Nissan teams with Toronto Star on its Layar enhancements
September 19, 2013 | Chris Powell | Comments
The Toronto Star is adding another dimension to its Thursday print edition, partnering with augmented reality technology supplier Layar to bring both content and advertising to life on smartphones and tablets.
Readers who have downloaded the Layar app will be able to experience more than 30 enhanced editorial treatments in the “Go Beyond” edition of the daily. For example, using the Layar app to scan a story about the Great Reno Balloon Race that appears on the front page of the Travel section brings up a video of the balloons in action.
Other features include a live stream providing a behind-the-scenes look at Toronto’s new Ripley’s Aquarium, as well as enhanced comics and an augmented version of the publication’s life and style section, The Kit.
The entire program required about eight weeks to assemble, said Sandy Muir, vice-president of advertising for the Star. “To enable the whole paper has taken a lot of work by the newsroom,” said Muir.
The Star has also partnered with Nissan Canada on a series of ads utilizing the technology. Nissan is the sole automotive advertiser in today’s edition, running approximately 29 Layar-enhanced ads across seven sections.
“It will feel like a total domination,” said Brian Thomas, who joined Nissan Canada as director of marketing about five months ago after previous roles with Volkswagen of America and Chrysler.
“We like to experiment and learn and apply that learning, and Layar represents one of those opportunities,” he said. “Print tends to play more of a prominent role in Canada than it does in the U.S. It doesn’t appear to be as much of a waning medium, so the thinking is how can we innovate and do more with the printed page, and this represents one of those great opportunities.”
The Layar execution will promote Nissan’s flagship vehicles including the Altima and Sentra, said Thomas, with a particular emphasis on the new 2014 Versa Note hatchback.
“We looked at it as an opportunity to make a brand statement,” said Thomas. “Rather than have 29 disconnected advertising executions, we’re attempting to have a comprehensive experience for the reader. It flows from front to back, and it allows Nissan to make a statement about our innovative spirit, about our culture, and the innovative products we’re bringing to market.”
Neil Bouwmeester, senior manager, digital marketing and social media for Nissan, said the ads offer an experience similar to that of the automaker’s virtual showroom on YouTube. “It presented a huge opportunity to extend that digital experience into print,” said Bouwmeester, “As much as it’s allowing print to become digital, it goes the other way as well.”
Nissan used the Layar app last year in an advertising partnership with Postmedia. That campaign promoted the Nissan Altima, as well as its Sentra and Pathfinder models.
Thomas said he doesn’t foresee such executions becoming the norm for Nissan, but they would be reserved for special occasions such as new vehicle launches.
Muir, meanwhile, said that it’s incumbent on publishers to continue to develop appealing advertising programs for clients. “It’s pretty clear that we need to experiment with clients and agencies, and find things that are of interest to them,” he said. “In this case, being a leader in technology is important to Nissan, so they would be responsive to this.”