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Mobile Marketing

App Marketing Conversations: Frito Lay & Activision Experiment with Mobile Engagement

Robi Ganguly  //  August 5, 2013  //  7 min read

If you’re a brand that sells physical products how do you use mobile’s unique qualities to engage with customers?  

This is a question that more brands are asking themselves every day. In this week’s App Marketing Conversations we discussed an interesting campaign from Frito Lay and Activision that is attempting to crack the engagement challenge facing traditional brands. Using mobile apps to deepen the customer’s awareness of the brand and to associate it with an existing game franchise has some pretty significant potential. We discussed several aspects of this campaign, like:

  • Why even a small amount of consumer adoption could produce significant ROI for Frito Lay
  • What this means for other brand managers, and
  • Why this is just the beginning of experiments like this

Have you run a campaign like this or tried any other interesting tactics out for your CPG brand? Please share in the comments.

Be sure to check out the Gamehouse segment from this week’s App Marketing Conversations, discussing the newest data out of App Annie showing that Google Play has finally surpassed the iTunes app store in driving installs and to learn from MobileDevHQ about how Quixey’s Appurl initiative could change search and discovery for mobile apps.

The Transcript:

Robi Ganguly: Good morning, welcome to another App Marketing
Conversations. As always, I am joined by Ryan Morel of GameHouse, Ian
Sefferman of Mobile DevHQ, and I’m Robi Ganguly of Apptentive.

So this week we’re going to dig in and talk a little bit about an
interesting augmented reality app that came out as a result of a
partnership between Frito-Lay, which is a division of Pepsi, and
Activision. So, it’s called the Skylanders Giants in the Store Adventure
App. And essentially what it lets you do is, using augmented reality,
unlock various characters when you’re in the store. So let’s talk about it
first, from a sort of high level, as a concept. What do you all think about
this Ian?

Ian Sefferman: It’s interesting. I think these are the types of things
that brands need to continue to be pushing on. I’m sort of reading this and
not really understanding where the value is for the user. I’m not sure
about, like, this particular implementation, but I think it’s a smart idea,
way to get into the mobile realm for a brand that one would think has no
real relevance in being in the mobile world, Frito Lay. But they totally
do, and having large brands offline and online drive in-store promotions
is, I think, really smart.

Robi: What do you think?

Ryan Morel: I think it’s interesting. I think the in-store part
potentially makes it less exciting from a Frito-Lay perspective. If I were
them, I’d be thinking about how can we gain people outside the store by
using this brand Skylanders, because the reality is, you have a certain
subset of a population, a very small subset of the population, that cares
about Skylanders, and then an even smaller subset of that population who’s
going to download this app and do some augmented reality thing in your
game. So I’d question whether or not that was really worth it, outside of
being a good brand exercise.

So I think it would be more interesting to see them try to extend it
outside the store, doing quests or whatever it is to unlock prizes from
Skylanders and Frito-Lay, as really a brand exercise and extension.
Generally, I think it’s pretty interesting though.

Ian: What about you?

Robi: I was going to dig in a little bit further on some of the
things they talked about as reasons for this. So apparently in 2012, they
partnered with Activision to launch a Skylanders game promotion. So that
was the first foray into working around this brand and every iteration. I’m
going to guess that that must have been successful on that, enough for
their metrics, they they’re like, “Okay. Let’s go deeper.”

So they’re saying, you know, natural progression is, extend it in a
bigger, more engaging way. What I love about that is, the quote is,
“Natural progression is to extend the program in an even bigger, more
engaging way.” Parenthetically, that means mobile, right? Like, what’s
bigger and more engaging than mobile? We’re at this point already where
that’s the next logical… I think that’s great.

Augmented reality for me continues to be something I’m skeptical of.
I still haven’t really personally experienced augmented reality in a way
that I wanted to apply it to my life, but I think experimenting around this
is pretty cool.

So let’s dig in a little bit more and say, if you’re a mobile
marketer. If you’re out there and you have a consumer brand, and you’re
thinking about these sorts of things, you’re probably starting to see these
things come across your desk, or somebody sending you an email about this
and saying, “Evaluate, how do you take this information and all [inaudible
0:03:43] to start thinking about your planning?”

