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Office Depot?s app usage jumps 300pc with augmented reality campaign

Office Depot saw usage of its mobile application jump 300 percent thanks to an augmented reality campaign that strived to help students, teachers and parents pinpoint their passions.

The #GottaGetINSPIR5D campaign, powered by augmented reality platform Aurasma, won big at the Mobile Excellence Awards, grabbing the title of Best Entertainment Related Marketing Campaign. The technology is being tapped by an growing number of brands to better connect with consumers and provide more enticing calls-to-action to further app engagement.

?AR was a good choice because it gives people a reason to use the application outside of someone wanting to purchase office and school supplies,? said Ben Hordell, partner at DXagency, Edgewater, NJ. 

?Office Depot faces a lot of competition when it comes to campaigns, such as back-to-school, and efforts like this are a creative way to break through the clutter and drive foot traffic from younger consumers.?

Boosting marketing efforts
Office Depot believes augmented reality has transformed into an optimal vehicle for the brand to bolster its mobile marketing efforts. It is hoping to continue using the technology in future campaigns.

The #GottaGetINSPIR5D campaign was rolled out ahead of Office Depot?s busy back-to-school season last summer. The brand teamed up with pop-rock band R5 to help consumers look forward to a new fall beginning and find their passion.

Visitors at most OfficeMax and Office Depot stores were encouraged to use their smartphones and the Office Depot app to watch R5 appear on the screen to offer encouraging words. Fans could virtually take a photo with the band and share it via their social network.

Shoppers who made a purchase over $75 also received a sticker sheet, which contained exclusive interviews with R5 members, a live performance and a code for four complimentary song downloads.

Office Depot has been making a deeper push for mobile as of late. Its new Apple Watch application offers voice-activated search and an ink-and-toner finder, suggesting that even the office supplies sector needs smartwatch apps to maximize mcommerce potential (see story).

Rise of augmented reality
The augmented reality market has been gaining massive traction over the past 18 months, with consumers demanding even more enhanced user experiences on mobile devices. Research firm Tractica predicts that mobile augmented reality apps are projected to create a $1.6 billion market within four years.

AR is able to go beyond the static banner ad or mobile site and allow potential customers to virtually experience a branded moment or directly interact with an app.

More brands are joining the action with their own interactive experiences.

Residence Inn by Marriott is driving interest in its social hour by enabling guests to use augmented reality application Blippar to scan beverage coasters with their smartphones to access suggested food and beer pairings and customizable selfies (see story).

Heineken also tapped Blippar for a new digital campaign that offered consumers a look at beer's ingredients while stirring up interest in sustainability matters by asking users to snap a photo of a Heineken bottle to unlock exclusive content (see story).

However, while augmented reality may seem attractive for many brands, it must be deployed in an organic fashion.

?I wouldn?t say that marketers are at a disadvantage if they don?t use AR, as it is not for everyone,? Mr. Hordell said. ?It?s a very cool marketing tactic, and when done well, it can create valuable and memorable experiences for consumers. 

?That being said, there are many tactics that can help create those experiences and break through the clutter.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York