- 7-Eleven is collaborating with sports drink company BodyArmor and the NCAA on a March Madness augmented reality (AR) experience for the convenience store chain's loyalty program members. An AR menu in the 7-Eleven app lets college basketball fans take sharable BodyArmor selfies and play a three-point shootout mini-game to earn 7Rewards points redeemable on future purchases, according to an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- 7-Eleven worked with Zappar, whose software development kit is embedded in the chain's mobile app, to create the content for the BodyArmor campaign. The convenience store used Zappar's AR content creation toolkit, ZapWorks Studio, to create the digital imagery that mobile users can activate and share on social media.
- The campaign will run through April 10, two days after the men's college basketball tournament wraps up with a championship game. 7-Eleven and Zappar first collaborated last May on AR experiences that coincided with the release of "Deadpool 2" in theaters.
7-Eleven and BodyArmor's AR-enhanced campaign may help to boost foot traffic as mobile consumers perform actions to win rewards points they can redeem in stores. The brands aren't alone in gamifying the March Madness tournament with AR features in apps. Turner Sports last week unveiled a mobile game that lets college basketball fans work out their March Madness frustrations by shooting virtual baskets on Instagram.
The tie-in with the NCAA college men's basketball comes as brands spend heavily to reach audiences that get swept up in following their favorite teams or predicting results with tournament brackets. Ratings for the first five days of the tournament rose 8% from a year earlier, although TV ad spending is slightly down, per iSpot.tv data cited by MediaPost. The lower spending may signal that brands are shifting their budgets away from traditional platforms to social media, where the NCAA March Madness so far has seen 56% more engagements than a year earlier.
7-Eleven has been active with mobile promotions over the past year, some of which include interactive AR experiences. The chain added football-related AR experiences to some of its stores to coincide with the start of the NFL's regular season. The promotion urged customers to visit stores to unlock football face filters and activities through the chain's mobile app. Participating stores also had scannable codes throughout aisles that let customers earn double 7Rewards points and unlock selfie experiences. For its "Deadpool 2" promotion — also in partnership with Zappar — 7-Eleven decorated stores with scannable "zapcodes" that customers could scan to unlock AR experiences.
For BodyArmor — in which Coca-Cola acquired a minority stake in last August — the AR promotion is its second campaign for March Madness. Last week, the sports drink brand launched a TV spot featuring NBA stars James Harden and Donovan Mitchell, challenging fans to fill out a bracket and see how their version measures up to those completed by the brand's roster of athletes.