Model/Actress Brooklyn Decker’s photo is on the cover of this month’s Esquire, in case you hadn’t noticed. I didn’t didn’t notice it right away, since the arrival of the February Esquire with its rather sexually provocative cover was strategically obscured. Someone other than me (and there’s only me and my wife in the house) placed it under the current Bloomberg Business Week with its rather textually provocative cover, “Apple without Jobs.”

The Challenge

Perusing the table of contents, Esquire features a special flap on how to “read” the issue, including a blurb for fans of scavenger hunts. The paragraph describes the interactive strategy Esquire has concocted to allow readers to find more Brooklyn Decker photos beyond those in the physical magazine. The interactive steps involve:

  • Downloading a free app from iTunes
  • Going to a Barnes & Noble store
  • Locating the magazine aisles
  • Triggering the app, and
  • Pointing the phone around the store until additional Brooklyn Decker images (suitable for taking your picture with) appear on-screen, where they can be easily shared and tweeted.

In print, it seems like a lot to do, and very counter to earlier Brainzooming posts on not creating an interactive strategy that places undue burdens on your audience to engage with your brand and the how attractive simple interactive strategy can be. Five steps, including one step each in visiting both virtual and physical stores, seems onerous, even to interact with photos of Brooklyn Decker.

Is It Worth It?

Interestingly enough though, when you convert the instructions to video, as Esquire did on the video below showing the scavenger hunt in action, it just doesn’t seem like as big of a deal to clear five hurdles for a personal Brooklyn Decker photo to show your friends.

The number of hurdles aside, this interactive strategy from Esquire has several things going for it:

From what you’ve seen, what do you think about this? Would you jump over five hurdles to get your picture taken with a virtual Brooklyn Decker? Maybe you’ve gotten your photo taken with Brooklyn Decker already, so how was it? Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to see how we can help you define a brand strategy firmly tied to business yet recognizing the impact of social networking on your customers.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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7 Responses to “Brooklyn Decker Pics and Interactive Strategy from Esquire”

  1. Kelly McIvor says:

    I agree that it is a pretty novel brand experience and the video makes it almost look fun. Intuitively, however, I can’t see the typical Esquire reader being compelled enough to follow all the steps required so they can take a ‘picture’ of Brooklyn Decker and some stranger. That is, unless they are already in the B&N store. (Does the app know when the user is in a B&N store? Would it not work at, say, 7 Eleven or even at home?)

    My main critique about brands that choose to make an ‘experience’ only available to iPhone or any other single device/OS is that the vast majority of people, many of whom may really want to participate, are simply left out, alienated. Brands should really try to be as device agnostic as possible.

    • Mike Brown says:

      You bring great points Kelly. If you want your picture taken with Brooklyn Decker, you have to insert the step of getting someone to take the photo for you. Likewise, I also skipped the “go get an iPhone if you don’t already have one” step!

      I haven’t dug into the technical aspects of the app yet to understand its ability to sense the store, but since they specifically call out B&N, and the magazine area more specifically, I’m guessing there’s a device (maybe just a chip) placed in that area of Barnes and Noble to get it to work.

      Maybe we can get Nate Riggs to provide a perspective on how it works. Nate?

  2. As much as I loved that cover I am waaaay too busy to play the games the magazine set up inside. Nice try, and novel, to be sure–but I’ll just read the articles.

  3. Dean Meyers says:

    Esquire seems to have read the page on “Transmedia” to create an almost classic transmedia experience: find the clues hidden in the code, trail the story in other venues (read: other media), become a character in the story (now using augmented reality capabilities that mobile devices can offer. Movie properties tying into web sites were the first to start this concept; it’s been waiting to burst for about two years now, but print-based media has probably been the last to sign in.

    Transmedia storytelling is complex, as it takes creative forces from multiple disciplines and a wide vision to key in all of the players. Control of the “story” (as if there is now one story) bounces all over, as the most engaged content creators become the leads. This means that activity may have disappeared into a web site that serves as a hub or central to collect the material created by participants, and Esquire, in this case, may become nothing more than a curator for fresh content with its own long tail.

    It’s a brave foray into a not-so-new yet still rather uncharted territory. If Esquire can learn how to harness this and become a strong curator, and, more importantly, use it to generate income, they may have found a way to maintain their relevance to a market that will become more interested in participating as a way of interacting with content.

    And did they remember to automatically generate Facebook/Twitter posts to broadcast the interactivity?

    My quick thoughts, after having worked on a few transmedia projects that haven’t had the potentially rich resources of a venerable property like Esquire.

    • Mike Brown says:

      Dean –

      Thank you so much for your great insights on this! We’ve tweeted about getting together to talk, and this should probably be the starting topic. While Transmedia is primed to create tremendously rich experiences, I’d love to get your thoughts on the adoption curve for it. That seems to be such an important part of exploring how incredible experiences and revenue generation collide!

      Really appreciate you taking the time to offer your perspective!



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