going mobile

GoldRun Hits an Augmented Reality Home Run with Bloomingdale's, NBC and the Playboy Bunnies

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 19, 2011 10:49 AM

Now out of Beta, GoldRun's smartphone platform uses objects as ‘virtual breadcrumbs’ for scavenger hunts and branded campaigns with pots of social commerce gold at the end of the digital rainbow. It engages users real-time with an interactive experience that yields real world rewards.

It strutted its stuff at the recent Fashion's Night Out event in New York, partnering with Bloomingdale’s and NBC on “Look the Part, Be the Part,” the first co-braned cross-industry promotion to use augmented reality.

Running through Sept. 26, shoppers at Bloomingdale’s 44 stores nationwide can participate in a photo opp with virtual characters from NBC’s fall lineup by downloading the free app, and are eligible to win a trip to Los Angeles for an on-set visit or a grand prize trip to Chicago for a walk-on role in NBC's new series, The Playboy Club.

In addition to posing with bunnies from The Playboy Club, Bloomie’s reps with GoldRun- loaded iPads are on hand to snap photos for customers with virtual cast members from four other new NBC shows: Whitney (starring Whitney Cummings), Free Agents, Prime Suspect with Maria Bello, and Up All Night, featuring Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett.

GoldRun iterates mobile check-ins from e-commerce to v-commerce (virtual commerce) adding the social layer as users can share their GoldRun activity on networks like Facebook and Twitter for additional rewards. 

“Your city is a game board and you’re the chess piece. Using GPS and hot zones, it’s all hyperlinked,” Vivian Rosenthal, Founder and CEO of GoldRun, told brandchannel about what GoldRun offers brands. “It’s a seamless experience for the user, reaching them outside of invisible walls and there’s no overhead for the retailer or advertiser,” said Rosenthal.

The model yields “secondary marketing collateral for brands. We already have 800 photos from the Bloomingdale’s campaign,” she added.

“This campaign hints at the expanding possibilities for using augmented reality in retail environments. With the integration of location and context, along with photo-taking and sharing, we’ve set ourselves apart in the mobile ad space by creating a new virtual goods economy mapped onto the real world,” said Rosenthal.

That virtual goods economy opens a channel of AR-POS, augmented reality point-of-sale. Different from virtual reality which is simulated, augmented reality places virtual elements into real-world settings, real time, creating site-specific promotions via GPS geotagging.

Launched in November 2010 with $1.2 million from angel investors including Ed Mathias, Carlyle Group, Jeremy Zimmer, UTA, Mark Ein and Jonathan Ledecky, GoldRun has worked with Tommy Hilfiger, HBO, Esquire, Universal Pictures, Living Social, H&M, Esquire, Barnes & Noble, Universal Pictures, A&E Networks and Interscope Records and Airwalk,

Airwalk’s campaign for a limited edition shoe, the Jim, popular with skateboarders, let visitors to NYC’s Washington Square or LA’s Venice Beach shop on the spot in a virtual pop-up store stocked with 300 pairs. Inventory sold out in 24 hours.

Earlier this year, Esquire magazine cooked up a stunt with Brooklyn Decker' for their February cover inviting shoppers to snap their photo with her image in 700 Barnes & Noble stores, while a virtual scavenger hunt invited fans to find the re-engineered Esquire logo in seven cities to win prizes including an iPad.

Rewards become the advertisements and brands the purveyors of cool offers through fun experiences. “AR is non-linear and redefines who owns the space. It creates revenue with resonance,” said Rosenthal.

As for what’s next, she added: “A promotion of a major film, but I can’t say more right now. And a vinyl toy scavenger hunt. We’d also like to move into television which is a passive medium. Imagine taking a bite out of a virtual Whopper from a commercial, posting it on Facebook and instantly joining a contest all from your living room.”

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