The Michael Jackson ‘Scream’ AR Experience is Just As Disappointing As Every Other AR Experience You’ve Had

Michael Jackson’s Halloween themed album Scream was released last week and with physical copies, fans received an exclusive poster that would unlock an “immersive Scream AR experience like nothing fans have seen before.”  Originally I hadn’t intended on buying the album since I stream most of my music these days and only buy physical copies for exclusive tracks, but when the album was available at 20% off with Target’s Cartwheel this week, I figured I’d go ahead and grab it just to see what this AR element was all about.

Augmented reality is nothing new to me. As someone who still plays Pokemon Go! I still remember the thrill of seeing my first Pikachu sitting in my living room.  There was also that questionable usage of AR in The Summing maze at ScareLA this summer, but alas with the Jackson estate and Sony behind it I thought I might be in for a treat, especially when they describe it as being “Reflective of Michael Jackson’s own innovative thinking.” This is the guy behind Thriller, behind Moonwalker, behind the Black & White music video with Macaulay Culkin where people morphed into each other, it has to be good right? Boy, was I taken…

The Michael Jackson “Scream” AR experience does nothing more than take the artwork from the poster, convert it into 3D on your cell phone screen, animate it, and play a cut of the album’s bonus mashup track Blood On The Dance Floor X Dangerous in the background.  And when I say animate, I don’t mean the silhouette of Michael Jackson featured in the poster comes to life and starts dancing, I mean the crows and/or ravens that are prominent in all of the Scream artwork basically flock the screen.  You can see a screenshot of the poster and the AR experience below:

Michael Jackson Scream Poster and AR Experience
Left: The exclusive poster inside Scream. Right: The “Scream” AR experience

If you’re not wowed by the before and after above, that makes two of us.  An article I read recently mentioned that other “Scream” AR experiences would also be popping up via billboard and other advertising efforts, so maybe those will feature something a bit more exciting, but for now, I have to say that this experience fell flat and continues to show that marketers and developers are still struggling to find ways to make augmented reality experiences something of actual value to the fan and consumer.

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