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Calgary Stampede Store Contest Stirs Curiosity

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In the summer of 2011 Mezzo Interactive Inc. partnered with the Calgary Stampede Store (CSS) to create a scavenger-hunt styled contest to test the uptake of QR code technology in the context of a world-class event. Our primary objectives were to: raise the visibility of the CCS and its various locations at the event, increase traffic to the stores, position CSS as a leader in using technology for marketing, and test the various applications of QR code technology. The contest prize was an iPad2(TM).
 
HOW IT WORKED
Mezzo adopted a multi-pronged approach to the deployment of QR code technology. Our primary focus was the contest but we also wanted to learn how QR codes might serve customers in providing product information and wanted to test responses to push notifications of prizes from the CSS. All prize notifications were sent out via the CSS app designed for the event, as well as by email.
 
To promote the contest, we designed and produced a variety of Western-themed print materials including posters, flyers, signage, and t-shirts. Park visitors could enter the contest several ways: by using their smartphones to scan a QR code on the back of our street team's t-shirts, on one of 22 posters at the eight store locations throughout the Stampede park, on a portable sign that our teams carried, or on one of the 1/4 page flyers we had printed. Each of those product codes was unique, for reasons to be explained below. Upon scanning the code, users were presented with the opportunity to submit a contact email address (no other data was collected in this event) as their entry and to choose whether or not to download the free CCS app (in iOS, BlackBerry and Android formats) designed by Mezzo specifically for the event. Alternatively, event guests without smartphones could enter the contest by visiting a URL provided by Mezzo street team members. Our street team carried an iPad that people could use to enter immediately.
 
To participate in the contest, users only had to submit their email one time BUT they could increase their chances of winning by scanning codes on every one of the posters mounted on CSS locations around the park, on one of the street team's t-shirts, and on one of the small flyers. Since each poster had a unique code, and each product line (flyers, t-shirts) had a unique code, participants could accumulate up to 22 entries in the contest. A small percentage of users collected all 22 codes throughout the course of their time spent on the Stampede Park during the event.
 
Other applications: By scanning QR codes on products at the CSS locations (particularly the annual buckle featured at the event and a special promotional medallion) shoppers could learn more about the history their production and design. Small posters with QR codes could also be scanned to download a graphic of all CSS locations on the event grounds.
 
OUTCOMES
The event was a success on many fronts. A winner walked away with an iPad2(TM), and the profile of the CSS locations on the park was highlighted. Most importantly, however, our interaction with thousands of visitors provided valuable insights into the dynamics, challenges, and possibilities of deploying QR code technology on a large scale. We would gladly discuss those insights with anyone interested in incorporating QR code technology into their ongoing branding strategies.