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Denny’s boosts QR code, augmented reality strategy with social campaign

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November 7, 2013

This is Denny's second mobile-driven promotion for The Hobbit

Restaurant chain Denny’s is continuing to rely on augmented reality and QR codes with Warner Bros. movie “The Hobbit” this holiday season with a campaign that integrates social media.

The new promotion also includes a strong social element giving The Hobbit fans a chance to win exclusive gold coins from the latest installment of the trilogy on Denny’s social channels. The strategy builds off of last year’s promotion, which featured QR codes and delivered over 400,000 engagements.

“It was our most successful promotion of all of last year,” said Erik Jensen, director of advertising and merchandising at Denny’s Corp., Spartanburg, SC. “It was a great interaction between our guests and our brand and The Hobbit property.

“We are repeating a couple of elements that we did last year,” he said. “In addition, we added Layar.

“This is another way for us to engage our audience. It is easy, it is fun, it is free. It provides value for our customer and a wait buster while they are waiting for their food.”

Exclusive content drives engagement
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be released on Dec. 13, 2013.

It is a follow-up to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which was released last year.

Mobile plays a key role in bringing Denny’s promotional tie-in with the film to life for diners, with placemats in all of the chains 1,680 locations featuring three QR codes and an augmented reality experience.


The Denny’s placemat features QR codes and an augmented reality experience

One of the QR codes links to exclusive content from the film from Warner Bros. while another links to a behind the scenes look at Denny’s TV ad for the promotion.

The third QR code links to a mobile social game called Hobbit Kingdom of Middle Earth.

Last year’s promotion featured four different QR codes, with each receiving on average 100,000 scan per QR code. The most scanned QR code was the one linking to exclusive content from the film, receiving approximately 131,000 scans.

Brand interaction
To activate the augmented reality engagement, diners must first download the Layar app on their smartphones. They can then hold their phones of a sketch drawing from the movie that appears on the menu to launch an interactive augmented reality experience.

Diners can swipe through different original sketch drawings of characters and sets.

Denny’s Web site and social channels will also get in on the promotion and will feature a variety of film-inspired games, activities and a series of social posts showing fans how to speak Elvish.

Fans will also have the chance to win exclusive “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” gold coins, which will be found on Denny’s social channels.

Denny’s will also be offering a menu featuring seven dishes inspired The Hobbit films that will be available for a limited time. New items include Bilbo’s Breakfast Feast, Hobbit Hole Breakfast, Smaug’s Fire Burger and Dwarves’ Turkey and Dressing Dinner.

“It is looking to engage with this audience with a different form of communication,” Mr. Jensen said. “They are used to seeing QR codes.

“It is a really cool technology allows us to provide exclusive content to these guests in a different way,” he said.

“There is no greater merchandising than the placemat, especially once you’ve ordered and you are waiting. This gives you something to do and a way to interact with the brand.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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