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Time Inc.?s This Old House revamps annual giveaway with augmented reality

Time Inc.?s This Old House is switching up its sweepstakes this year with augmented reality, after using mobile bar codes for several years in the past.

The augmented reality contest is running in the August issue of This Old House. This is the fourth year of This Old House?s annual Great TOH Giveaway, which lets users enter to win more than $530,000 in prizes from brands such as Kohler, MasterBrand Cabinets and Da Vinci Roofscapes.

?The main difference [from last year] is that we switched technology and are now using Blippar versus Microsoft Tags,? said Scott Omelianuk, editor in chief of This Old House, New York.

?Microsoft Tags performed well, but we think that Blippar is a technology that will allow us to do more,? he said.

?Rather than just being a print-to-mobile tool that drives to a Web page, Blippar allows for a more multimedia experience that we are excited to take advantage of.?

Mobile sweepstakes
In the past, This Old House has placed Microsoft Tags throughout the issue to activate its pages, but it decided to use augmented reality through the third-party application Blippar this year.

This Old House is the first of Time Inc.?s brands to incorporate the Blippar technology throughout the magazine as part of a magazine?s signature platform.

To interact with the print content, consumers need to download the iPhone or Android Blippar app.

A full page in the front-of-book section of the magazine walks users through the steps involved in using the technology.

Mr. Omelianuk?s editor letter also includes a mobile call-to-action in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

Once the image is recognized, users are taken to a landing page where they can enter their email address to participate in the sweepstakes. From there, users can view all of the products in the sweepstakes and check off which ones they want to enter to win.

Readers can enter the sweepstakes daily through August 31.

This Old House first tested augmented reality in the July issue of the magazine. Consumers could hover their mobile devices over the cover to create a custom cover by snapping a picture of their own homes and adding a custom headline.

The cover could then be saved to their device?s photo library or shared via Facebook, Twitter or email.

A call-to-action for readers to use the Blippar app

Mobile engagement
Every year since its inception, This Old House has been upping the ante with its Great TOH Giveaway.

Last year, the magazine increased the value of its prizes and plastered Microsoft Tags throughout the issue (see story).

Microsoft Tags were also used in the 2011 sweepstakes, raking in 234,000 bar code scans (see story).

According to Mr. Omelianuk, the initial engagement numbers point to augmented reality as being successful so far.

This Old House also has a vast collection of video content from its television series, which augmented reality could be effective at leveraging in the future.

?Unlike a lot of magazines, This Old House is a multimedia brand, and we have a lot of assets for people to take advantage of,? Mr. Omelianuk said.

?Most importantly, we have a lot of video assets,? he said.

?Despite its name, our readers overindex on technology, and our readers are interested in using this type of stuff.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York