November 15, 2011, 12:15 PM

Moosejaw Mountaineering gives catalog shoppers X-ray vision

An app enables consumers to see what catalog models are wearing underneath their clothes.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

The merchant again shows its quirky sense of humor by enabling shoppers to use an app to see catalog models in their underwear.

While Superman uses his power of X-ray vision purely for good, Moosejaw Mountaineering is giving its customers the superpower to be used for less virtuous reasons—namely, to see fashion models in their underwear.

A customer can download the Moosejaw X-ray App on his iPhone or Android device. He opens the app, points it at a picture of a fully clothed model in a special Moosejaw digital or print catalog, and the app shows the model in his or her sometimes risqué underwear. The customer can slowly move the smartphone up and down the body of a model and the screen and the catalog image stay in synch, showing only the portion of the body seen through the smartphone camera. This is an example of augmented reality technology, where a mobile device is used to see imagery or video in ways that are different from what is real.

The X-ray app is in line with the outdoors apparel and accessories retailer’s crazy form of marketing. It is known for its Moosejaw Madness section on its web and mobile sites, filled with off-the-wall and inane humor.

“The primary goal of the X-ray app is to increase customer engagement, getting them to spend more time with the catalog and the brand,” says Eoin Comerford, senior vice president of marketing and technology. “We also want to create a lot of buzz to expose potential new customers to the brand. We wanted to launch an app that would strengthen our brand positioning as innovative, engaging and always fun.”

Moosejaw worked with Marxent Labs to build the augmented reality app. The app uses image recognition technology to synchronize the picture of a fully clothed model in a catalog with the picture of the half-naked model stored on Moosejaw servers, explains the man behind the app, Gary Wohlfeill, Moosejaw’s creative director. The app then creates an overlay atop the image seen through the smartphone camera on top of which is placed the underwear shot, which moves with the movement of the smartphone through integration with the device’s accelerometer, which senses when a smartphone is being moved and in which direction.

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