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Valpak tries augmented reality to drive contextually-relevant coupon redemptions

Valpak is rolling out an augmented reality component to its mailing envelopes that will give consumers access to coupons and offers.

The direct marketing company will incorporate augmented reality components into its August and September mailing envelopes. To create the geographically-aware coupons, the technology uses a location within a mobile application.

“Augmented reality is a mobile consumer engagement and offers discovery mechanism for our audience,” said Michael Vivio, president of Cox Target Media, Largo, FL.

“The augmented reality functionality we built into our app surfaces local offers in a geo-relevant context,” he said.

“Importantly, augmented reality ties in Valpak’s vast print distribution with our app on iOS and Android platforms to allow consumers to find and save money at their favorite local merchants. Valpak’s goal is to help consumers save at their favorite local businesses, and AR is another way consumers can find offers nearby.”

How it works
To activate the augmented reality components, consumers first download the Valpak mobile app, which is available for iPhone and Android devices.

Users can then tap on the augmented reality icon and then point their device at the envelope to unlock content.

The app then leverages the mobile device’s location to find nearby Valpak offers.

A radius of five feet to 25 miles is shown with the offers popping up off of the envelope.

Once the two-month promotion is over, the augmented reality section will continue to stay in the app so that consumers can scan additional augmented reality content from elsewhere.

Valpak’s promotion ties into a discount that the United States Postal Service offers to businesses to incorporate mobile components to their direct mail efforts.

According to the USPS, the promotion is designed to showcase how marketers can use augmented reality and near-field communications in their mailing campaigns.

Valpak’s iPhone app

Mobile past
Valpak has been working mobile into its direct mail efforts for quite some time.

The company first worked with augmented reality via a 2010 effort with junaio.

Then in 2011, Valpak worked with the USPS on a QR code initiative to include mobile bar codes on envelopes.

The company also worked with Twentieth Century Fox and last summer on a QR code campaign that drove ticket sales for the film “Ice Age: Continental Drift” (see story).

What is unique about this roll-out of augmented reality is the focus on using location to trigger contextually-relevant coupons.

Valpak has seen mobile offer usage grow by 500 percent year-over-year, showing the medium’s growth for direct mail marketers.

“Mobile is a key growth distribution channel and one that consumers are increasingly utilizing to find ways to save money at home, work and at play,” Mr. Vivio said.

“Valpak is helping merchants connect with consumers through a variety of channels,” he said.

“With Valpak’s year-over-year mobile channel and offer usage growth exceeding 500 percent, Valpak will continue to incorporate mobile as an important consumer touch point through our mobile Web site, app and through our syndication network.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York