Best Western repeats Disney-themed augmented reality strategy to reach teens


For Best Westerns second
augmented reality campaign, the chain is partnering with Disney Channel to
enable guests to interact with a life-sized cutout of Zendaya, the star of a
new Disney Channel original movie.

Travelers who stay at any
Best Western location across the U.S. will be greeted in lobby entrances by the
cutout of Zendaya, who stars in the film Zapped.

The Zapped augmented
reality experience builds on the success of the hoteliers first foray into augmented
reality last summer, which was themed around Disneys hit Teen Beach Movie,
with the app tapped more than 48,000 times and having reached more than 1.9
million Facebook users in just a few months.

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“There’s not much that’s more magic than seeing something
that’s not really there, from the perspective of a kid,” said Sean
McGowan, a toy industry analyst at Needham Company, New York.

All of a sudden, you’re playing in that magical world, and you’re
seeing yourself the whole time.

Sean McGowan is not associated with Best Western and commented
based on his expertise.

Best Western did not meet press deadline.

Star power
Through the Zapped free
application, guests will be able to awaken the cut out display and snap a
photo with the actress that can be shared on social media networks.
The Best Western ALIVE! app, developed by Aurasma, allows users to see
graphics from every perspective and adjust to users movements.


In addition to letting
guests meet and greet with a digital Zendaya, one fan will win a grand prize
trip for four to Los Angeles to film a dance video with the star through the
Get Zapped with Zendaya Zweepstakes.

The exclusive experience
includes dance studio time with Zendaya which will be incorporated into a music
video that will air on Disney Channel.

Last Years “Teen Beach Movie” campaign.

Guests could pose with digital versions of movie characters

Adolescent influences
According to a 2008 report by YTV on kids and tweens influencing
power, kids impact family entertainment choices 98 percent of the time, and
trips and excursions 94 percent of the time, results which have more than
doubled industry spending on advertising over the past two decades.

Modern parents willingness
to splurge more on their children has been accounted for by recent trends such
as smaller family size, dual incomes and postponing pregnancy until later in
life. With more disposable income, and time-starved parents more susceptible to
spending decisions based on guilt, marketers are increasingly targeting
children, knowing parents are likely to substitute material items for time
spent with their kids.

Using research to analyze
the behavior and fantasy lives of children, firms such as Saatchi and Saatchi
are able to create sophisticated marketing strategies to engage young people.

In 1990, Saatchi and
Saatchi hired cultural anthropologists to study children interacting with digital
tech in their homes to conceptualize how to best target the demographic with
certain brands and products.

“Kids are moving very quickly past physical toys
and into the tech realm,” said Jason Moser, an analyst at Motley Fool,
Alexandria, VA. Children as young as five are outgrowing physical toys.

The Internet has integrated itself into youth culture, and is now
a staple in the daily routine of young peoples lives.

Engaging and interactive
environments based upon product and names can help foster company brand loyalty
from a young age.

By leveraging augmented reality technology through the Chuck E.s
Say Cheese! App, The Richards Group and Chuck E. Cheese allowed users to snap
a picture with a digitally animated version of the famed mouse inside his
restaurant, easily shared via social media. To date, the app has over 400,000
downloads and over 120,000 photos have been shared.

Chuck E Cheese AR app

In a promotion for the 2013 released game, Forza Motorsport 5,
Pizza Hut UK teamed up with Xbox One and augmented reality app developer,
Blippar, to provide customers with exclusive game content directly on their
smartphones. The company produced 500,000 limited edition pizza boxes wrapped
in the games cover image.

Customers could use the Blippar app to blipp the box and animate
the image. Users were then able to interact with the image though their phone
and gain access to game trailers and sweepstakes entries.

Pizza Hut’s limited edition Forza AR box

Relationship building
through viral advertisement like the Zweepstakes campaign attempts to connect
to consumers by building a personal relationship with them which can also be
passed along to friends through social sharing.

“You need to convince people that something really
extraordinary is going on to get people to part with their money,” Mr. McGowan

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

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