Esquire last year used E-Ink for its “digital cover” in an effort to showcase the potential for fusing magazines and technology. Now, the Hearst publication is trying to hook readers and advertisers with an interactive print issue, the WSJ reports. Aside from featuring Esquire’s frequent cover boy Robert Downey Jr., the December issue’s pages play videos, while photos for a fashion spread contains graphics showing an animated snow flurry. Also, holding up the magazine to a web camera, and then moving and tilting it, prompts more images.
All of this is created with Augmented Technology, which mixes graphic elements superimposed over real images taken with a camera. It all sounds very gimmicky, but with one unidentified WSJ source claiming that Esquire’s use of the AR technology cost “six figures,” it’s a pretty serious promotional stunt. It’s also an example of Hearst’s efforts to create a magazine e-reader that acts more like print. For now, it’ll have to settle for a print mag that tries to resemble a website.