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Sherwin-Williams flaunts color-matching app via print ad

Paint brand Sherwin-Williams Co. is educating consumers about its popular color-matching mobile application through a magazine advertisement.

Sherwin-Williams is promoting its ColorSnap app ? which is available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices ? via the print ads. The ads are running within the June issue of Food Network Magazine.

?For a paint brand, in order to encourage users to download an app, they must add a layer of engagement to their campaign,? said Bobby Marhamat, founder of Hipscan, Menlo Park, CA.

?Specifically, if the goal is to influence more app downloads from a print ad, after scanning the QR code in the print ad, the user must be instantly intrigued,? he said.

Mr. Marhamat is not affiliated with Sherwin-Williams. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Sherwin-Williams did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobile inspiration
The Sherwin-Williams campaign includes a two-page spread, one of which is devoted to promoting the ColorSnap app.

Copy at the top of the page reads, ?Match your favorite smoothie in a snap.?

Below, the ad explains how the technology in Sherwin-William?s app works.

An in-app camera function lets users take pictures of items that inspire them. The color is then matched against Sherwin-William?s 1,500 available colors to find the closest paint hue.

Besides color-matching a paint color, the app also lets consumers create a palette of paints that complement a specific color.

There is also a section called ?My Saved Colors? that lets consumers save their favorite colors and share them via social media.

Scan to download
A QR code in the bottom left-hand corner of the ad encourages consumers to scan to download the app.

The QR code links consumers to a page on Sherwin William?s mobile site where they can learn more about the app and which devices it is compatible for.

Additionally, consumers can find a nearby store or search for products by keywords via the site.

The site uses auto-detection to recognize what type of device a consumer has to direct them to the correct app store.

Although the additional information might be helpful to some consumers, the ad would have probably been more effective if the QR code had directly dumped consumers into the app store to eliminate one step in accumulating app downloads.

Sherwin-Williams has done quite a bit to market its app over the years.

In 2010, the brand tapped mobile advertising to drive downloads, for example (see story).

The ad also includes a call-to-action for Sherwin William?s online site, which is called Chip It! Users are encouraged to visit to turn an online image into a collection of paint colors.

However, the site is not optimized for mobile devices, meaning that Sherwin-Williams is likely missing out on a big opportunity to drive engagement.

?One of the biggest mistakes brands make is sending a user that scans a QR code to a standard Web page,? Mr. Marhamat said.

?Users need to see information presented to them in a logical way on their screen size, and they must get something out of it to become a loyal, returning user,? he said.

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