Like most western media, print ad sales revenue have been declining here for several years. As digital ad sales revenue increase, Ekstra Bladet has been working on how to integrate ad sales to the newspaper, Web site, and mobile site to sell cross-media campaigns.

Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet has a circulation of 60,000 and enjoys 250,000 to 300,000 daily readers. Its Web site is Denmark’s most visited, with more than 500,000 daily users. Ekstra Bladet also has Denmark’s largest mobile site, with more users than all other competitors on the top 10 list combined.

In late 2011, Ekstra Bladet began to explore the synergy between print + digital ads with augmented reality. Volkswagen was preparing to launch VW Up! in Denmark and wanted an innovative digital “gimmick” to attract its target group of young, well educated, digital-savvy people in their 30s. 

Ekstra Bladet launched an augmented reality campaign with Volkswagen in March 2012. The campaign elements were:

  • A print ad: Althought it didn’t show the Up! car, it told readers to watch Up! coming up from the floor and told them how they could do that.

  • An app: The augmented reality solution where the car comes up from the floor in the printed ad requires a smartphone or iPad for viewing. Users could scan the barcode in the print ad to access the app.

  •  A video: A video of the user experience was posted on YouTube.

The print ad ran in Ekstra Bladet as well as in another Danish paper (MetroXpres) and in a concert programme (Grøn concert) in the summer 2012. It also received significant PR during its launch, and Ekstra Bladet held a seminar, which attracted more than 100 advertisers interested in learning about the use of augmented reality.

The original goal to get 5,000 downloads was reached before summer 2012, the is still being downloaded, even though it is no longer advertised. In December 2012, there were 11,900 downloads from the iTunes App Store and 2,487 from Android Market.

The launch of VW Up! is one of the most successful launches of a small car in Denmark ever, due both to an excellent campaign and that it was advertising a good car for a reasonable price. As the first advertiser in Denmark to use augmented reality, VW has shown a strong link between innovation in car development and the courage to go new ways in marketing as well.

Ekstra Bladet has had very positive feedback from advertisers asking about similar campaigns. The augmented reality case study helped the newspaper establish its image as an innovative media partner in the Danish market.