Tag Archives | Intuitive

Let Me Touch It: A Recipe For Successful Magazine Ads In A Digital World

Sometimes, I wonder if advertisers are even trying.

Digital magazines have only existed for a few years, but I don’t think I’m asking too much when I say that if you’re going to advertise in one, you should at least be able to utilize the most basic functionality that this platform provides to help you tell your story.

I’m reminded of how poorly most advertisers have adapted to digital magazines as a medium every time I see this ad from Kohler:

Kohler Flipside

The ad is for the Flipside, a four-sided faucet with ‘Flipstream Technology’ that gives you four unique spray patterns depending on how you flip the faucet head.

Seems like a pretty interesting product, right?

Since this was a digital ad in a digital magazine, I immediately tried to grab the faucet head and ‘flip’ it to see the other three spray patterns. The result of my flipping was… nothing. The ad did absolutely nothing, and had no response to my touch input.

Ok, I thought, there are four spray patterns, and the iPad that I’m holding has four sides, so maybe all is not lost. Maybe it was too difficult to program the ad so that the faucet head rotated with my finger, but maybe it’ll show off each of the four spray patterns as I rotate the device. So I turned my iPad 90 degrees, and low and behold, the ad changed!

Kohler Flipside Digital Magazine Ad

Perfect, I though. Now we’re getting somewhere! I’ll just give it another rotation and…

Kohler Flipside

Crap. There are four ways to hold the device, and four possible spray patterns, but no matter what you do, you can only view two of those four patterns.

Even discovering the second spray pattern is left to chance, since the ad gives no indication that you should rotate it to see more images. I poked and swiped and tapped at the screen, but nothing unlocked the other two images. It will recognize portrait mode, and show one pattern, and it will recognize landscape mode, and show another pattern, but spray patterns three and four are apparently left to the imagination.

(Maybe the other two spray patterns just aren’t that good, and Kohler doesn’t show them on purpose?)

The end result is that I’ve gone from an interested consumer that’s willing to touch and play with the product, to a frustrated consumer that’s put off by the experience, and put off by a brand that didn’t take the time to create an ad that would show off its product’s main feature in an intuitive and engaging way.

To make matters worse, I would have been better served by a static ad that was just divided in fourths and showed four images of the four spray patterns. Or a carousel that scanned through static images on a timed rotation. Or hell, even a YouTube embed that showed a :15 demo of the faucet turning from spray pattern to spray pattern would have been more informative than what Kohler came up with.

It should also be noted, I wasn’t viewing this ad in the latest issue of US Weekly. This ad appeared in an issue of Wired, a magazine that caters to the early adopter crowd. And I have to imagine that Kohler bought the ad in Wired because they felt that the Flipside faucet would appeal to this digital, tech savvy audience.

And by all accounts, it should. It certainly looks the part. And I’m sure the different spray patterns are useful for different situations, and nicely integrated into a new and innovative product. But you’d never know by just looking at the ad, since you’re only able to poke at a static image of two spray patterns, and can’t find out more information without spending time searching online. (Which I’m not likely to do, given the fact that I’m not currently in the market for a new faucet. However, like most people, I’m always open to be wow’ed by something that I didn’t even know I needed, and could have found myself in the market for a new faucet if this ad had showed me all the things that I was missing with my current faucet in a quick and easy way.)

So what should advertisers keep in mind when designing a successful ad for a digital magazine?

  1. If your audience is in an environment where they want to touch and play with things, make sure your ad can be touched and played with.
  2. If your ad needs to be rotated or scrolled or tapped or engaged with in any way, make sure to highlight that fact in an obvious way. Don’t leave it up to chance.
  3. Don’t hide important information behind confusing and non-intuitive interactions.
  4. There are many ways to tell the same story, and sometimes, simpler is better. Don’t let novelty get in the way.
  5. Digital magazines are the future. If you’re not ready to produce ads for them, then you better get ready soon.

Best practices for digital magazine ads are hard to come by, since the medium is still so new. With that said, the opportunity should not be ignored, since this new format gives advertisers a whole new set of tools to tell stories in immersive and engaging ways.

IKEA To Embrace Change And Decorate Oval Office For Obama

IKEA Embrace Change Oval Office

Everyone is trying to capitalize on Obama-mania, but IKEA’s Oval Office – Embrace Change campaign may be the best attempt yet.

The microsite features a pixel art Oval Office and various pieces of IKEA furniture that you can use to create your ideal Oval Office, and each piece links to real version in the IKEA store, and can be customized with the same materials and options as the real item. Then you simply place, rotate and arrange the Oval Office as you see fit to create your very own version of Obama’s new home. Once you’re done, you can use the site’s built-in Send to Friend functionality to share your room with others, or you can even send it off to the White House and make your voice heard. Three winning designs will even receive a $1,500 Giftcard to make their dream Oval Office come to life.

IKEA Union Station

In addition to the microsite, IKEA is making its presence known during Inauguration Week with a mock IKEA-ized Oval Office built in Washington DC’s Union Station as well as their College Park and Woodbridge stores, and a mock motorcade that will tour through the city with various pieces of IKEA furniture strapped to the roof to simulate the Obamas moving in. Visitors to the Oval Office in the Union Station can sit in the (mock) most powerful chair in the world, and can even sign a guestbook welcoming the Obamas that will be delivered to the First Family once they’re settled in. Of course, should the Obamas or the newly appointed White House designer Michael Smith decide to go with any of IKEA’s suggestions, they’ve offered to furnish any room in the White House with IKEA furniture free of charge.

