Papa Johns and Netspend adopt augmented reality for eGift campaign
The recent promotion deployed WebAR technology to make dollar bills in the physical world actionable for consumers using their phones.
Papa Johns and Netspend recently plunged into augmented reality (AR) through an eGift promotion in partnership with Shaq’s Fun House presented by Netspend. Consumers learned about the campaign courtesy of the Instagram hub hosted by basketball great Shaquille O’Neal.
The AR experience began when users pointed their phone camera at a dollar bill. As a result of the WebAR technology developed by Videobomb, the image of the dollar bill connected users to the promotion, which invited them to sign up and receive a $10 eGift discount for Papa Johns.
“This was a new venture for Papa Johns,” said Jaclyn Ruelle, VP head of brand at Papa Johns. “We had not yet gone deep on AR experiences with our fanbase for no reason other than we just had not played in that space yet, but this definitely gives us great hope that there could be a future there for our fanbase.”
The promotion launched the Friday before the Super Bowl, a busy weekend for food orders. By Saturday morning, 5,000 eGift codes had been claimed.
This was the first AR activation for Netspend, and it was facilitated by Nashville-based agency FlyteVu, who recently launched a web3 practice.
Why we care. Ease-of-use is a question for any emerging technology, not to mention the wow factor of new AR experiences. When these bars are cleared, it’s worth marketers’ attention.
The Videobomb technology allows brands to make any object in the physical world become a digital billboard ad on a consumer’s mobile screen. It’s a peek into a future where products for sale on a store shelf or purchased items in a home all have a digital component accessible by phone.
Dig deeper: Experience, ecommerce and transformation for marketers in 2023
Easy to use, easy to launch. Because the Papa Johns/Netspend promotion used WebAR technology, consumers didn’t have to download an app to trigger the augmented experience. They also didn’t need any additional hardware, like a VR headset. They see the dollar bill come alive directly on their phone screen.
On the back end, marketers are given access to a no-code setup where brands upload the common object they want transformed, as well as the ad the object triggers. Videobomb founder and CEO Chad Marcum said the process is no more complicated than updating a photo on Facebook.
Democratizing AR. “Every brand has a story to tell,” Marcum said. “AR is the best way because it’s changing the way we interact with and look at the world around us. Every surface is an opportunity for advertising, education or providing more information.”
He added, “We can wrap a video around a product in a matter of minutes, and there’s no coding or app required. You select the trigger image you want and the video.”
The video then includes a call-to-action to drive the desired consumer behavior. And on the other side of the action, the Videobomb platform generates analytics so marketers can measure conversion rates and ROI.
“Any brand, with any budget, can create their own campaigns in literally minutes and for a low monthly fee,” said Marcum. “Our platform is focused on engagement and ROI — not just entertainment.”
Brands adopting AR. “I think there’s a level of legitimacy and authority gained from tapping into innovations like AR as a marketer,” said Diana Holgate, senior vice president of marketing at Netspend. “We continue to explore new ways to bring users and consumers into our product cycle, and frankly, as a payments company, showing our capabilities through new technologies and approaches is an angle we’re eager to continue pursuing.”
She added, ”As technology continues to proliferate into the hands of our target audiences, it is exciting to test new and innovative ways to grow engagement and visibility for our brand.
Celebrities accelerate tech adoption. Another key component for the Papa Johns and Netspend promotion was the partnership with Shaquille O’Neal’s IG hub. Brands often look to sports and music stars when pioneering new tech, as we saw last year with Under Armour’s Web3 efforts centered around their Curry Brand and Stephen Curry’s record-breaking on-court achievements.
“With a pre-existing relationship with Papa Johns, we know and value the impact [O’Neal] brings to our customers and in cross-collaborating with him across his social properties and showing up at his events,” said Ruelle. “Shaq’s fan following is one that is rabid and loyal and we continue to see great benefit in partnering with him long-term.”
Agency guidance and support. Although Videobomb’s technology is designed for easy adoption across brands and agencies, it was FlyteVu who brought in the tech for this promotion.
“Brands have to find ways to engage consumers where they are — on mobile devices — and in ways that keep their attention for longer,” said Laura Hutfless, co-founder of FlyteVu. “AR allows for a longer, more engaged experience and a deeper connection between the brand and the consumer. The Papa Johns and Netspend campaign was a success because we were able to create a unique, compelling experience that engaged consumers where they were (on Instagram) beyond just viewing content.”
She added, “AR should only be used when it can help a brand accomplish its KPIs better and faster. If you remove the AR component and still get the same results, then don’t use it.”
The eGift campaign went live at 7:12pm on February 10 and all 5,000 codes were redeemed by 8:19am the following morning.
Get MarTech! Daily. Free. In your inbox.