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Denny?s, Warner Bros. add mobile touch to Hobbit video contest

American diner Denny?s is rolling out an augmented-reality-packed placemat and a mobile-optimized site in honor of its video contest that celebrates the newest Hobbit movie.

Denny?s has partnered with Warner Bros. Pictures to power the video contest, which offers consumers the chance to win a trip to the world premiere of ?The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.? Special placemats in Denny?s diners will feature augmented reality content to promote the movie.

"A mobile-optimized site attracts consumers on the go, everyone from hungry road warriors to families looking for a great Sunday breakfast," said Paul Bremer, chief revenue officer at Rhythm NewMedia, Mountain View, CA. "By showing menu options and the closest locations, Denny's makes it easy for consumers to choose them."

Mr. Bremer is not affiliated with Denny's. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Denny's did not meet press deadline.

Mobile videos
?The Search for Middle-earth?s Greatest Fan? Contest asks Denny?s consumers to upload a one-minute video demonstrating why he or she should be named Middle-earth?s greatest fan.

Filmmaker Peter Jackson will choose a grand prize winner to receive a trip for two to attend the film?s world premiere screening. Four runner-ups will receive free Denny?s Grand Slams for one full year.

Consumers can enter the contest through Oct. 31 by uploading a video to YouTube and then signing up through the microsite and including the YouTube link. The microsite is optimized for mobile.

The videos will be judged based on originality, entertainment quality and storytelling.

Interactive placemat
Beyond the video contest, Denny?s is also celebrating the new Hobbit video in-store. Starting Nov. 5, consumers will see augmented reality within the diner?s placemats.

Additionally, Denny?s will offer a limited-time Hobbit-themed menu. It will also post a series of ?Elvish Made Easy? social posts and exclusive behind-the-scenes film content.

A number of other restaurants and stores have been using augmented reality in-store to bring print products to life.

For example, Buffalo Wild Wings is offering a fantasy football game app that consumers can access via augmented reality in-store in order to compete for real prizes (see story).

Office Depot also introduced an augmented reality feature into its stores to drive app downloads (see story).

"As it does for virtually all retailers, mobile makes a great deal of sense for a restaurant like Denny?s," Mr. Bremer said. "In this case, mobile makes it convenient for hungry consumers on the go to choose and locate the restaurant easily." 

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York