- USA Today debuted an augmented reality (AR) experience as part of the lead-up to the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 24, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. "Oscars AR: The costumes and creators" gives audiences a look at costume designs from nominated films.
- Costumes from "Mary Poppins Returns," "The Favourite," "Mary Queen of Scots," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Black Panther" and "BlacKkKlansman" are featured in the Life section of the USA Today app on Android and iOS devices. The Gannett-owned newspaper worked with the designers to share stories about the costumes and the films.
- USA Today collaborated with the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, and the 27th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design team and its engineers to shoot each costume for AR.
USA Today's Oscar AR experience helps to deepen the newspaper's connection with readers by providing an experience that isn't available on a simple printed page. AR technology helps to bring the stories about the Oscar-nominated designers to life by showcasing more details about their handiwork amid the buildup to the movie industry's biggest night. The news follows last month's AR-enhanced feature from USA Today about Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, which included his audio narration about his career as a professional hockey player.
USA Today has worked to incorporate fresh mobile tech into its platforms in recent years. The publication in September started a 10-episode podcast called "The City," which used AR to tell the true story of how a garbage company with mob ties built an illegal dump in a predominantly black neighborhood in the 1990s. The narrated AR experience included 3D animation, archived photos and sound to immerse listeners in Chicago's North Lawndale area.
The newspaper in July added AR features to its mobile app to showcase U.S. space exploration and rocket launches from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. It also boosted efforts to make its app more useful for users, including adding a personalized news feed and tailored alerts. Its "My Topics" feature lets readers create a customized headline feed and an option for automatic push notifications when the publication runs new stories about a user's selected topics.
Award shows allow for brand integrations that can potentially reach millions of viewers across TV and digital channels. Dove and Oreo debuted new campaigns during this month's Grammys, and Twitter last week secured the rights to livestream the Oscars red carpet preshow.