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Babies R Us leverages app for contest to drive awareness, sales

The Project Doodle Contest encourages kids to submit designs created on the app for a chance to have their creations included in the Truly Scrumptious line from model Heidi Klum. The content is meant to raise awareness for nonprofit Save the Children as well as a range of new t-shirts in the Truly Scrumptious line that were designed by Ms. Klum’s 6-year-old son.

“Mobile commerce is a quickly growing channel of consumer engagement, as shoppers increasingly use their smartphones to research gifts, get product reviews, compare prices and more,” said Kerry Smith, assistant manager of corporate communications at Toys R Us, Wayne, NJ. “To support the launch of the limited edition assortment of t-shirts designed by Heidi’s 6-year-old son, Johan, as part of her Truly Scrumptious collection, we looked for ways to offer our consumers a fun, unique and engaging experience.

“ is an open and free social drawing platform that has allowed Babies R Us to create a customized experience across Web and mobile environments for this initiative,” she said.

“And, as we continue to seek opportunities to engage with our customers and fans in the social space,, one of the fastest growing social drawing platforms, was the perfect partner to help us achieve our goals.”

Getting creative
The Project Doodle Contest launched last week, enabling children 8-years-old and younger to create and share their designs via Young artists can doodle their own designs right from a computer, iPad or mobile device using

Once a design is complete, entrants will be encouraged to add a title and publish their submission, virtually posting it to the online gallery.

Two designs will be chosen to be featured on t-shirts, which will be manufactured and sold in Babies R Us stores nationwide and online this fall as part of the Truly Scrumptious collection.

The app has been around for a couple of years and is available for iPad and desktop. It is a drawing pad with a wide range of colors, enables users to “Like” drawings and lets users follow other users whose drawings they like. is the latest example of an app built around imagery and supporting users’ creativity to gain traction with consumers and marketers. Other examples include Pinterest, Instagram and Draw Something.

Customer engagement
The Project Doodle Contest is designed to raise awareness for nonprofit Save the Children, which is a charitable partner of Babies R Us and has a history of showcasing the artwork of children.

The retailer recently donated $50,000 to the charity to provide support to young children in impoverished regions around the country.

Customers can tweet about the content on Twitter by following @Babiesrus and using the #ProjectDoodle hashtag.

The new t-shirt range and the contest will be supported with in-store signage, dedicated e-mail blasts and social media support via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

“We continue to look for ways to enhance our mobile capabilities and provide our customers with ways to engage in company initiatives,” Ms. Smith said.

“Through our Project Doodle Contest, little artists ages 8 and younger can doodle their own, unique design right from a computer, iPad or mobile device using,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York