Shapeshifter Monarch

A virtual journey through the seasons.



What we did

Mobile Apps



Shapeshifter is an iconic Kiwi band and influential force in the music industry in New Zealand and abroad. They have been heralded as a music phenomenon for their ground breaking live shows and unique blend of heavy soul with drum and bass.

The Challenge

Shapeshifter’s reputation as pioneers of modern music was built on a unique approach to electronic music which had previously been restricted to computer-based studio musicians.

This modern approach includes the incorporation of digital technologies which has earned them widespread critical and commercial acclaim.

To help achieve this status Shapeshifter underwent the development of an Augmented Reality (AR) iPad & iPhone app to promote their single ‘Monarch’.

Shapeshifter were wanting to shift away from the norm when it came to their music videos to attract a wider follower base that extended beyond their music fans. A augmented reality solution was sought as it enabled the delivery of a visual experience while still complementing the theme of the song.


Watermark – Often our partner in crime in delivering mind-blowing experiences came to us to help them execute what was a really interesting and abstract brief.

To do so we developed two iOS applications for iPhone and iPad. The apps were built using the platform Unity which powers 3D animations to be sensitive to sound and touch combined with native bridging to access core technology within iOS .

This worked to not only create a stunning visual experience but also to include a new way for Shapeshifter’s fans to connect with their band. To activate the augmented reality components within the app a butterfly marker similar to a QR code was created. The marker is available on the Shapeshifter website as well as the Monarch app itself for a free download.

The Augmented Reality app uses markers identifiable by cameras on mobile devices. When identified the Monarch app produces digitally rendered images, videos and animations creating a 3D experience. These 3D visuals are integrated among a user’s surrounding environment to create an enhanced user experience.

To align with the nature of the song the app was designed for colourful plants and creatures to come to life when the butterfly maker was recognised. The 3D animations used enable these elements to move in real time to the song resulting in a unique experience every time. This is further enhanced as they react to the touch and proximity of users.

To add a social component to the app, we developed the apps to enable users to take and share photos. Users can pan, zoom, and pause to take pictures of the Monarch elements within their own personal space. By drawing two vertical lines on the screen of the device the app captures the image being displayed. These photos can then be shared with family and friends as well as the band themselves through Flickr.


Bronze at the Best Design Awards The app speaks for itself but it was further accredited when it won at the Best Design Awards for Interactive Design. This is recognition is supported by the 4.5 Star rating on the App Store given by the public.

Successful use of Augmented Reality for commerce The use of Augmented Reality to promote ‘Monarch’ provided Shapeshifter a unique way to capture the attention of their fans and led to national interest as word of the app spread. Monarch is an excellent example of how brands and businesses can take advantage of the opportunities available through augmented reality. The use of augmented reality within the app helped Shapeshifter increase engagement among their fans and capture interest from new audiences.