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Starwood leverages print ads for multichannel contentBy Tricia Carr
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is incorporating watermarks in print advertisements that display new content and editorial in the April issue of Saveur magazine.
Readers can access the ad’s content on their smartphones by pointing the phone’s camera at the full-page ad when the Digimarc application is loaded. The ad reveals content within the Digimarc app about Starwood’s Hawaii properties.
“We had previously advertised in this publication and we were looking for ways to drive users to the Web more effectively, if not sooner,” said Michael Troy, Honolulu, HI-based director of field marketing at Starwood. ”This initiative allowed us to have users go right to content while still reading a magazine without having to go to a desktop or laptop computer.
“The publication’s targeted audience matched the demographics we want to be in front of with a visual message,” he said. “It also allows us to more effectively measure print views by tallying those users that went to the link via the print ad link.”
Saveur magazine is published by Bonnier Corp. and is the first magazine of its genre to feature digital watermarking.
Digimarc Corp. creates content identification technologies that give smartphones the ability to see, hear and engage with all media platforms.
The Digimarc app, made for the iPhone and Android platforms, will display the digital ad content as soon as the app detects the digital watermark embedded in the magazine page.
The watermark is invisible to the eye, which makes the ad work as a separate entity if a reader does not use a smartphone or wish to download the app.
Starwood’s ad content that appears in the app after a glimpse at the watermark displays a menu of options for readers to explore properties in Hawaii such as The Luxury Collection and St. Regis.
Starwood’s Digimarc ad in the Saveur April issue
The ad offers video content, sharing options via email, Facebook and Twitter and links that allow the user to see offers and property details of each hotel.
The app can also access a smartphone’s dialing capabilities and make a direct call to a Starwood hotel to make a reservation.
Starwood is the first marketer to feature the in-app menu, a new template form Digimarc that lets users explore more parts of the ad in the Digimarc app rather than in an Internet browser, claims the brand.
“The increased use of mobile devices and digital readers and a preference to see as much visual content as possible by consumers led us to look further into this new technology,” Mr. Troy said.
The use of a digital watermark rather than a QR code gives readers a brand new experience that connects a print publication with mobile marketing without altering the design or layout of an ad, claims the Digimarc brand.
Starwood used the digital service so that the brand could create an aesthetically-pleasing ad without adding a QR code or bar code, Mr. Troy said.
In fact, More than one digital watermark can be incorporated into a single print page.
The technology can also be incorporated into audio and video with the Digimarc app’s use of a smartphone’s camera and microphone.
There are other smartphone-based technologies that luxury brands are using in place of QR codes.
For example, Ermenegildo Zegna, Alfred Dunhill and Net-A-Porter are all using Aurasma technology, a mobile app that detects a small “A” in a print or out-of-home ad that reveals exclusive content (see story).
Nonetheless, incorporation of mobile and other types of ads is important since it blends modern and traditional technology.
“The visual message and ability to target offers based upon the user’s that click-through to our special offers allows us to upsell as well as get the user access to even more visual content on the respective luxury brand property’s Web site,” Mr. Troy said.
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York
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