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Meredith Corp. brings magazine pages to life via augmented reality

Meredith Corp. is rolling out a mobile application that incorporates augmented reality to let readers unlock additional content from their favorite magazines.

The Mom+ app works with the June and July issues of Meredith?s Parents, American Baby, FamilyFun and Ser Padres magazines. Meredith tapped Nellymoser to help develop the app.

?About a year ago, we enhanced all of our brands in the Parents Network by implementing responsive design and it was clear from our research that readers enjoyed a seamless experience across brand platforms,? said Carey Witmer, executive vice president of Meredith?s Parents Network, Des Moines, IA.

?The Mom+ app is another example of how we are investing in new technology to expand the opportunities for seamless brand experiences with our multi-channel brands,? she said

?We believe that our audience of mobile millennial moms is constantly multi-tasking with their media including magazines, tablets and smartphones and that by creating a single app we can deepen that engagement not only across multiple brands but with an audience of moms who are in the parent life stage.?

Mobile engagement
Meredith has rolled out the Mom+ app for iPhone and Android devices.

Mobile technology on the pages lets consumers either scan full pages in the magazine or QR codes, tags and digital watermarks that are placed throughout the issue.

There is also additional digital content that is accessible via the app.

For example, a recipe for blueberry pie from Parents magazine is available via the app. There is also a shoppable guide from Parents with deals on beauty products.

Family Fun magazine on the other hand is pushing out a gallery of photos of barn items via the app.

Kraft is the launch sponsor of the app, which includes a placement in the video section of the app. The brand is promoting its Kraft Singles line of cheeses, which includes a 30-second video that shows consumers how to use the company?s products to make cheeseburgers.

There is also a mobile-activated ad from Kraft in Meredith magazines.

According to Nellymoser, Meredith is the first publisher to have a cross-branded companion app for its publications. Other publishers have either a single-title branded apps or integrate into third-party apps.

For example, last year the company rolled out eight of its lifestyle magazines to Google Play (see story).

Additionally, the publisher standardized its mobile bar code initiatives in 2011 (see story).

?This app is part of a larger trend of mobile-activated media and second-screen companion viewing apps,? said John Puterbaugh, executive vice president and chief digital officer at Nellymoser, Arlington, MA.

?In this case the Mom+ app ? a magazine companion app ? provides the editorial team with a vehicle for engaging readers by offering additional and enhanced content. The mobile phone acts as a bridge to extend the depth and richness of content they are able to offer straight from the printed page,? he said.

?For the advertiser, they are able to make their print spend work harder. The advertisements can drive a reader to a physical store, enhance their branding through video, unlock coupons, offer product sampling, drive sign-ups and opt-ins.  Mobile-activated print provides a direct way to activate brands and content.?

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