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Décor a Key Part of Experiential Marketing Strategy
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Re-purposing of technology developed for sectors such as manufacturing and the military has led to much innovation in consumer marketing, California’s Hollywood & Highland Center (H&H) has jumped on quick response (QR) codes or tags to support its latest “Live Large” branding campaign.
QR tags’ initial use was as tracking devices for parts in vehicle manufacturing. Now, H&H and others are using Microsoft tags to reach shoppers via iPhone, Blackberry, Android and any other smart phone equipped with advanced Web and camera technologies.
H&H inserted tags into all its print advertising material so that smart phone users can snap them to gain access to the center’s micro-site, where they’ll find H&H event rosters and news. The site also lists details on a contest to win a $1,000 fall shopping spree. Users just need to visit GetTag.mobi and download the free tag reader.
“Our targeted demographic consists of leading-edge consumers and early adopters in fashion and technology. Our goal is to cut through the advertising clutter in the market by being unique and innovative,” noted Annette Bethers, VP of marketing and strategic alliances for H&H.
That’s why, in addition to the center-specific content that users can find on the micro-site, the ad tags connect to a blog showing snapshots of people captured on the streets of Hollywood by hipster culture photographer Mark Hunter, aka The Cobra Snake—the alliance supported the launch of the photographer’s six-month pop-up gallery and store at H&H, The Cobra Shop.
Shoppers can also view the images on HollywoodAndHighland.com and even contribute their own photographic evidence of “how they live large in Hollywood” in accordance with the center’s motto, be it in shops, clubs, theaters or dining hotspots.
“We thought it would be best to connect the center with a person who is well-known and respected as a trendsetter in the L.A. market, such as The Cobra Snake, and to continue efforts to establish the center’s relevance and resonance with local consumers,” Bethers explained.
“We want to convey the full experience of the newly-evolved Hollywood and reinforce H&H as the hub of all the exciting action that now takes place in the area.”
Bethers sees this tag-based “Live Large” campaign as a natural progression for the center, which is becoming proficient at using Web-based strategies to promote itself.
“Presence on Facebook and Twitter has been key for communicating everything that is going on at the center. We send our newsletter each month to our extensive database, keeping [customers] abreast of events and promotions, as well as communicating the exciting developments at the Kodak Theatre as we get ready to introduce an exclusive, long-run Cirque du Soleil show next year.”
The advantage of adding the Microsoft tag to the marketing toolkit is that it can be used and re-used as frequently as the center wishes, based on that one initial technology investment.
“Unit cost doesn’t apply. Our online media team at Allied Live created the tag and the micro-site that supports it,” Bethers said.
“We just use one tag. However, the content of the micro-site can be changed to convey different messages and we plan to keep the content fresh throughout the year.”
As with any new-to-market technology, Bethers expects that it might take a while for consumers beyond early-adopters to figure out, embrace and frequently use the tags. But she believes the technology is here to stay in the retail sector.
“We are beginning to see sharp growth in the number of people using it. We are committed to continuing the program and very excited to see where we can take it.”
THE TAG DEAL
The Microsoft tags, or bar codes, connect people to information, entertainment and interactive experiences on mobile phones. They can be used anywhere—advertisements of all sorts (e.g. print, outdoor), websites, packaging, clothing and more—and snapping them will automatically open a Web page, display a message on users’ mobile phones or dial a phone number.
» Postcards were distributed at the Hollywood Bowl and at H&H events
» Indoor signage
» Various postings