ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Macy?s Thanksgiving Day Parade app returns

Macy?s Thanksgiving Day Parade mobile application will once again provide fans an interactive experience via the augmented reality Elf-O-Matic that allows users to create their own parade float using a photo of themselves.

Since 2012, Macy?s has been sharing the events of its annual parade on mobile through the app. By allowing non-attendees a chance at a closer look, Macy?s builds more anticipation for the event and ropes in more fans via the mobile channel.

?Last year, the app made the top five list based on downloads in the Apple App Store,? said Orlando Veras, director of national media relations at Macy?s, New York. ?We hope to achieve that status again this year.?

Wanting more
Fans can use the app to seek interactive experiences prior to the holiday and live parade. The app gives users the chance to interact with the parade and learn more about the elements. They can also share content with their friends.

Users can follow the app to get info on last-minute surprise acts, behind-the-scene preparations, pictures and video of the floats, balloons and musical acts. There are also short films provided featuring Macy?s balloons and their journey through the parade timeline.

An Elf-O-Matic feature allows fans to transform themselves into an elf balloon. Using augmented reality, users can use their smartphone camera to snap a photo and then blow into its microphone to inflate the balloon. They can then share their creation with friends.

The virtual street view lets viewers see the historic balloons up close and provides fun facts about each character.

The app aims to be a one-stop destination for all events surrounding the parade and is available for free download on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

While the app will have the same functionality as last year, it will have a bit of a revamped look to mirror Macy?s new creative, Mr. Veras said.

The app was last updated in 2013, when Macy?s completely overhauled the design and functions as compared to the first app. During the overhaul in 2013, Macy?s introduced new functions, such as the Elf-O-Matic feature.

Ongoing development
Macy?s gave its parade a mobile component in 2012 with the release of the iPhone app.

At the time, the app let spectators of the parade track the route and find out additional information about the parade. The app is powered by location-and-social app company MyCityWay (see story).

Macy?s has also recently rolled out a browser-based digital wallet solution called My Wallet, available to in-store, online and mobile shoppers, that places users? credit cards and Macy?s digital coupons and promotions in one place.

As retailers and shoppers prep for the 2014 holiday season, consumers are more willing to make purchases online and are looking for easier ways to keep up with their coupons, causing a turn to mobile wallet solutions to encourage more seamless purchases and savings abilities. Macy?s, a retailer known for its push towards innovative mobile technology, will likely see strong usage of its digital wallet given its simplistic appeal and the expected surge in shopping in the coming months (see story).

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York