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Elmer?s creates photo-sharing app to drive engagement beyond back-to-school shopping

Elmer?s Products Inc. is embracing mobile via a photo-sharing mobile application meant to help parents capture and share milestones such as their child?s first day back to school.

Using Elmer?s 1st Day app, parents can snap photos and create albums to share with family and friends. Elmer?s is promoting the app via QR codes on select Elmer?s glue bottles and on in-store school displays,  enabling mobile users to download the app once they have scanned the 2D bar code.

?For more than 60 years, Elmer?s has been a trusted and proverbial part of going back to school,? said Lisa Singer, senior product manager at Elmer?s Products Inc., Columbus, OH. ?It?s a name most Americans grew up with and it often inspires fond memories of elementary school days. 

?As the Official Sponsor of the 1st Day of School, Elmer?s saw a great opportunity to leverage current technology and mobile-use trends in order to celebrate an exciting milestone for families and help parents keep their kid?s first-day-of-school photos in one safe place while making them easy to format, share and save,? she said.

Photo-sharing is popular
Apps focused on snapping photos as well as organizing and sharing them are popular with consumers and take advantage of how easy it is to snap a photo using a mobile phone?s built in camera and then share those photos online.

Not only are photo-sharing apps proliferating but Facebook?s recent purchase of Instagram for $1 billion reflects the potential companies see for these apps to continue to grow.

Elmer?s own research showed that one of the most important functions of a woman?s mobile phone is the ability to take photos. Additionally, the company found that photo-sharing sites attract a significant number of female users ? a large percentage of whom are moms uploading photos of their kids.

Elmer?s took these into heavy consideration to create a platform that would satisfy a mother?s need to conveniently and easily chronicle day memories from the first day back to school.

It makes sense for a brand such as Elmer?s to create a photo-sharing app because this gives the brand a way to use mobile to continue to engage with consumers even when they are not actively in the market to purchase school supplies.

Users of the Elmer?s 1st Day app who have taken some photos can log onto the 1st Day Web site,, where they can create slideshows, add colorful borders and share galleries via email and on Facebook.

Teachers can also use the app to upload photos of their room, art projects and events throughout the year and share them with peers and parents.

The Elmer?s 1st Day app is also intended to raise awareness for the Kids In Need Foundation, an organization that provides free school supplies to children in need. For every 1st Day app photo uploaded up to 200,000 photos, Elmer?s will donate one product to the foundation.

The app is free to download for the iPhone and Android devices directly from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Elmer?s first foray into mobile was with the Elmer?s Glue Guide, which was introduced in 2010. The app was designed to help customers find the right glue for the project they?re working on.

Based on the success of that app, Elmer?s determined a need to offer additional apps.

Elmer?s makes adhesives, arts and crafts as well as educational products that are used by many students and teachers.

?Because Elmer?s is synonymous with back-to-school and a classroom favorite, helping parents capture the magic of the first day of school in addition to capturing all the other ?special firsts? in their child lives addressed the need to keep memories in one safe place while making them easy to format, share and save,? Ms. Singer said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York