Bolthouse Farms streamlines mobile coupon delivery via Instagram
By Chantal Tode
November 22, 2013
Bolthouse Farms leverages Instagram for coupon delivery
The Bolthouse Farms juice brand is leveraging image recognition technology to reward customers with a coupon who take a photo of one of its bottles via a smartphone and post it to Instagram.
With many consumers already posting their engagements with favored brands on social networks such as Instagram, Bolthouse Farms was looking for a way to reward this activity while making the process as seamless as possible. Based on strong initial results for the effort, the brand is considering making this the primary response mechanism for all of its marketing in 2014.
“The intention in using mobile for this campaign was to really try to reduce the friction and have us not ask consumers to go outside of their normal behaviors to engage with the brand,” said Amir Haque, partner at Tiny Rebellion, Santa Monica, CA.
“We knew that we wanted to have our target consumer engaging with the brand but they are typically not the type of customers that would do a lot for couponing and promotions," he said.
“So, we wanted to figure out a way that would allow them to engage with the brand that was lower friction.”
To develop the program, Bolthouse Farms partnered with advertising agency Tiny Rebellion, digital technology agency Wildlife, and RevTrax, a marketing technology company.
Bolthouse Farms and Tiny Rebellion noticed that the brand’s customers were already taking pictures of themselves drinking a bottle of juice and posting it to Instagram, and the company wanted to find a way to reward customers for this behavior.
Tiny Rebellion built a solution that leverages image recognition technology to automatically match photos posted to Instagram against an image database to verify that it is actually a Bolthouse Farms product.
Using the Instagram API, Bolthouse Farms puts messages in the comments for an authenticated photo letting customers know that their photo has been verified and providing them a link to download and print out a $1.50-off coupon.
The photo needs to be posted to a customer’s public Instagram profile.
“By using image recognition technology, it actually is asking for a higher level of engagement from the consumer,” Mr. Haque said.
“It is all done through the Instagram API and Instagram authentication of the user, so we are able to really reduce a huge portion of the friction in this and to do it without asking a consumer to download a QR reader or do something that is outside of their norm,” he said.
Key response mechanism
The program, which launched on Oct. 24, is currently being promoted on social media and in all of Bolthouse Farm’s digital marketing, encouraging customers to take a photo of any Bolthouse Farms product or billboard and then post it to Instagram with the hash tag #carrotfarmers and #gotcoupon.
Based on the success of the effort so far, Bolthouse Farms is planning to roll it out more broadly next year.
“We are planning to ultimately turn this into the key response mechanism to all of our advertising,” Mr. Haque said. “You could imagine seeing a billboard or some sort of out of home posting and the call to action being 'Take a photo of this and hash tag it and we will send you a coupon.'
“We are just scratching the surface on what you can use something like this for,” he said.
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York
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