Office Depot Teams Up With R5 for Back-to-School Campaign

Retailer layers social, video into augmented reality

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Office Depot is the latest retailer to bet on augmented reality to target millennial back-to-school shoppers this year. The retailer is launching a mobile campaign for the second year that integrates image recognition into its shopping app.

This year’s effort plays up the brick-and-mortar experience more than last year, with interactive in-store displays. "Last year was more product-based—this year we have the opportunity to have kids personalize whatever items they like," said Stephanie Gutierrez, vp of retail marketing at Office Depot. "It’s all about what inspires kids."

Calls to action around OfficeMax and Office Depot stores prompt shoppers to download the company’s branded app. The app is triggered by a 6-ft. by 8-ft. display showing an empty stage. Once the app detects the display, augmented reality overlays a video of alternative rock band R5 that shoppers can pose next to. Fans can then take screen grabs or share the video via Facebook so that they can access it later.

Office Depot’s promo also includes a free mobile-enabled sheet of stickers with the purchases of $75 or more. Scanning stickers with the app unlocks video content from R5 and a code to redeem four free songs.

Similar to this year’s campaign, last year’s campaign also built augmented reality into its app to promote a collection of office supplies featuring the band One Direction. The company claims that the effort drove 150,000 app downloads.

Paid media includes three pre-roll video ads and some social posting that targets R5’s fan group. "One of the really big things we learned last year was around the One Direction affinity group and how we can tap into some of the most influential online voices within the fan group to help us spread the message," said Emery Skolfield, Office Depot’s senior director of digital marketing.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.