Esquire is teasing its upcoming December issue as a new “living, breathing, moving, talking magazine,” using 3-D technology and augmented reality to integrate real images and graphics with both its articles and advertisements. With Robert Downey Jr. as its cover star, the issue (to be released November 9th) features six interactive “boxes” and at least one Lexus ad in which readers can use their computers to see bonus three-dimensional features.
The Huffington Post has the report:
Hold Esquire’s December issue in front of a webcam, and an on-screen image of the magazine pops to life, letters flying off the cover. Shift and tilt the magazine, and the animation on the screen moves accordingly.
Robert Downey Jr. emerges out of the on-screen page in 3-D, offering half-improvised shtick on Esquire’s latest high-tech experiment for keeping print magazines relevant amid the digital onslaught.
According to paidContent, the issue cost upwards of six figures. Esquire’s art director David Curcurito compares it to a caveman seeing fire for the first time, but it rightfully conjures memory of Entertainment Weekly’s much-hyped, but ultimately disappointing video ad from earlier this year.
The Heart Corporation title — like all of publishing — is struggling, and though it’s high budget and forward-thinking, nothing indicates desperation like digital gimmicks and special issues. HuffPo breaks down Esquire’s recent ad slump by noting, “The number of ad pages Esquire sold in the first half of the year fell to roughly 319, down 26 percent from 431 the year before, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.”
Clearly, the magazine hopes garnering some buzz for stepping into the future is the beginning of answer. It’s ironic to realize that while the internet contributes to the downfall of the traditional magazine market, they’re incorporating surprises like a 3-D issue in hopes to get the blogs buzzing, which will in turn send people to the newsstands. Or so they hope:
But that still leaves Esquire and the rest of the business in a waiting game to see if advertisers return as the recession eases.
With all the dazzle in the December issue shown off, Granger rests back in his chair, the view of midtown Manhattan behind him out of the 21st-story window of Hearst’s glass and steel tower on 8th Avenue.
“I just hope it starts coming back soon,” he says. “It’s got to, right?”