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Dylan’s Candy Bar uses mobile scavenger hunt to bolster CRM

July 7, 2010

The Capture That Candy contest lets participants send pictures of candy from their handsets for the chance to win prizes.

The Capture That Candy contest lets participants send pictures of candy from their handsets for the chance to win prizes.

Dylan’s Candy Bar is engaging its customers with an in-store scavenger hunt called “Capture That Candy” that uses mobile image recognition technology to index email addresses and award mobile coupons.

Clues posted in Dylan’s Candy Bar retail locations prompt consumers to locate specific items within the store, take pictures of them with their mobile devices and email the pictures to a specified address for the chance to win mobile coupons. Dylan’s is using mobile developer LTU Technologies’ image recognition systems to detect whether the participants have located the correct items and to log their email addresses.

“The strategy was to create a fun and interactive game in the store for our customers,” said Dylan Lauren, founder/CEO of Dylan’s Candy Bar, New York. “We have some amazing visitors from all over the world and Capture That Candy is a way of rewarding them with a delicious instant prize. 

“The campaign targets our technology-savvy customers who like to shop online,” she said. “We know that sometimes it’s hard to come to the store and when customers email their answers to us, we add them to our sweet emails to keep them up to date about new and exciting candies or things going on in the store.

“This way they can have a piece of Dylan’s Candy Bar every day.”

Dylan’s Candy Bar was founded by Ms. Lauren – daughter of fashion magnate Ralph Lauren – and has locations in cities such as New York, Orlando and Houston.

LTU Technologies provides its “Lookthatup” image recognition technology to companies and governments worldwide.

“The strategy was to do something that’s a little bit different,” said Yanna Sigenlaub, director of global marketing for LTU Technologies, Paris. “Dylan’s Candy Bar’s main objective was to capture information about people who come into store.

“They wanted email addresses so they can target those people after their purchases,” she said. “[Dylan’s] also wanted a campaign that would be fun, new and wouldn’t require store visitors to fill out information.

“This platform provides more of an experience [than similar information-gathering initiatives] and is non-obtrusive.” 

The campaign, which launched on June 25, is Dylan’s first mobile initiative.

Scavenger hunts and CRM
Customers initiate the scavenger hunt by heading towards a wall in the store that has two different clues to solve.

Here is an example of an in-store call-to-action that prompts participants to solve the clues:


“Each clue has a different prize that is emailed directly to the customer’s phone, which can be redeemed in the store right then and there,” Ms. Lauren said. 

Participants can search the store for the items hinted at by the clues.

When they think they have found the correct candy, they can snap a picture of it with their handset and send the image to a specified email address.

LTU’s platform uses several parameters to identify if the image matches the candy item from the clue.

“We go in and create a signature, [which involves] taking an image of the item and placing it in a database,” Ms. Sigenlaub said. “[The system] indexes images based on points and shapes and features in the image.

“Every time a query is made – a photo taken with a mobile device is sent to the system – it creates a signature for that picture and matches it against the correct signature,” she said. “It all happens in a fraction of a second.

“We are just releasing a new version that’s optimized for mobile, and has a much higher probability of recognizing images even if they are taken from different angles or if there are people in front of the objects.”

The campaign logs participants’ email addresses and adds them to Dylan’s mailing list for future reference.

The LTU platform shares similarities with mobile bar code platforms that have gained in popularity recently.

For example, deals and discounts aggregatgor Shooger recently launched an application that claims to include mobile coupons from more than 50,000 merchants (see story).

What differentiates LTU’s technology is the way it manages integration.

“The main difference is you don’t have to add bar codes to your promotional materials,” Ms. Sigenlaub said. “In a store environment, for a lot of retailers, they don’t want their customers to have to look for bar codes.

“[Bar codes are] not always obvious, so it can be a lot easier to take a picture of something that’s on a shelf,” she said. “And, not all products have bar codes.

“This way, you can work with what you already have.”

Dylan’s has been pleased so far with the results, and is considering future mobile initiatives.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how our customers engage with Capture That Candy,” Ms. Lauren said. “It’s important that whatever we do next is something our customers have fun with.

“Seeing as no other retailer has used mobile devices in this way before, we want to see how this campaign performs before starting our next campaign,” she said. “But, from the initial feedback, our customers love the campaign and are having a lot of fun.

“We know how important mobile campaigns are going to be in the future and we’re excited to see how else we can incorporate it into the Dylan’s Candy Bar experience.”

Final Take
Peter Finocchiaro, editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

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