Office Depot Pushes School Supplies With Mobile Augmented Reality—And A Really Popular Band

Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) has come up with a clever way to push back-to-school supplies by integrating the sales effort with mobile augmented reality, a popular teen musical group and an equally hard-to-be-against social campaign to stop bullying. The interesting part is the layering effect, where each element builds into a seemingly unrelated element.

First, the back-to-school supplies feature images of the popular singing group (One Direction) and are limited-editions. Students need the supplies anyway so here's a reason to get them at Office Depot (which is not typically a teen's first choice for school supplies). The campaign features personal videos from band members talking about bullying issues and those videos are accessible through both in-store mobile and—get ready for the next hook—on the chain's mobile app. That app embeds Office Depot exclusive video from the group's members.

"By buying exclusive, limited-edition notebooks, binders, composition books, and more, you will help raise the funds for this educational campaign in schools across America," said Office Depot on its site for the campaign.

How does this augmented-retailer element work? Mobile Commerce Daily explained it best, starting with the customer launching the function from within the app's Bring It To Life tab: "The app then uses the mobile device's camera to line up the school supplies products within a frame. When the app recognizes a product, a video that showcases the band begins and gives users more information about the partnership between Office Depot and One Direction. When the video finishes, the app pulls in a landing page from Office Depot's mobile site. The microsite includes a link to a sweepstakes that consumers can enter to see One Direction in concert."

Gabriel Cabrera, business head for mobile at Office Depot, said that the app functions as "a portal into something Directioners love tremendously: content of the band behind the scenes."

For more:
- See Mobile Commerce Daily story
- See Office Depot's page describing the campaign
- See Examiner story
- See Office Depot statement

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