social media instead so users would find it more appealing to share their saved stories with their friends," he added.
In a statement to Marketing, Lim said the agency is promoting the filter by creating posts and stories on Instagram, and complementing them with media budget to reach out to as many people as possible. It has also gotten the F&B establishments it partnered with to share the filter on their own Instagram channel. 8traordinary has partnered with nine local F&B businesses for this filter, namely AVOMIN, Bao Makers, Bober Tea, Da Paolo Group, KOPIFELLAS, Kueh Ho Jiak, La Lola Churreria, SOUPERSTAR, and The Skewer Bar.
According to Lim, the agency wanted to ensure different cuisines are well-represented and included in the options of the Instagram filter. The agency then chose its F&B partners based on their activeness on Instagram as well as their community size. Additionally, smaller businesses are spotlighted as they need all the additional exposure they can get.
Tay Ho Min, founder of bakery AVOMIN, said “For a startup like us, surviving and sustaining our brand during this tough time was indeed a huge challenge. With most of the crowd in the CBD area working from home, we have lost most of our sales. It is important for everyone to come together and support one another. It is also heartwarming to know that we are not alone. We are extremely thankful of all support received, big or small."
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Artificial Reality (AR) filters are gaining increasing traction in recent months. Just last week, Circles.Life launched a series of webcam filters that double as professional attire. Dubbed the “Emergency Wardrobe”, these filters allow users to get dressed for video calls without having to actually put on clothes. The filters will be available as Snapchat’s Snap camera filters on video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Google Hangouts, as well as Instagram filters on mobile devices.
Separately last month, the Singapore Tourism Board and Zouk Singapore also worked with VICE to create AR filters on Instagram. This is in line with its series of virtual parties named “Zouk Phuturescapes”, which aims to promote Singapore's offerings across the world. One of these AR filters will feature an avatar of American DJ Diplo against a 3D virtual background of Gardens by the Bay. Additionally, VICE also created virtual backgrounds of various tourism icons, which audiences can use during the virtual party.