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Tic Tac enlists augmented reality for interactive Times Square billboard

Tic Tac?s new interactive Times Square billboard in New York uses augmented reality to enable passersby to put themselves in the billboard using their smartphones and the Tic Tac Times Square application.

The billboard is part of Tic Tac?s new Shake It Up campaign, which encourages millennials to explore new, unconventional ways of doing daily activities. It is Tic Tac?s first billboard in Times Square and is located on Broadway between 46th and 47th street.

?Our target is millennials between the ages of 18 and 35,? Noah Szporn, category manager for Tic Tac at Ferrero USA Inc., Somerset, NJ. ?The big thing we learned from our research is that this audience is not willing to see an ad, go home and log onto their computer to learn more - they are not interested in engaging with a brand in that way.

?Mobile is the new medium that this group likes to engage in but it has to be fun, fresh and entertaining,? he said.

?If we had to rely on a Web site, we thought it would be unlikely that they would engage with our brand.?

Put your image here
While the billboard itself is static, there is a call to action encouraging consumers to view the ad through the Tic Tac Times Square app.

Users who have downloaded the Tic Tac Times Square app can scan the ad. The imagery on the phone switches to show the user?s face on a magazine cover or on a ?Vote For? sign, with the app automatically taking a user?s Facebook picture and inserting it in various ads.

?This is making the billboard about the consumer themselves so they won?t ignore it,? Mr. Szporn said.

The billboard will be up in Times Square for the next four weeks. The Tic Tac Times Square app can be downloaded by texting the keyword NYC to the short code 313131.

Additionally, users can directly download the app through Apple's App Store or Google's Android Market.

The goal of the effort is to create awareness, drive engagement with the brand and bring the brand closer to the point of purchase.

?The billboard is a strong statement that Tic Tac is trying to get closer to the point of purchase,? Mr. Szporn said.

Mobile as backbone
Tic Tac will also be introducing other efforts in other cities with the idea of being fresh and fun with the Shake It Up campaign, including an out-of-home presence via transit ads and ads in bus shelters.

Mobile will have a role throughout to make the ads interactive.

For example, Tic Tac is launching a program behind a new flavor in the spring that will include a new augmented reality game. Users will be able to scan a box of Fruit Adventure-flavored Tic Tacs to launch the game.

?Mobile is going to be the continuity point, the backbone of the campaign,? Mr. Szporn said. ?Every time we do print ads or update something with new creative, we are always going to leverage mobile to have a new augmented reality game, more tips and experiences.?

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