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Children's National HospitalAugmented Reality Mobile App

Experiential Marketing Case Study

Share Dr. Bear Everywhere

Since 2018, we’ve helped Dr. Bear be a shining light for the patients, visitors, and staff of Washington D.C.’s Children's National Hospital with "Light Up Dr. Bear," an experiential marketing campaign that placed internet-connected, LED-lit Dr. Bear statues across the Greater Washington Region. This season, we wanted to extend beyond the physical world with an experience that brought joy and comfort – and a little creativity– to supporters, no matter where in the world they were. The result was an augmented reality app, where hope was as close as pressing a button on your phone.

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Making the app easy to use was top of mind during the augmented reality development phase. The app had to be easy to navigate for patients in the hospital and holiday shoppers on the go, but still impactful. After several iterations in rapid prototyping we arrived at a user experience that made AR accessible to the general public in a mobile-first interface, simplifying virtual dioramas and selfies on a phone.

People who donated could take Dr. Bear with them to their favorite coffee shop, community space– or virtually anywhere in the world. Donors could take a photo (or selfie) with Dr. Bear by using the app’s camera to place an illuminated, virtual Dr. Bear figure in the frame of their favorite spots. Users could adjust placement and size, and change the bear’s color to fit whatever background it was in.

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Dr. Bear’s magical presence reached new heights and hearts in November 2023. The app launched globally, reflecting Children's National's international recognition and mission to help children worldwide. The app was an extension of Dr. Bear– creating a warm, virtual connection to the impactful work happening at the hospital.

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