GQ (Not So) Live!

Always great to see print to mobile technology at play, but it’s not so great when the campaign fails to deliver. Case in point, the September issue of GQ magazine, where, for the first-time ever, all advertisements and sections of the magazine’s editorial content were made interactive.

After downloading and launching the GQ Live! app, which is powered by Aurasma, a provider of  augmented reality technology, readers are supposed to be able to “view true renderings of products through 3D modeling, access behind-the-scenes video from photo shoots and runway shows, shop directly from ads, watch musical performances and much more,” as Aurasma claims in its press brief.

Unfortunately, most of the ads and editorial sections that I tried to scan did not work. Whether this was due to lighting, camera shake, focus, etc., I am not sure. Of the few ads that did work, the content played fine until I inadvertently moved my camera off the page. When this happened, the content stopped playing. I noticed, however, if I repositioned the camera and really steadied my hand the content would play again, but from the beginning, not where it had left off. Frustrating to say the least.

With the number of misses in this campaign, the question begs to be asked, was this campaign (i.e., the entire magazine) tested and, if so, how and under what conditions (i.e., lighting, viewing angle, camera shake, smartphone type, etc., etc.)? To the magazine’s marketing and creative staff, as well as Aurasma, the campaign was tested wasn’t it?

Of course, GQ and Aurasma will tout this as a win, which it certainly is from a first-time perspective, it’s just a shame that the campaign was not truly a win from the reader’s perspective. Shouldn’t readers be able to connect to the intended content 100% of the time, or is that asking for too much? Instead of rolling the technology out across all ads and a great deal of the editorial, perhaps a smaller test study should have been done.

It would be interesting to hear not from the magazine, but from the advertisers, as to how much traffic they got and if their campaign objectives were met, whatever they might have been (e.g., product page views, coupons redeemed, products purchased, etc.).  

(Thank you, Adam)

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