Valpak Rolls Out AR Codes in Martha Stewart Print Campaign

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Direct marketing company Valpak is sponsoring a contest to win a trip to see a taping of The Martha Stewart Show and, in what it says is an industry first, has built an augmented reality code into the instant-win portion of the game.

The main sweepstakes, which launched on February 22 and will extend through April 9, asks players to register for the game or using a Valpak Facebook app. Once registered, they can send in a new entry Monday to Friday by naming one of the guests on that day’s Martha Stewart Show. The grand prize winner will receive airfare and lodging for a three-day/ two-night trip for two to new York City to watch the show being taped, along with VIP passes to the show, $250 in walking-around money and a 4250 gift card to Macy’s.

The instant-win portion of the game is tied to a 40 million-piece Valpak Blue Envelope mailing that dropped on February 23. The envelope, with Stewart’s picture on the front, tells recipients how to enter for the VIP trip. But a separate component holds out the chance of being an instant winner of Stewart’s newest cookbook, “Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast!”

Users who have registered at the MarthaStewart.com site can hold a large “M” code up to a Webcam to receive an instant notification if they have won a copy of the book. Users who don’t own a laptop or PC equipped with a Webcam can still take part by clicking a “No Webcam” button on the page, which also contains a demo video on using augmented reality codes.

Players who enter the sweepstakes and then play the instant-win game can also earn extra sweepstakes entries by referring news of the Martha Stewart VIP Trip game to a friend.

In the B-to-B realm, Valpak is running print ads in several trade publications that feature its signature “V” checkmark as an augmented reality code. Readers who go online and hold the market up to a camera will open an interactive presentation of the company’s traditional print products and new digital advertising channels.

“We’re pretty excited about the AR opportunity,’ says Kim Dominguez, director of marketing for Largo, FL-based Valpak. “Cox [Media Group, parent company] and Valpak have really pushed themselves this year to leverage the relevance and equity of our brands. AR is a perfect example of how we can marry our digital and print products. It also gives us an opportunity to interact with our consumers in a rich format as well as our classic Valpak product.”

It was important to provide an alternative, cameral-less way for recipients to enter the instant-win portion of the game, Dominguez says, because currently only 20% to 25% of U.S. households have Webcam-enabled computers in the home.

Stewart herself explained how to take part in both the sweepstakes and the instant-win game on the March 4 episode of her show. “She showed viewers how to get involved in the sweepstakes and how to win and spent a lot of time promoting us,” Dominguez says. “Martha [Stewart] took augmented reality into the home and mainstreamed the technology for us. That was a big success.”

While the Stewart promotion is still too recent to provide solid response metrics, Dominguez says that the B2B print ad campaigns enabled with AR have shown “significant lift”.

“I think the novelty of the AR is exciting people, and married with the experience that we’re offering them two ways to view, I think it has been successful,” she says.

While the company maintains focus on its core product, the Valpak brand and the Blue Envelope coupon mailers, it has recently rolled out services and struck deals that bring those coupon offers to other platforms. The Valpak.com Web site offers an online site for location-relevant coupon offers. In mobile, the company has rolled out Valpak branded apps to the iPhone and iPod Touch as well as smartphones built on the Android and Palm Pre platforms.

Last year the company also launched a version of its Valpak.com site optimized for mobile use.

Tampa-based HD interactive provided the augmented-reality platform underpinning the Martha Stewart VIP Trip Sweepstakes.

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