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Kulturprojekte Berlin: Taking a historical journey with Facebook Augmented Reality ads

by Stephanie Boland

To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this unique immersive project took people on a virtual trip back in time with Facebook Augmented Reality ads and a Messenger experience, with 80% feeling more educated after the experience.


Bringing untold stories to life

In November 2019, Kulturprojekte Berlin, the German public service broadcaster ZDF Digital, and Facebook wanted to mark the 30-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Art installations, light projections, performances and historical exhibitions across the city, combined with digital experiences, were designed to bring the past back to life—at their historic locations—for a new generation of young Germans.


Education by immersion

The fall of the Berlin Wall was an iconic moment, but local memory of it is fading fast, and only 31% of young Germans reported feeling educated about the topic. Kulturprojekte Berlin wanted to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall and educate the younger generation about how the wall came down.


Telling tales with augmented reality and Messenger

For younger Germans, the Berlin Wall exists only in their imagination. Kuturprojekte Berlin and ZDF Digital decided to create an augmented reality journey across the city to bring forgotten, untold stories back to life at almost 40 historic locations, which were marked on an interactive map.

By looking through their phone cameras, people were able to virtually jump back in time and bear witness to events that happened on the spot they were standing. They could visit the “woodpeckers” chipping away at the wall at the Brandenburg Gate, or fill the Gethsemane Church (a key meeting point for those who opposed the East German regime) with candles. These and other effects immersed Berliners in their city’s past and reminded them what it takes to bring down walls that separate us—then, now and in the future.

The experience was enhanced by instructions posted on buildings across the city, and by stickers, booklets and flyers containing QR codes, which, when scanned, would trigger the augmented reality effects. But what really pushed the campaign forward were the video ads and Augmented Reality ads that ran across Facebook and Instagram News Feed and Stories, as well as Messenger.

Ads that click to Messenger encouraged people to visit the Messenger experience, which acted as both an educational guide to the locations and an in-depth narrator. Messenger was also the starting point of a city-wide treasure hunt that challenged people to explore all the locations and piece together a secret code to unlock a final, hidden augmented reality effect.

Many people spent time travelling through Berlin, extensively exploring all the augmented reality effects, and out of the tens of thousands joining in the experience, over 2,500 unlocked the hidden effect.


Bringing down the barriers

The inventive collaboration on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger between Kulturprojekte Berlin and German broadcaster ZDF Digital educated a new generation of Berliners about their city’s divided past. Between November 4–9, 2019, the campaign achieved:

- 70% higher message association from Augmented Reality ads among age 18–24 audiences, compared to audiences aged 25 and older

- More than 10,000 active subscribers to Messenger experience

- 80% of those surveyed in the Messenger experience felt more educated about the fall of the wall

- 5.67 million people reached

Products used

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Build lasting relationships through conversation.

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With more than 30 augmented reality filters, which we developed together with Facebook and ZDF Digital for our festival week around "30th Anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution - Fall of the Berlin Wall", people could dive into the events of 1989–90 with their smartphones in an innovative and playful way, from wall woodpeckers at the Brandenburg Gate to lighting virtual candles in the Gethsemane Church. This is also how history education works!

~Moritz van Dülmen, CEO, Kulturprojekte Berlin


Augmented Reality Marketing


Kulturprojekte Berlin