A New App Uses Augmented Reality to Let Brands Write Messages in the Sky


Get ready for advertising in the skies as an app called Skrite has launched.

Users can upload drawings, selfies, photos or messages directly to the sky—and advertisers can fill the clouds with pitches for burgers, pizza, cars and more. Anyone who installs the app can point their smartphone upwards to read them.

“The sky’s not the limit, in fact, it is a barrier that must be broken,” the company wrote in a press release that was reprinted at Wired.

“We wanted to bring AR to the people,” said Skrite CEO and co-founder Rishab Jain. “Casual users shouldn’t feel augmented reality is off-limits because it seems too complicated or inaccessible. With the right interface, it’s simple to use and is a fantastic way to explore the space around you.”

Skrite is the first app to offer UGC/AR in a space that, up until now, has been used mostly by coders and developers.

BMW i Visualizer Google augmented reality

The release explains, “Skrites—the pieces of content, users upload to the sky—can only be created in a user’s current location. Skrites are created in zones, with a maximum of 25 Skrites allowed per zone. The first user to create a Skrite in a zone gets that zone named after them.”

Jain added, “This allows users to virtually own a piece of the sky, whether it be the airspace above their home, business, or any location that brings value to larger companies that can potentially use this space for advertising.”

The company calls it an “augmented reality teleportation” experience, but marketers and legal experts are concerned as messages in the skies may be ambushed by competitors—and even disrupted with AR graffiti.

“Imagine looking up at the sky and seeing every cloud crammed full of adverts. High above a fast food restaurant, a competitor has scrawled its own cheeky pitch, urging shoppers to eat their burgers instead.”

Skrite co-founder Arshia Siddique said they hope to lure big brands to this “third space”—AR—waiting to be “filled with content.”

Brands are readying themselves for the challenge and Gregor Pryor at Reed Smith, a global legal firm said, “The mischief might be endless.”

Reed Smith published a report into the legal issues associated with the growth of augmented and virtual reality technology, revealing the level of concern of ambush marketing.

“For example, a beer company sponsoring a festival might be thwarted by a rival brand using Skrite to put adverts in the sky above the grounds. “It could be really disruptive,” said Pryor.

Skrite sees this as a way to speed mainstream adoption of augmented reality wearables by reducing costs.

New Scientist continues, “One way to do this is by hitting users with targeted advertising based on data such as their current location. If ad blocking makes it into augmented reality—and researchers have already created their own prototype real-world ad blockers—then the advertisers are going to have a much bigger fight on their hands soon enough.”

The company believes Skrite is, “Offering a new way to explore the world with accessible augmented reality, Skrite is a fun and innovative alternative to stale social networks like Facebook and Snapchat. It’s the Pokemon Go-meets-social-network we didn’t know we’ve been waiting for.”

We say—Chicken Little watch out.

You can currently download the Skrite App from the Apple App Store.