A new cereal from Giant Food is bringing Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin to the breakfast table — and with augmented reality, Balti Virtual is adding a few slapshots to the morning routine, too.
Starting on Sept. 17, which is Ovechkin’s birthday, Ovi O’s will be available throughout the area at Giant. The honey-nut cereal will come complete with a smiling photo of the Caps’ prolific goal-scorer on the box. A portion of proceeds will go to the Columbia-based Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit which funds funding local researchers, programs and facilities.
“I love cereal and it’s a huge honor to work with Giant to make Ovi O’s and help the Children’s Cancer Foundation support kids and families in the D.C. community,” Ovechkin said in a statement about the limited edition cereal.
Along with his likeness, the cereal box can also be the venue for a game in which players control an animated Ovechkin. This augmented reality addition came to life through a partnership with Port Covington-based Balti Virtual.
The game, dubbed “Ovi O’s Slapshot,” is accessible via Snapchat. Anyone who purchases a box of the cereal can scan the box in that app. Then, it opens up to show the animated Ovechkin, ready to take a shot on goal. Users control Ovi as he pulls back, aims and shoots cereal at moving targets.
The work through the Snapchat app is a new approach for Balti Virtual. The company also has its own app, called AppAR8, which it’s used for AR activations. Designing the experience within Snapchat offers users a way to meet users in an app that’s used for lots of other social functions, as well, said Balti Virtual CEO Will Gee.
“They’ve opened up a lot to third-party content creators,” Gee said.
Snapchat’s Lens Studio provides tools to make augmented reality content that are specific to the app.
“It’s a great fit for us,” he said. “It’s the kind of work we like to do.”
Pointing toward a future where AR is more seamlessly integrated into the experience of using a phone, he calls Snapchat a “balance” between building for a native browser, and building one’s own app, calling it “the best of both worlds.”
Balti Virtual previously partnered on a Capitals initiative with “Tilt the Ice,” a game that turned drink coasters into a goal that had high reengagement among fans. Along with the game itself, there was a built in leaderboard and social sharing that’s also present on the Ovi-O’s game.
When the team was approached for the latest partnership, Gee said they considered, “Can we get the benefits of this reengagement and a fun experience along with making it more accessible and getting our feet wet with newer technology?”
Here’s a still of the game, which will be released next week: