With all the talk about augmented reality and 3D lately, it's only natural that the advertising folks jump the bandwagon. While among the first to take advantage of this tech, Best Buy's advertising team really missed the point.
I'm the sort who gets excited about 3D, augmented reality, and holograph technology really quickly (I still dream of having a holodeck one day), but Best Buy's 3D ad experience left me disappointed.
The principle behind Best Buy in 3D is that you go to the website with the latest Best Buy flyer in hand and point it at your webcam in order to see the advertised gadgets pop out in the on-screen video. That's great in theory, but the latest flyer only has one single laptop with the 3D experience triggering icon on it. Even such a limited selection wouldn't be so bad if it actually worked properly.
As you can see in the video, the Best Buy in 3D website is prone to lagging and inconsistent in how and when it picks up on the 3D icon. Sometimes it would allow me to rotate the laptop and other times the same motion would cause it to close and disappear back into the flyer. Since the idea is to have multiple advertised gadgets with similar trigger icons, I tried out holding two flyers up to see what happens. Apparently this confused the site and resulted in a funky back-and-forth jump between the two laptops. Could anyone actually aim a flyer well enough to select the correct icon if something like this happens? For that matter, wouldn't attempting to rotate a gadget result in another being selected? Even if you manage to select the gadget you want, what's the point? Seeing it in 3D with funky sliding effects doesn't give you any new information such as comparable size.
Despite all my whining and moaning about Best Buy in 3D, it actually has the potential to create a whole new user experience when it comes to online shopping. If instead of a flyer filled with trigger icons that might conflict with each other the user was given a card-sized doodad to use as a tracking point, things might be different. The user could select which gadget he or she wants to play around with through the website and then use that doodad to manipulate the 3D image. Along with that the 3D images should be life-size and without the weird pop-out effects. Add a slightly more stable interface and ta da! No more fretting about whether that new laptop will make you look fat or if that TV would be too big for the wall.
Check out the Best Buy in 3D website and see if you can make it do something fun or funky. You can capture the results with an application like Camtasia and upload the results to the comments.