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This Old House Microsoft Tag campaign results in 234,000 scans

Time Inc.?s This Old House magazine used mobile bar codes to increase the number of entries for its "The Great This Old House" sweepstakes, resulting in 234,000 scans.

The magazine placed Microsoft Tags in the August issue to give away $178,309 worth of prizes from 42 home-improvement manufacturers. This Old House will continue to use mobile bar codes judiciously throughout future issues to engage readers.

?For us, the word old is our title, but our users are pretty tech-savvy,? said Scott Omelianuk, editor in chief of This Old House, New York.

?The idea of attaching a sweepstakes to mobile bar codes was the best way we could think of to familiarize people with the technology, but one giveaway doesn?t convert millions of readers to use mobile bar codes,? he said.

Home sweet home
Consumers could enter the This Old House sweepstakes in three ways ? via mobile scans, online or mail.

Out of the 234,000 total mobile scans, there were 156,700 unique mobile entries for the contest.

In total, the campaign generated 685,479 total entries from the various channels.

The sweepstakes ran from July 12 through Aug. 31.

When entering the contest, consumers could choose which prizes from the 42 manufacturers they were interested in winning.

One winner was given the chance to move into a historical home in Goldsboro, NC for free under the conditions that they would live in it for five years and make improvements to it.

Consumers could also win home improvement-related prizes, including $5,000 worth of hardwood flooring from Lumber Liquidators.

One winner received a $5,000 gift card for bathroom products from online retailer Bath Simple.

Other prizes included closet organizers, facets and appliances.

Mobile giving
The This Old House campaign is the latest example of Microsoft Tags being used with sweepstakes in magazines.

After running Microsoft Tags in the August 2010 issue, Allure magazine saw an impressive 444,572 scans for the ?Free Stuff? giveaway (see story).

Mobile bar codes can be an effective way for publishers to leverage print and digital campaigns, but consumers face the problem of downloading the correct application for specific bar codes.

For example, Microsoft Tag requires a specific application that only works when users scan the company?s mobile bar codes.

On the other hand, QR codes can be scanned using a variety of code reader apps that work with different platforms.

This Old House plans to use Microsoft Tags for the next The Great This Old House giveaway contest in the August 2012 issue with the goal of offering prizes valued at a total of $500,000.

?The thing that makes the contest useful is that the manufacturers who offer prizes are getting people who are truly interested in the products since many home-improvement products are large scale,? Mr. Omelianuk said.

?It also gives us insight into what our readers are interested in, which helps with our editorial content,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York