A Banknote That Hit the High Notes

How Samsung’s AR app turned a low denomination bill into a moment of high culture.

Technology has democratised certain pleasures that would have remained closed off to most of us in the past. In Romania, the George Enescu classical music festival is perhaps the most famous in the land – but also one of the least accessible. Not only are tickets pricey, they sell out almost immediately. As it happens, the composer George Enescu’s portrait is featured on the 5 LEI banknote (the equivalent of one US dollar). So to promote its AR app, dARe, Samsung and Leo Burnett Bucharest came up with a plan to democratise classical music. By scanning the composer’s portrait on the note, people were magically transported to an online broadcast of the concert, visible on their smartphones. So for once, you didn’t have to be wealthy to enjoy one of the country’s cultural riches.