P&G's CoverGirl goes all out on mobile to liven up print media buy

Procter & Gamble's CoverGirl is experimenting with several different ways to leverage mobile to activate its print advertising in magazine, including QR codes, augmented reality and shoppable ads.

In Allure?s September issue, CoverGirl included a QR code on a tearaway that leads to a listing of CoverGirl offers, and in the tablet version, CoverGirl integrated a shopping feature into its ads. In Vogue, on the other hand, CoverGirl used a complex augmented reality feature via Blippar technology.

?The primary benefit of QR over AR is adoption, as of yet, there isn't a standard AR experience,? said Frank Lipari, creative strategist of Fetch, San Francisco.

?Currently QR sits at about 27 percent adoption in the United States of people who have scanned a QR code, which isn't bad but isn't great either,? he said.

?Most AR advertising experiences begin with a QR code that directs to a mobile site or an app that then gets the AR experience going. This isn't what CoverGirl is doing, but it's noteworthy on the part of Blippar because it circumvents an entire step in the engagement process.

Mobile CoverGirl
In the September issue of Vogue, CoverGirl placed a two-page ad for its new look that is based off of the Hunger Games upcoming film, "Catching Fire."

At the bottom of the ad there is an  of the Blippar logo and copy that reads, ?Blip each image to unveil exclusive content, and unlock another haute district look!? Below that is copy that says, ?Download Blippar app free.?

When a reader scans the page with the Blippar app, an augmented reality feature brings the page to life and offers readers four options: a sneak peak of the movie, a how-to video, a timelapse of the making of the ad and a poll. The poll asks readers to choose which of the 12 districts they would like to see next.

As opposed to this complex ad, the ad in Allure is fairly straightforward. A CoverGirl tearaway showcases a QR code with copy that reads, ?Scan here for more savings from CoverGirl.?

When readers scan the QR code, they are directed to a mobile microsite that lists CoverGirl deals and the magazines that offer them. For example, there was an offer for $3 off any two CoverGirl nail products in the May issues of People and Good Housekeeping.

CoverGirl included a slightly more complex feature in the tablet version of Allure. It used ShopAdvisor?s platform to allow consumers to purchase straight from an in-app ad (see story).

Different technologies
By using different technologies in different outlets, CoverGirl is showing that it is trying to appeal to a wider audience while also targeting technology to specific audiences.

Instead of sticking with QR codes for all of its advertising, it is catering to the different readers of Allure and Vogue.

?Both magazines are female-heavy and sit with a median age around 36, but Vogue has twice the number of male readers, who tend to be more interested in tech,? Mr. Lipari said. ?Furthermore, from a psychographic perspective, Vogue's content is geared toward luxury/aspirational, so its target demo has a better chance of being more open to new tech experiences.?

Additionally, by using different technologies in different ads, CoverGirl will be able to analyze how consumers take to the different mobile tactics and use that information for future campaigns.

?Mobile is important to beauty brands because it provides another level of engagement with its consumers, and these engagements can be quantified thanks to the technology inherent in mobile advertising/marketing and can be learned/built upon to provide better products/experiences to its consumers in the future,? Mr. Lipari said.

?The personal nature of the mobile really should be considered as an extension of the person, not a device,? he said. ?This is the lasting benefit of mobile.?

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York