Advertising Got There First

Phantom 3D objects floating in the air, visible only through the portal of your phone? An urban game played with same? Mobile ad boutique The Hyper Factory seems to have got there first. Their recent ad campaign for Nike used image recognition of printed targets (on posters, in magazines, on the ground of a football field, etc.) to superimpose hovering shoes over the real world.

This is, without a doubt, creative. But looking at it strictly as a creative work, it is severely hamstrung by the fact that the objective is to sell shoes. My guess is that it will be games that push the aesthetic and technical boundaries of this technology. We’re going to see strange reality-fantasy hybrids that will make World of Warcraft and Second Life look old, boring, and flat. Then again, it might also make LARPing socially acceptable, and do we really want that?

And after the technology is ubiquitous and cheap, we’re going to use it to put deep labels on our environment in real time — this is already starting with a sort of Wikipedia for objects. If you’re one of those people who feel sorta blind without your smartphone, just wait until it’s built into your sunglasses.

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