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Eating out is an integral part of British family life, celebrating memorable experiences and spending quality time together catching up or casually having a quick bite. Amazingly, there are 535m eating out occasions a year with kids aged 5-11 present (17% of total occasions) – and at family restaurants, there is the staple colouring paper and crayons to keep the kids busy.

As the leading low sugar soft drinks brand for kids, Fruit Shoot wanted to deliver more added value in dining experience to both parents and kids. Following the success of its ‘It’s My Thing’ global campaign, which celebrated individuality and self-expression in kids, Fruit Shoot has launched a completely new platform to enhance the experience of dining out – and replaced the standard colouring placemats, with an augmented reality (AR) app.

The It’s My Thing app features twelve game experiences for iOS and Android in a first for the soft drinks category, bringing innovation to the restaurant environment and enhancing the experience. The app is part of Fruit Shoot’s commitment to help kids discover and nurture their passions and interests.

The app works by using the child’s placemat as an augmented reality target or ‘marker’. Kids download the app to their parent’s phone, open the app and line up the phone’s camera with the ‘gaming mat’ to explore games and puzzles in different categories such as art, sport, games and music to help kids find and nurture their thing.

It’s My Thing was the first global integrated campaign from Fruit Shoot, created by iris, to show the importance of kids exploring their own individuality and creativity – outside the pressures from modern society such as academic success and peer pressure – to encourage greater self-confidence and happiness.

“We briefed iris to help us deliver more innovation for our leisure customers and increase listings for our Fruit Shoot Hydro product, whilst also continuing to hero our campaign ethos and allow kids to express themselves digitally”, says Kevin McNair, Britvic GB Marketing Director. “iris identified a genuine opportunity to link sales to digital gamification and the response from our customers so far has been hugely positive.”

Rob Leeks, Innovations Director at iris said: “Parents want to keep kids entertained between turning up at a restaurant and getting fed, but without compromising on the family interaction that handing them a phone or tablet can often take away. By using Augmented Reality, we were able to create a medium that immerses kids in a gamified experience whilst keeping them routed in the real world. It also meant that we could have multiple people interacting with the same experience simultaneously.”

iris has partnered with RamJam to develop the interactive games which will feature in popular family restaurants including Pizza Hut, Harvester and Wimpy.

“It was great fun to bring the ‘It’s my Thing’ campaign to life in AR”, explains Tom Jackson, Creative Director at RamJam. “We introduced animated fruit characters that feature in the augmented worlds to really bring each scene to life. Kids are able to paint, race through obstacle courses, solve mazes and make music with the Fruit Shoot band – all in Augmented Reality. Interactions have been made as simple as possible to keep the focus on exploring and having fun in the different games.”

New suites of games will be released each month on both Android and iOS.

The iOS App is available to download here and for Android here