Though the site has a few shortcomings, the overall idea is a good one, and it’s a quick and fun way to interact with IKEA’s catalog in a very unique way. Now we just have to wait and see if Barack and Michelle take America up on any of their suggestions.

The Good:

  • Pixel art Oval Office turns IKEA shopping into a game.
  • Send to Friend and Send to White House functionality increase the virality of the campaign.
  • Sweepstakes rewards longer and more involved participation.
  • Mock Oval Offices and Motorcade extend the campaign offline and into the eyes of a new and broad audience.

The Bad:

  • Automatically resizing a user’s browser window is intrusive and annoying.
  • Lack of a grid, clear boarders and a wide range of options make the virtual Oval Office difficult to navigate.
  • Vague Send to White House functionality makes the option less intuitive.
  • No Social Bookmarking buttons or Social Networking extensions to further increase the virality of the campaign.

The Future:

  • Mini games and quick hit campaigns capitalize on hot trends and allow users to interact with a company’s catalog in a fun and intuitive way.

IKEA Oval Office – Embrace Change

Augmented Reality Will Change Advertising

Vuzix Wrap 920AV

In the spring of 2009, Vuzix will release a product that could forever change the way we think about advertising: the Wrap 920AV.

Vuzix is a leading manufacturer of video eye wear for the consumer, medical, and defense & industrial markets, and their Wrap 920AV sunglasses will be the first to feature ‘see-thru’ Quantum optics technology, allowing you to see the world around you in addition to the screen in front of you. With this new technology, as well as with their optional six degrees of freedom head tracking system and stereo camera accessories, augmented and virtual reality experiences will be possible that redefine the way we interact with information.

Since this is all very conceptual, perhaps it’s best to look at a few examples of how this new technology could be used in the world of advertising. Previously, we looked at Mini’s Augmented Reality Magazine Advertisement, and how it allowed consumers to interact with a 3D model of the Mini vehicle using existing technologies that almost every new computer owner has access to. While this was great for demonstrating proof of concept, there was still a disconnect between holding the magazine in front of a webcam and then moving the magazine around to view the Mini from different angles, and actually interacting with the Mini as if it were a physical model.

Vuzix Wrap 920AV Accessories

Now imagine viewing that same advertisement, but through a pair of the Vuzix glasses. By using the stereo camera attachment, each screen in the Vuzix glasses would be a live video of what was located directly in front of the glasses, and because you could see around the video screen as well, it would blend into your field of view, adding to your overall experience in a very natural way, rather than removing you from it. Thus, what you would see in front of you would appear to be the ad as if you were looking at it with your very own eyes, but you would actually be seeing a video of the ad being relayed through the cameras.

Unlike your own eyes, the cameras would be feeding through a computer, and that computer could then display a 3D model of the car into your field of view using the screens in front of you. Now though, instead of moving the magazine around to interact with the augmented reality, you could simply move your head around to view the car from different angles as if you were looking at a physical model of the car. Want to look inside or see the car from a different angle? Just move your head as if the car really existed. With almost no learning curve, it would be a very natural and intuitive thing to do.

What separates augmented reality from actual reality though would be the ability to quickly and easily change any part of the car to suit your taste. Want to see how a different set of wheels would look with your favorite color of paint? Just click, and the new wheels would instantly appear on the 3D model. Taking the idea even further into the future, now imagine that you can control the 3D model on your desk using your keyboard. Instead of just viewing the car from different angles, you can now drive it around your desk like a video game, interacting with it as if it were a real toy in front of you.

Wrist Watch

For another example, imagine a watch company that creates an augmented reality tag that can be included in its magazine ads. By simply placing that tag onto your wrist and then viewing it through the Vuzix glasses, a virtual representation of the watch would appear on your wrist. Sure, you could technically do that now by creating a paper cut out of the watch and placing that on your wrist, but with augmented reality, the watch could instantly transform into any model that the company makes. Plus, instead of just laying on your wrist like a static representation, a watch viewed through augmented reality could actually tick away like a real watch, showing the current time and giving you a very accurate idea of what the real watch would look like on your wrist.

The Possibilities Are Endless

In addition to their stereo camera accessory, their head tracking system would also allow you to move and rotate your viewing perspective forward and backward, up and down, and left and right by just moving your head in the desired direction. To see how this could change the way we think about advertising, imagine a realtor that allows you to take virtual tours of their homes from the comfort of your own home without ever leaving the couch. Or how about an auto company that lets you sit in front of your computer and view the interior of their car as if you were sitting in one on the showroom floor.

While all of the above may have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago, we’ve finally reached the point where it’s both economically and technologically feasible to create virtual and augmented reality worlds that the average person can interact with and understand. Of course, like any new technology, it’s going to need a huge amount of adoption to break into the mainstream, but considering the potential that a device like this would enable, I don’t think they’ll have a hard time convincing people to give it a try. The question is, will advertising be ready to utilize this new medium to its full potential?

The Good:

  • Augmented and virtual reality is a technology that already exists.
  • Video glasses will allow the average consumer to interact with this technology in a very natural way.
  • Price will be affordable for most consumers.

The Bad:

  • Needs a large amount of adoption to be economically feasible for advertisers.

The Future:

  • Interactive ads viewed through augmented reality glasses allow consumers to interact with virtual products as if they were physical objects.

Vuzix – Wrap 920AV

Watch Image Via Caitlinator