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Macy’s puts mobile video in back-to-school campaign

Similar to many others this season, retailer Macy’s is leveraging video for its back-to-school campaign by requesting user submissions for chances to win prizes for their schools.

Given a prevalence of video consumption via mobile devices, Macy’s, like others, are gearing their campaigns toward users’ most frequent activities, aiming to fit conveniently in the busy schedules of young consumers. Macy’s campaign mirrors this strategy and gives participants the ability to represent their school, giving consumers more of a reason to participate.

“Today’s tech savvy young consumers turn to their cellphones for so much more than making calls,” said Jennifer Kasper, general vice president of digital media & multicultural marketing at Macy’s, New York. “From taking photos and video to share on social media to downloading fun and experiential apps, mobile has become an integral part of their daily lives.

“Our back-to-school contest is an initiative that allows us to connect with students in a fun and fresh way. Mobile technology has given consumers access to video cameras at the tips of their fingers, making creation of video as easy as picking up their favorite accessory and pressing record.”

To participate, users can submit up to one lib-dub video performed to a remix of Tim Myer’s version of the Beach Boys song Be True To Your School. The winning entry will receive $25,000, the second place occupant will receive $15,000 and third place will take home $10,000.

Given the contest involved a lip-dub, participants are not required to vocally sing, but must incorporate a choreographed routine that is filmed in a single, continuous take. Users cannot record the audio while filming, as audio must be inserted while editing.

Macy’s officials also require that the video be taken on school property and school attire is encouraged. The retailer likely enforces these types of rules to promote school spirit and school involvement.

Once users create a lib-dub video of the entire song, they can submit their creation anytime between September 4 and October 10 on Macy’s YouTube channel.

Submissions should also include a summary explaining how the school could put the winning funds into good use.

Macy’s encourages students, faculty, and staff members of elementary, middle, high schools and colleges to participate.

The retailer will announce the winners late October.

Macy’s is furthering the campaign on foot by visiting colleges across the United States to invite them to shopping parties at participating Macy’s locations, where they can shop Macy’s newest products and receive mini manicures and makeovers.

Mobile campaigns, a specialty
Macy’s is assuredly a leader among mobile campaigns.

In March, Macy’s spring marketing campaign put a spin on integrating mobile with an in-application game enabling consumers to spin a flower-shaped wheel for a chance to win prizes.

The Spin & Win game in Macy’s mobile app gave users a chance to win a digital gift code worth between $10 and $500. For spring, Macy’s has also introduced a digital catalog with tablet-exclusive features and videos (see story).

Macy’s 2013 back-to-school campaign circled around mobile and social as key ways to connect with college students.

The retailer used SMS and a mobile microsite in its campaign to give away a $500 gift card. Macy’s continually turns to mobile in its seasonal campaigns since its core demographic is heavily tech-savvy (see story).

Macy’s mobile efforts have garnered an extensive consumer base and brand loyalty among its fans.

“When Macy’s creates a campaign aimed at students and the Millennial generation as a whole, it’s important for those programs to feel organic to their lifestyle,” Ms. Kasper said. “For the back-to-school season, Macy’s wanted to merge the students’ energy and excitement of starting the school year with an engaging program that would allow us to connect with this important consumer.

“We chose YouTube as our platform for hosting the All-School Lip Dub Challenge, given the percentage of video uploads and viewing that happen via mobile devices. By designing a campaign that allows for use of mobile technology, we’ve made it easy and fun to participate in the program.”

Final Take?
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Commerce Daily, New York