Hearst Tests Personalized Onserts Featuring QR Codes

Posted on by Larry Riggs

Harper's Bazaar is testing personalized onserts, targeting select subscribers with ads for Neiman Marcus featuring QR codes.

The fashion magazine's effort follows a similar test Hewlett Packard ran last fall in another Hearst publication, Popular Mechanics. That 2011 test yielded 15,288 HP website visits in 28 days from 12,008 unique visitors living near retailers selling HP products.

The Popular Mechanics test featured a contest to win a wireless printer. The entry form asked for name, address, phone number and email address.  The form also asked entrants if they wanted that information automatically filled in based on the subscriber data associated with their QR code.

Harper's, which has a 744,000 circulation overall, ran the onserts promoting a Neiman Marcus cosmetics sale in 300,000 copies of its March issue. They were polybagged with copies sent to subscribers living within 50 miles of one of 41 Neiman Marcus U.S. stores, says Connie Livsey, advertising director, beauty and lifestyle, for Harper's Bazaar. 

In this promotion, the onserts were personalized with the subscriber's name and their nearest Neiman Marcus store. The QR code took the subscriber to NeimanMarcus.com, where they could view a video of magazine executive fashion and beauty editor Avril Graham giving tips on using the promoted cosmetics.

In-store promotions were also highlighted on the onserts. For example, customers buying $100 worth of products received a free tote bag and product samples. Those included Tom Ford Neroli Portofino and A Dozen Roses Electron fragrances, La Mer Reparative body lotion, Molton Brown Vitamin AB+C shower gel and others.

Response data was still being tabulated at deadline. But overall, Livsey is optimistic about the potential for using this technology to connect with readers. The magazine is also planning to extend this type of program to other advertisers.

"It creates a one-on-one relationship," she says. "It's a very interesting, sophisticated and personal way to reach a subscriber."

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