Some gimmicky magazine technology that may be cool one day

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports (paywall protected) that the December issue of Esquire will include some “augmented reality” features that, when held up to a video camera, will trigger some video. While the phrase “augmented reality” is about to become one of those terms you’ll get sick of hearing because it will soon mean anything, so therefore nothing, the “idea” holds some promise unlike the incredibly awful blinking cover technology Esquire tried last year.

While I have not seen the issue of Esquire and don’t know exactly what they’ll be doing, last year a German automotive magazine and Mini Cooper joined up to create something that may give you a taste of what can happen when you link up new media and old in ways that create something completely new (unlike when you try to replicate old media with new media and you end up with something stupid). I’ve embedded a video below that demonstrates how it was done.

Warning: Early iterations of these approaches will be expensive, gimmicky, silly and only-for-nerds. But somewhere down the road, they will make sense and will be used to do things we haven’t even thought of yet. Stay tuned.

A brief video about an “augmented reality” ad appearing “in” a German automotive magazine in 2008.