Cracker Jack is to baseball as America is to tradition. Rings, temporary tattoos and plastic figurines stuffed deep between layers of caramel popcorn and peanuts—it has always been the same.
Not this year. In a recent company move to dress the 125-year-old brand’s nostalgia and customer loyalty up for the millennial generation, Cracker Jack swapped its time-honored plastic toys for an assortment of four machine-readable, trackable matrix barcodes. The new prizes, unboxed by Frito-Lay in April 2016, take the form of QR codes that link to four baseball-themed digital games available for download on the Blippar app—allowing yesterday’s plastic toys to meet today’s consumer demand for engaging brand experiences.
The prize plays off Cracker Jack’s connection to baseball, a bond immortalized in the years since American songwriter Jack Norworth wrote “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in 1908. The new toy offering, no surprise, is emblematic of the pressures advertisers face today. Advertisers are now charged with merging mass media interaction with economic driving forces in order to create an experience, according to a recent Adobe report.
“Today, we have the ability to create truly engaging and personal experiences for all our clients,” the report says. “The purpose of these experiences is to build relationships—real, lasting relationships.”
But when it comes to engagement, you can’t just focus on one device.
Engaging brand experiences only work when they are seamless. Advertisers need to stretch their limits in order to reach a larger audience across a variety of devices. It’s an important skill to master—because consumers today are constantly crossing the lines. Google reported record highs of “second-screen searching” after the 2016 Super Bowl, with 82 percent of TV-ad-driven searches coming from a smartphone device. Google’s report shows the increasing demand to be able to turn to a smartphone to search for more information after seeing something advertised on TV.
“That means that if you advertise on the big screen, you also have to think about how you engage people on the small screen. Be there, and be useful,” the report says. “For brands, that means a presence on the big screen isn’t complete without a strategy for the small screen, too.”
What does this tell us?
Real, lasting relationships will never come from fragmented experiences that do not add up across devices. They come from interactive, developed and personal connections consumers feel with brands. Pulling a plastic toy out of popcorn isn’t enough anymore.
Not sure where to start? Follow these tips and tricks to create engaging, seamless experiences:
- Hand control to the users—functionality is king. Take a multi-device approach to planning and make sure your mobile, tablet and—not or—desktop experience is intuitive. Implementing seamless, personalized experiences involves connecting points of contact across multiple devices, capitalizing on best-practice, device-specific design and functionality trends across mobile, tablet and desktop interfaces.
- Give users what they need first. This goes for event dates, contact information, gated submission forms, etc. Make sure users don’t have to look too far, on any device, to get the information they need fast. When it comes to getting the message right the first time, less is usually more.
- Keep things consistent. Create guidelines and follow them for all devices. Make sure users are able to recognize your brand promise throughout all interfaces.
- Grab information when you can. Don’t forget to include contact submission forms or create gated content in order to grab personal information, like an email address, to increase your lead generation rates and provide additional opportunities to connect with prospective customers.