Bus stops can provide shelter in the event of rain, and now they also protect you from augmented reality squid.
Surprising recent commuters at bus stops in Los Angeles and New York, outdoor media company Outfront Media used the cover of night to add Watchmen-inspired augmented reality advertising displays the company calls "liveboards."
Cameras on the liveboards showed footage of the real-world environment overlaid with a rain of augmented reality squid. The liveboards also featured a countdown timer to the show's launch last week. They were put up to accompany an array of bus posters, outdoor murals (sometimes referred to as "wallscapes"), billboards, and subway posters.
Dead squid from falling the sky are a callback to a monster from Alan Moore's 1980s comic book that inspired the series. In the comic book, a superhero (Ozymandias) teleports a giant squid "alien" into the middle of New York City to frighten people into averting nuclear war. The squid dies in the process.
It is fitting that the new virtual dead squid should land right where the comic book monster did in Moore's fictional New York. Those dead squid will also likely keep Los Angeles commuters entertained as they wait for the bus in front of the Whole Foods on Fairfax in West Hollywood.
HBO's Watchmen is the first TV series from producer Damon Lindelof after his work on the shows Lost and The Leftovers. So far, HBO looks like it has another hit on its hands since the first episode attracted a whopping 1.5 million viewers.
The HBO version of the franchise follows a masked black detective Angela Abar, played by Regina King (The Leftovers, Enemy of the State, Boyz n the Hood), who is tasked with catching a group of domestic terrorists. While it tackles historical and present issues, it throws in a few futuristic squid to remind you that you're not in Kansas anymore.
Los Angeles residents must be getting used to all this augmented reality advertising: Last month, Snapchat put Snapcodes on billboards to promote two original series: The Dead Girls Detective Agency and Dead of Night.
HBO has likewise used augmented reality via the Magic Leap One headset to advertise the final season of its long-running Game of Thrones series. In the "The Dead Must Die" experience, which was available at select AT&T stores, and later open to all through the Magic Leap World store, fans could battle one of the dreaded White Walkers in AR.
For anyone who has been following this year's HBO launches, AR is a growing trend in the promotion of the company's top-tier series, and now, even without headsets or a smartphone app, it seems AR marketing is becoming something that city dwellers can't hide from, no matter where they run for cover.
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