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Smartphone app takes Postmedia advertising campaign to new multi-media levels

12 May 2013 · By Maggie Greyson

Use of augmented reality application in Nissan campaign combines print + digital for impressive results across the news media company.

When Nissan wanted to launch an innovative new campaign for its new Altima, it turned to Postmedia Integrated Advertising’s internal custom projects team, named 3i.

As a result, Nissan was able to deliver an effective, award-winning advertising campaign that transcended print and enveloped the digital space as well.

Brainstorming for the ad campaign, which ultimately ran in 10 of Postmedia’s local newspapers, crossed multiple departments, including editorial, mobile, video, print, automotive, sales, and production in a search for something that would be truly innovative and still relevant to Nissan’s early-adopter demographic.

The brainstorming led to the use of Layar, an applications for iPhones and Android smartphones that transforms print into an interactive medium.

Using augmented reality, or AR, the Layar app incorporates voice, images, and videos into a traditional print space. Readers could hold their mobile device up to the page, then access the digital content connected to that page.

Postmedia went to publishers across the Postmedia network and organised additional ad tickers across every available print page in their network on the day of the campaign’s launch.

Because AR is such a new application and had not been used by publishers in North America, Postmedia also took on the responsibility of educating users about the technology.

Postmedia realised it must educate the readers about augmented reality before launching the Nissan campaign, and ran a special eight-week editorial series, called “Digital Life,” in the Financial Post.

In conjunction with the series, Postmedia also published a weekly marketing feature on augmented reality, a Nissan ad augmented with Layar, and user instructions in print and online publications for all 10 local newspapers. It also ran in the National Post.

Working closely with TBWA, Nissan’s creative agency, 3i developed a series of print and digital custom marketing pieces. Postmedia even shared with a competing newspaper brand to expand the audience education initiative and worked closely with both Layar and TBWA to improve the experience for everyone from programmers and designers to advertisers and readers. 

The advertising campaign was so powerful that it reached 8 million readers in a single day, dominating print, online, and mobile news properties. The results were significant and pleasing both to Postmedia and to the advertiser:

  • Canadians responded with enthusiasm on the launch day and weeks after when the Nissan Launch Pad was published, with 6,500+ page views with an impressive 42% CTR (click-through rate).

  • Test drives of the Altima increased by 65%.

  • Numerous articles have now been published about Postmedia, Layar, Nissan, OMD, and the Toronto Star for their collaborative work.

Postmedia also gained the distinction of being the first publisher to use Layar in augmented print in North America. The news media company continues to publish new content in both editorial and advertising environments with successful results. 


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The Ideas Blog captures the practical discussions and case studies of news media company to grow revenue, audience, and brand. These case studies are written by INMA members for INMA members. Begun in December 2012, this content previously resided in Ideas Magazine; for an archive of past case studies, click here.


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Dawn McMullan is the editor of the Ideas Blog and senior editor for INMA. If you are an INMA member and would like to contribute a case study, please contact Dawn directly by clicking here.


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