Ian: It starts from sort of understanding that mobile is great for getting
at your customers wherever they may be. Mobile is great at the engagement
piece of the puzzle, right? So going back, and back, and back, to your
customers in a way that you previously couldn’t. So I would start there and
say, “What are the innovative ways that we can engage with our customers in
a multitude of locations that we couldn’t do before?”

Robi: Yep.

Ryan: And at a level that you didn’t have before.

Robi: Right.

Ryan: So I saw something really interesting yesterday on Stratechery
about Facebook and how mobile is fantastic for it, and the fundamental
pieces there was mobile is the only visual platform other than the maybe e-
readers where you have 100 percent attention. Right, there is no, or very
rarely, are ads or other tabs or whatever it is. And that’s really
important, and that should just continue to hammer home the necessity for
the marketing and the development side and the UX side to be in line with,
“Hey, we need this to make… this needs to be a really compelling
experience,” because all the app marketing in the world isn’t going to help
you if your content is crappy or the experience isn’t good.

Ian: And the flip side to mobile being the only place that you have 100
percent attention is that oftentimes, those attention chunks are very, very
small, right? So you get a lot of engagement over time and over a lot of
locations but it might only be for five minutes or one minute at a time,
and so managing how your brand interacts in really small chunks is also

Robi: Yeah, and I think that leads into something I want to talk
about, which is, sometimes I think those of us in the mobile industry
think, “Well augmented reality hasn’t taken off, right? This activity
doesn’t seem to be that natural. Like who’s going to go to the store and
open up their phone and then look at this character and then go do this
thing with this other character?”

And I think that sort of misses the other point, which is, if you do
get five minutes at a time from some portion of customers, even if it’s a
couple hundred thousand, that is such an upgrade. That five minutes of time
is such an upgrade to your existing ability to talk to those customers.

Frito-Lay is buying ads everywhere 30 seconds at a time, of which we
think a large portion of them are fast-forwarded or people are not paying
attention to because they’re cooking dinner at the same time. And now, for
a couple hundred thousand people, you have them doing something for five
minutes, and then the way that this unfolds is, there are actually three
different in-store displays, so you can go do kind of a scavenger hunt and
find each one.

So if you get somebody to go actually change their behavior, to move
around the store, which helps out the retailer, right? You can bet
retailers are like, “Yes, I want people moving around more in the store,”
and do that, those couple hundred thousand people have now invested, what,
ten minutes of time with your brand and thinking about Frito-Lay, and then
they’re going to go home and think about Frito-Lay and Skylanders because
they just spent 15 minutes doing something around this.

I think that’s sort of the flip side of this that we don’t often talk
about. When was the last time that a brand got you to go actively spend ten
or 15 minutes doing something fun?

Ian: Apple, the only one.

Robi: With your brand new MacBook there.

Ryan: I can’t think of a single one, at least off the top of my head.
Actually the only one that… that’s not true. I got up off the couch once,
got dressed, during Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial. That was it.

Robi: Wait, was that because you saw the commercial and you felt like
you had to go exercise just watching it?

Ryan: No, no, I got up and went to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Ian: It was the opposite of what Robi’s thinking.

Ryan: This was like ten years ago, and the point remains. It’s really
hard to get people to engage with your brand, right?

Robi: Yes.

Ryan: And I think your point is the best one, is that Frito-Lay has
no two-way communication channel or virtually no two-way communication
channel with anybody. They sell chips, right? It’s hard to talk to a bag of
chips. Easy to get people to engage with an app and send you feedback that
they just didn’t have before. So, I would still say I don’t think it’s big
enough, it reaches a big enough base of their audience to make it more than
just a brand exercise, but it’s got to be super valuable to the company.

Robi: Yeah, and I think, thinking about it again from the brand
manager, marketing manager who’s trying to deal with this. You might not
see huge ROI on this, but if you’re not learning now what’s working, if
you’re not starting to build those layers into your media strategy, two
years from now, five years from now, you’re not going to know what you’re
doing and other people are. Frito-Lay is clearly out there experimenting,
which means they know that this is where the world is going.

So I think with that, let’s wrap it up. Make sure to like this video
on Youtube, subscribe to our channel Channel, and check out the other App
Marketing Conversations.

Ian: Thanks.

Ryan: Thank you.

About Robi Ganguly

Robi Ganguly is the Co-founder and CEO at Apptentive. He is passionate about giving customers a voice via mobile. Follow Robi on Twitter @rganguly.
View all posts by Robi Ganguly >

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