These days any brand or campaign that can actually stand out in Times Square is doing something seriously right. Now a little known fashion brand called Forever21 is trying to get noticed, and has just launched a massive augmented reality billboard in Times Square, and get noticed they did, with some of the worlds most popular blogs picking up the story in the last 24 hours.
But not only are bloggers taking notice, the actual crowd engagement in Times Square is very high (with hundreds of on lookers and plenty of mobile pics being taken), with the augmented reality billboard using video of a model dressed in Forever21 clothes to take a virtual photo of you in a crowd (and occasionally selecting people, picking them up and throwing them into a Forever21 bag). Using spy-esk technology (that provides data on each person in the camera view), some serious computer grunt and a very HD video camera, the augmented reality software identifies and pulls out a person in real time to composite them into the interactions with the model taking the photo.
This is a fantastic way of engaging a street audience in a place over crowded with advertising, massive screens and an industry average of a 6 second view (but you’d be lucky to get that in times square). We are seeing this type of interactive billboard popping up around the world, but in the next few years, I think this will be the norm and advertisers will again need to innovate the traditional billboard into something even more engaging…