The New York Times has launched its first ever in-article augmented reality campaign, spotlighting Team USA athletes ahead of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea.
Available within the publisher’s app, the feature allows users who are reading an Olympic-focused article to experience athletes in 3D by activating their phone cameras and pointing towards a flat surface. At key moments in the written story, the text fades to reveal an image of an athlete, including figure skater Nathan Chen and hockey goalie Alex Rigsby.
The experience is peppered with visual highlights that light up when the user walks around the virtual object. It’s a strong example of a brand nudging the consumer towards the behaviour of interacting with digital realities from a UX standpoint.
Graham Roberts, the publisher’s head of immersive storytelling, told AdWeek that it was imperative to develop an integrated approach that didn’t require downloading a different app or leaving an article to engage with – and thus, treating AR like any other piece of media consumers are used to interacting with. “There’s a whole language that needs to be learned on both sides, the producers and the consumers,” he said. “It’s almost like introducing the mouse for the first time; it’s a new way of interacting with something.”