How print and social media can go wrong

I spotted an article on a new campaign by an Australian publishing group : News Australian Sales, around their new augmented reality iPad app campaign. At first it sounded pretty exciting. The campaign was launched with the aim of bringing to life the experience of reading a Sunday paper. Something I still do, being pretty much the only time I buy an actual physical newspaper. But looking at the video below, it looks like a pretty misguided campaign :

Now while augmented reality can be a great opportunity for the print industry, the concept of this campaign seems completely lost. Surely if I’ve gone to the effort of downloading an app and scanning the paper on my iPhone or iPad I want something a little bit more exciting than….the paper that is already sitting in front of me? Confirmed by the fact that I have to have a copy to scan it and launch the augmented reality experience in the first place.

Sure, they may have a few nice features such as carousel display, there is something a bit wrong about an app that sells itself on being able to recreate the real-life experience of a product you already have in your hands. Focusing on features such as a 3D masthead for titles seem to be more about the gimmicks than actually adding anything to the reading experience.

My particular problem with this campaign is that it doesn’t seem to have been executed with an understanding of the user experience. They have focused on Sunday titles, which by nature are part of a ritualistic experience. Ask anyone and they will have their own routine for reading the Sunday papers (mine is over breakfast, on my own, in a nice quiet cafe with my phone nowhere to be seen). Trying to inject a clunky iPad experience in there doesn’t feel quite right.

What do you think? Is this more about features for the sake of it, or is this a step in the right direction for publishers?

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