The scene on Black Friday 2018.

Verizon Media, the ad and content creation arm of U.S. carrier Verizon, is betting big on augmented reality for ads. And it’s taking Macy’s along for the ride.

The company said Monday that it’s jazzing up its full-screen ad format, Moments, with AR — a technology that layers information or images over the lens’ view of the real world.

For instance, the ad platform now supports use of the front-facing camera and immersive or extended reality experiences — like ads that can pan 360 degrees as viewers physically move their phones around.

The choices, according to the company, unlock new capabilities for brands and retailers, with Macy’s among the first to sign up. Neither Verizon nor Macy’s have revealed the department store’s plans for the new ad tech. But Macy’s, as well as other clients, have a breadth of options now for new consumer interactions that let people check out merchandise or test products in a 3-D environment.

“Advertisers benefit from running AR campaigns against high-quality, trusted and contextual media,” said Jeff Lucas, Verizon Media’s head of North American sales and global client solutions. “It helps brands invite users in and meaningfully connect with them in a much deeper way.”   

Certainly Macy’s hopes that’s true. Like so many other major department stores, the retailer has been trying to stay relevant and gain traction with Gen Z shoppers.

The store saw a sharp cut in second-quarter net profits and adjusted its outlook downward. But Macy’s has been working hard on new approaches, with myriad initiatives spanning same-day delivery, a new, trend-focused men’s department in the New York City flagship and tests for services like self-checkout.

Altogether, it seems there’s no barrier the department store mainstay won’t cross in the effort to rejuvenate its business — including the border from real into virtual spaces.

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