January 14, 2014
Office Depot provides office products, services and solutions for every workplace environment. Its goal is to be a single source for everything customers need to be more productive, including the latest technology, core office supplies, print and document services, business services, facilities products, furniture and school essentials.
Today’s Retail Challenge:
Delivering an integrated shopping experience across all channels
Being a brick and mortar and e-commerce retailer isn’t cutting it anymore. Smartphones are becoming increasingly important as a retail marketing channel. More than 70 percent of consumers use a smartphone in-store to help them shop and more than 75 percent are likely to take an action after seeing a location-specific message.
Realizing this retail dynamic, and in an effort to appeal to a younger audience and create a more interactive shopping experience, Office Depot created a partnership with popular boy band One Direction to create the campaign “1D+OD Together Against Bullying.” It used augmented reality to bring the campaign to life.
Goals of 1D+OD Together Against Bullying Campaign
According to Emery Skolfield, senior director of marketing for Office Depot, the goal of the 1D+OD Together Against Bullying campaign was to increase interactivity, interest and share-ability. “We wanted it to be something people used, were delighted with and told others about,” he said. Here are the main directives of the campaign.
- Build a full-scale plan to expand awareness of exclusive 1D + OD products and the campaign, which should be available across platforms (owned and external), devices and media to support physical touch-points
- Appeal to One Direction fans and influencers through exclusive content, unique experiences and #hashtag-driven actions
- Keep audience engaged by creating mobile-friendly interactive experiences that are easy to use and inherently shareable
- Influence spending by reaching key customer segments (young students) and affinity groups (fans) through targeted marketing efforts
Office Depot’s partnership with One Direction was about developing an exclusive, limited-edition product collection that differentiated Office Depot from back-to-school competitors. “The collection delivers teens something they can’t find anywhere else—beautiful supplies that tie back to Office Depot’s ongoing anti-bullying efforts,” said Skolfield. “We added augmented reality to the product as a layer of interactivity to make it even more interesting and to enhance the exclusivity. We want to create experiences with the product, moments that are inherently share-able and, thus, social.”
Reaching that younger audience was crucial for this campaign to succeed.
“The idea was to appeal a younger audience, knowing they are highly influential on the parents’ purchase decisions,” said Skolfield. “Exclusivity was critical. Again, create something they can’t get anywhere else, make it highly interactive and create an emotional connection with every touch.”
Office Depot’s limited-edition back-to-school offerings included items such as 3-ring binders, spiral notebooks, a 5-pack of pens, composition notebooks and memo pads, as well as other collectible items like decal sets, wristbands and nail polish in the custom campaign colors. All products were appropriately priced under $10, with most under $5, making it accessible to any student to participate and support the anti-bullying messaging in school. A percentage of the products’ sales would be donated to support anti-bullying education.
“Aurasma created a technology kernel that was embedded into Office Depot’s smartphone app through partnership with their IT team,” Skolfield said. Office Depot marketed the program on products with trigger images and off a special fixture in Office Depot stores.
An interactive store fixture, with a life-sized image of the One Direction boys, also triggered a video and engaged the key audience.
Another example AR in use included a notebook, featuring a picture of Harry Styles from One Direction, which triggered media simply by placing a smartphone over the image and activating the technology.
Office Depot also brought awareness to the campaign by sponsoring a 70-second video message by One Direction, encouraging fans to join the campaign and help end bullying in schools. The video was played at each of the band’s U.S. concerts.
How Augmented Reality Brought the Campaign to Life
“These products are about way more than utility,” said Skolfield. “When you look at a normal notebook or binder, it’s for the most part one-dimensional. With our 1D+OD products, users can access exclusive video content like interview footage triggered off of never-before-seen imagery of the guys from One Direction. Bring it to Life simply refers to the transition from still image to moving picture, from photo to video. That’s what Aurasma enabled for us through image detection technology embedded into Office Depot’s smartphone application.”
> Watch a video from the campaign here
Initial results are promising. Since Skolfield doesn’t have a benchmark or any history with augmented reality, he admits it’s hard to pinpoint any specific successes or challenges throughout the campaign. He and his team were impressed, however, with the level of use within only six weeks of the campaign’s launch:
- 150,000 video views triggered off product
- 300 percent increase in app usage
- 65 percent click through rate
- 30,000 store fixture scans
In fewer than two months since Office Depot launched the “Bring It To Life” experience on its app, which housed the exclusive One Direction content, daily usage of the app doubled.