SpongeBob SquarePants Augmented Reality! close

Lauren Macnab
Lauren Macnab
In Site Launches, Online Innovation
23rd July 2009

Exciting times here at Codegent, we've just completed and launched a new website for Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon presented us with an interesting challenge, they needed a website that could showcase their on-air summer content. This content consisted of (amongst other things) a competition to find SpongeBob Square Pants' biggest fan. Here's an example of one of our favourite entries so far. The other main part of the site was TEENick, a magazine style show aimed at teenage girls.

The challenge came in finding a way to create a cohesive site that would encourage the 2 different audiences to engage and interact with these seemingly disparate elements.

We wanted to incentivise people to travel through to the different parts of the site so we designed 5 SpongeBob cards that we 'hid' on various pages. When a user found a card they could click on it and were then given the option to download and print the card. 4 of the 5 cards incorporated a marker which, when printed and held up to a webcam, would display a 2D message from a character from SpongeBob. Finding the fifth card unlocked an augmented reality, 3D SpongeBob which the user could interact with by pressing their space bar. You can view a demo of the SpongeBob AR here:

These cards helped us to tie the site together and to generate page impressions, however we didn't want to incentivise people to travel through the site if we couldn't be sure that they were engaging with the content, so we constructed a points system that rewarded good behaviour, such as commenting, rating entries, entering the competition etc. Points are accumulated during the visit and when you reach certain milestones you unlock Nickelodeon 'goodies'.

We also wanted the user to feel a bond with the site which is why we added a badge creator. This allows users to create a badge with their unique username and design, this badge is displayed whenever they leave comment on an article. Here's an example of the badges in action.

The competition has had hundreds of entries and from the stats we've got so far, page impressions and time spent on site is looking good. The augmented reality aspect has had great feedback in terms of how it looks but also how it gives the user something new, exciting and valuable in exchange for their time and attention.

Definitely something we want to do again soon!