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Holland America incorporates Microsoft Tags to encourage social sharing

Holland America Line?s new marketing effort incorporates Microsoft Tags in its print advertising to connect consumers with more information about cruise options and onboard amenities via a mobile Web-based experience.

The campaign is designed to encourage consumer engagement and social sharing of Holland America branded content. Tags appear in Holland America?s consumer magazine advertisements and brochures.

?The strategy is to provide cruisers and potential cruisers with an engaging brand experience that brings the Holland America Line onboard experience to life,? said Sally Andrews, vice president of public relations at Holland America, Seattle. ?A cruise is a considered and discretionary purchase.

?We know that in the consideration process, consumers want to experience as much as they can via videos and photos,? she said. ? contains extremely rich content in this regard, as well as virtual tours of staterooms and public areas onboard.

The Microsoft Tag technology is another innovative way to more actively engage the consumer in our brand experience and leverages the latest technology to do so.?

A scan away
When consumers scan the Microsoft Tag, a mobile site containing video and interactive Holland America content opens.

An example of one of the videos consumers can watch after scanning the Microsoft Tag

The desktop version of the mobile experience is delivered via a Facebook Page with links to specific content being shared.

The content and user interface are designed to encourage sharing and include a series of mobile-optimized videos and a mobile gallery displaying art collections aboard Holland America Line ships.

The Microsoft Tag Reader supports Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Java 2 Micro Edition, Symbian S60, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 smartphones.

The Tags appear in print advertising in publications such as Food & Wine, The New York Times Magazine and Travel + Leisure.

Tags also will appear in branded materials, product brochures and in Mariner Magazine, Holland America Line's quarterly loyalty magazine.

The campaign was developed by advertising agency Hey and technology firm 8ninths.

Rich media content
?As the number of consumers using smartphones increases, the tags create a way to easily and immediately transition from a traditional print exposure such as an ad, brochure or direct mail piece to a digital experience of our onboard offering and amenities,? Ms. Andrews said.

?And the ability to share these short videos with friends and family via social media sites makes it easier to plan a cruise together,? she said. ?As well, these are a great tool for our travel agent partners as they can also leverage these tags in the selling process to their customers.?

According to Holland America, the videos that consumers are connected to after scanning the bar code add dimension to the user?s experience.

If they see a print ad or are reading a brochure or piece of direct mail and want to know more about a particular topic ? for example the cruise line?s culinary offering ? they can use the Tag to watch a short video on this subject. This creates a more dynamic and engaging experience for them and brings a particular topic to life.

The social sharing feature makes it very easy for a user to get their friends or family excited about going on a cruise.

?It?s one thing to read about the various dining options you have on a cruise and see beautiful photo examples of the food ? it?s a different experience entirely to hear the Master Chef talking about the culinary offering, our newly formed Culinary Council of world-renowned chefs and to see the kitchen and dining venues in a video,? Ms. Andrews said. 

?Rich media content such as a video is highly engaging ? you can see, hear about and feel various aspects of the cruise you are considering, and a cruise is a highly experiential product,? she said. ?The more engaged a consumer can be with your brand in the consideration process, the more likely you are to gain them as a customer.

?The social sharing feature increases exposure opportunity for our brand with self-identified brand advocates who decide to share our message with their friends and family. The more frequent, engaged and active advocates you have for your brand, the more likely you are to create purchase results.?

Here is the Microsoft Tag created for Holland America. Scan it to experience the campaign for yourself.