Huge’s 2018 Holiday Gift Guide Comes With AR Easter Eggs

Huge, the Brooklyn based ad agency is using AR to breath new life into traditional print media.

Ever find yourself struggling to pick that perfect gift for your friend, a co-worker, or your favorite family member – such as your cat? Sometimes we need some help. That’s when your favorite website or publications annual gift guide comes in handy.

They are always chockfull of awesome ideas put together by a bunch of gift experts. If you decide to go with one of their suggestions you might find yourself – years from now – telling the epic story about the time you saved Christmas when you gave that special someone that perfect gift.

To make this year’s gift guide extra special, the gift giving experts over at the Brooklyn based ad agency Huge Inc. have come together to curate a holiday gift guide that goes beyond traditional photos and descriptions. The award-winning ad agency has mashed traditional print media with new technology by infusing the pages of their Magenta Holiday Gift Guide with cool AR easter eggs placed throughout the printed catalog.

Employees worked hard to put together a great list of gift suggestions that you could give your loved ones – and of course there are suggestions of gifts you could give yourself. Cool gadgets such as the Oculus Quest (due in Spring of 2019), GoPro Hero 7, Beyerdynamic Amiron wireless headphones, and a Litter Robot that helps clean up after you cat does their business, are just a few of the examples found in this year’s gift guide. Finding each AR easter egg will require you to download an app that you can access through the catalog, and scan each page to see what pops out.

Immersive media has grown over the last couple of years. The New York Times and the USA Today are just a couple of examples of how AR is changing print media, and the idea is expected to grow as AR and VR become more popular with the masses.

AR has proven to be a big sales booster for retailers. “61% of shoppers prefer stores which offer augmented reality experiences. If shoppers could experience product in AR, 71% would return more often and 40% would pay more,” according to Retail Perceptions. So why not bring that magic to publications such as a catalog or a holiday gift guide?

Before creating their big AR holiday gift guide, Huge actually ran a test with its zine over the summer to gauge how much work would go behind putting together an AR-enhanced publication, as well as how readers responded to augmented content. In an interview with Adweek, Derek Fridman, Huge’s chief design officer, talked about how the project started with a small team using AR for the first time, “It’s part art project and part science experiment.”

Huge measured the results of their AR zine experiment by looking at both the number of people who downloaded the app needed to access the zine’s AR content, as well as the total time spent using the app the scan pages. Fridman didn’t share exact details of their summer project, but did say that the results varied; obviously initial findings were positive enough to convince Fridman and his team to move forward with their gift guide.

When building the AR piece of the gift guide, Huge used Unity and Apple’s ARKit for each individual experience. To help speed up the process the second time around, they actually took the work from their summer zine project and swapped out the triggers to reflect their gift suggestions, then added brand new content to reflect the gifts. The longest part of the entire process, according to Fridman, was getting Apple to approve their app.

Finding each AR easter egg will bring up a unique take on how individuals on Huge’s team envisioned what AR experience should be like. “We didn’t give anyone any direction other than to make something,” said Fridman.

The team took that vague instruction to heart and really went wild. Some of the unlocked AR content built within Huge’s gift guide shows the company’s VP of business strategy doing football moves in front of his television and using his watch to check his heart rate. You can also find sped-up footage of a “Golden Girls” puzzle being put together by a bunch of Huge employees. Perhaps you may find an AR experience that involves a cat! Many employees even used personal stories to help describe particular products.

The total amount of augmented easter eggs buried within Huge’s Magenta Gift Guide in total is unknown, but if you are lucky enough get your hands on one of the limited edition physical copies – only 100 made –  you’ll have a great time flipping through each page seeking them out.

If you’re in need of some last minute gift buying help, no need to fret. There is a digital version of Huge’s 2018 Magenta Gift Guide available online.

Image Credit: HUGE

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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