Terrifying Swarms of Mosquitoes Help David Beckham Fight Malaria with Facebook AR Effect & Billboards « Mobile AR News :: Next Reality

Former soccer star and current celebrity David Beckham has the augmented reality abilities of Facebook and Instagram as allies in the effort to eradicate malaria from the world.

The “Malaria Must Die So Millions Can Live” campaign launched earlier this year with Beckham as its spokesperson, but, the campaign is kicking up activity with augmented reality experiences and outdoor advertising this week, concurrent with the 74th United Nations General Assembly meetings, taking place Sept. 23-27 in New York.

(1) The Facebook AR experience, (2) differs slightly from the Instagram version. Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

Throughout New York, 2,000 digital billboard ads will feature Beckham enveloped in a swarm of mosquitos. Also, creative studio Powster provided its talents pro bono to create an augmented reality camera effect with Facebook’s Spark AR platform.

The effect covers the user’s face in a terrifying cage of virtual mosquitos, which can only be dissipated by “speaking up.” When the filter detects speech using sound recognition, the swarm dissipates. But it returns when the user is silent (though some users may be hesitant to open their mouths at the risk of swallowing a bunch of mosquitos).

The AR experience is available via Instagram and Facebook as well as digital displays powered by Quividi and located in strategic locations in New York, including Hudson Yards and Westfield World Trade Center.

“We’re extremely proud to have the opportunity to support such an important campaign,” said Abi Smith, creative director of Powster, in a statement provided to Next Reality. “Working with Spark AR and Quividi provides a fantastic platform for us to innovate and share the message to ‘Speak Up’ with audiences on and offline in a way that is both playful and meaningful. It’s exciting to employ our technical expertise to create a really cutting-edge experience that will capture attention and help amplify the Malaria Must Die message around the world.”

The augmented reality experience mirrors the message of the campaign, which calls for vocal action to reduce the impact of malaria worldwide. Earlier components of the campaign include a video of Beckham speaking out against malaria in nine languages (thanks to some AI-generated wizardry) and a user-generated content tool on the campaign’s website encouraging visitors to record messages of support.


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