August Allure Giveaway Gets 200,000 Mobile Scans in First 3 Days

By Steve Smith

In the world of mobile scan codes, the August 2010 Allure magazine, which attracted more than 444,000 bar code activations, still stands as the single most successful use of the format we have seen. And they are on target to shatter that record easily with this August’s “Free Stuff” issue. “We broke 200,000 scans in three days,” says Marie Jones, general manager, digital media, Allure. As with last year’s record-breaking effort, the high levels of engagement are being driven by a daily contest using Microsoft Tag codes. Thirty-three tags appear in the issue, and each lets the user sign up for product sample and gift giveaways that occur several times a day. Fifteen minutes before the contest opens for anything from a single designer handbag to one of hundreds of lipstick samples, the user gets an SMS reminder to scan in a special tag from the magazine for a chance to win.

“It has been phenomenal,” says Jones. While publishers have had mixed results from mobile code integrations over the years, Allure seems to have broken through with its annual tag-fest. Jones says that the campaign works because it provides a real service to readers. “It is based on the concept of sampling – the number one driver of sales in the beauty category.” And the effort leads with editorial. The editors craft the “Free Stuff” issue and decide which products to highlight and only then go to the manufacturers to see if they want to participate in the giveaways.

No sponsor is attached to this mobile effort, but the campaign is generating leads and usage data that ultimately can help the sales effort. After last year’s success, Allure already had 25,000 registered users ready to go this year.  The project this year was crafted to leverage that relationship and interactivity more effectively. There is more opportunity for users to share the program with others and to opt in to receiving more information from Allure and its ad partners.

Reflecting on last year, “The opt-in levels were pretty good,” says Jones, “and there was a respectable conversion to subscriptions.” With a greater emphasis on retaining these mobile sign-ups for later messaging, Allure is hoping to develop a new channel for content distribution. “We can use it for content like a beauty tip of the day,” she says.