Print ad codes use Web to promote frosh thriller

Hoping to attract a few more fanboys and gals to frosh thriller “FlashForward,” ABC has started printing bizarre codes in certain print ads for the show.

When users hold the black-and-white codes up to a webcam, the picture on their computer screen turns into a 3-D ad for “FlashForward,” featuring photos from the show. And if clicked, the pics turn into minute-plus clips from the show.

“It appears to play right out of the ad,” said Darren Schillace, ABC Entertainment advertising/marketing veep. “Once you watch all the videos, it’s a 10-minute experience. In the normal world, you’d never spend 10 minutes with a print ad.” Dubbed “augmented reality,” the experience was produced by ABC inhouse with help from its Web team.

Ads will appear in publications that target a tech-savvy audience, including Wired, Popular Mechanics and several gaming magazines. Users can also download the ad at the “FlashForward”-related website Jointhemosaic.com.

“We think it’s fun and savvy enough for the group of fanboys that are out there,” Schillace said.

The nets continue to look at ways to enhance their print ads: CBS, for example, is embedding a paper-thin video player in an ad that will appear in the Sept. 18 issue of Entertainment Weekly.

“FlashForward,” which revolves around a mysterious occurrence when the entire world blacks out for a few minutes — and witnesses the future — bows Sept. 24. Skein hails from ABC Studios.

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