Snatch, an augmented reality gaming app, has attracted the backing of Unilever Ventures.

The virtual treasure hunt which uses a player’s smartphone location paired with augmented reality to help players seek out and steal virtual parcels that contain prizes, was seed-invested by Velocity Capital Advisers, a UK SEIS/EIS consumer technology fund.

Snatch, says its backers, is tipped to change the way brands market to consumers. The concept is based on the idea of people snatching and stealing real prizes in their vicinity.

Already on the app are a number of top brands, including Unilever’s own Marmite, TopShop, TopMan, All Bar One, Mitchells & Butler, Just Eat, Pizza Hut Delivery, Rock Pamper Scissors and Now TV. One of the top prizes is a chance to win a year’s university fees. In just two months of operation, some 50,000 parcels have been snatched.

Snatch CEO and founder Joe Martin said: “My background as a forensic scientist ignited an interest in human behaviour – and Snatch is all about challenging our habits and preconceptions. People don’t want to be advertised at anymore and we want to challenge brands to engage with consumers in a new way – by letting them discover their products through our platform. Augmented Reality is an incredible way for gamers to engage with us as well as brands – and we are taking our audiences out of their comfort zone with our game.

“Having Unilever Ventures invest at such an early stage is a real endorsement for our idea and the team. Unilever, like us, is constantly pushing boundaries and their products are used by millions across the UK. We couldn’t ask for a better partner to invest in us and we hope that this makes others out there sit up and take note.”

Global CMO of Unilever Keith Weed said: “We’re always excited about new ways to reach and engage consumers. Everyone has been talking about gamification for years, but Snatch is one of the first games where brands are an integral part of the playing experience. Players accept us being in their world rather than us interrupting them; it’s a very flexible platform where a number of our brands can play.

Director of from Unilever Ventures Jan Harley said: “Over the past year, following the success of Pokemon GO, augmented reality has gone from a concept to a very real part of our day-to-day lives. We believe it has the power to transform the way brands are engaging with consumers. Immersing people in an interactive environment where they’re actively seeking out products and feeling the elation of winning something tangible, takes marketing to a different level. It’s an exciting period for the industry and something we’re keen to be part of.”



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