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Welch's approach to philanthropy falls sour with mobile

Welch?s has launched the first mobile social responsibility campaign in Puerto Rico to implement mobile bar codes as a tool for empowering consumers to support nonprofits. However, the effort falls short with a process that requires consumers to complete multiple steps.

The Sé bueno de corazón ? or Be Good at Heart ? initiative aims to raise funds for Friends of the Cardiovascular Center Foundation in the Caribbean, through the mobile application Mojo Tags, which allows consumers to interact and access customizable content about the campaign through materials on Welch?s beverage products in 40 grocers across Puerto Rico. The decision to implement QR codes is interesting given the drop-off of the technology over the past couple of years.

?This technology is good in theory but is not necessarily an effective means of encouraging behaviors from consumers because of the effort involved,? said Cezar Kolodziej, president and CEO of Iris Mobile, Chicago.

?Users are required to download an app, understand a new process, and execute it effectively ? often onsite in a store when they are in the middle of an errand run. This process would be better achieved via mobile messaging, which is a natural behavior on the phone,? he said.

?Displaying a ?text to? opt-in in-store and sending a confirmation response with a link to the donation site makes good sense and is a more efficient and effective way to generate the same end user behavior that is the goal of the Mojo Tag campaign.?

Mr. Kolodziej is not affiliated with Welch?s. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Welch?s did not respond to press inquires.

Grape intentions
Mojo Tags allows iPhone users to connect to brand information through relevant video and content by scanning bar codes and watermarks found on print materials.

The Mojo Tags app
When the ad is scanned, a user is immediately connected to content from which they receive product information, coupons, videos, ringtones, wallpaper and other pieces of content.

Sé bueno de corazón supports the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Cardiovascular Center of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, the only institution that performs juvenile cardiovascular surgeries locally.

The Foundation can be donated to through social media or mobile sites

The Center attributes heart health to the consumption of 100 percent Concord grape juice, and celebrates the second time Welch?s has supported the institution.

The movement seeks to educate communities though its Facebook page as well, where users can find advice for maintaining a healthy heart.

Welch?s Facebook post :?Taking your pet for a walk is a good physical activity."

Through the vine
While Mojo Tags recognizes multimedia embedded within product packaging, its attempt to connect consumers with brands and campaigns may be futile.

The technology requires significant effort from consumers.

Even though the app enables users to scan tagged content in packaging or ads, which can direct them to make a donation to the charity from their mobile device, the users must have the app downloaded and understand the process of scanning the right content to guide them to this step.

Welch's Puerto Rico reaffirms its commitment to Puerto Rico to support the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Hospital Cardiovascular

Although Mojo Tags attempts to reach consumers through devices that are always in hand, their mission to turn desire and intention into social responsibility and action falls short. Consumers are most likely to act if the effort is minimal and the behavior is natural.

To generate great results for non-profit efforts, brands need to understand basic considerations and craft campaigns accordingly.

"Welch's has a high, possibly insurmountable, bar to climb given the limited use and even consumer knowledge of mojo tags," said Jeff Hasan, Seattle-based chief marketing officer at Mobivity.

"Often, the most successful campaigns are ones that tap into interests and activities of mobile users. Trying something new may make news, but not make a successful campaign," he said. "Hopefully, there will be other ways for consumers to engage."

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York