In support of the January 2010 launch of Wheaties FUEL, General Mills required a robust online presence in order to support an agressive media plan for the product’s launch. Since the media plan included high-profile placements on ESPN mobile and Yahoo! Sports mobile, the need for a Wheaties mobile site was evident.
In addition to basic media support, the Wheaties brand team was looking for a better way of activating against their sizable event sampling programs. The solution that the Popular Front team presented to them was to connect real world events to online channels via 2D barcodes that, when scanned by smart phones, would resolve to an URL of choice.
Since the final proofs for the Wheaties event sample boxes needed to be sent to the printer as implementation plans were still being solidified, the Microsoft Tag barcode format was selected over the open-source QR Code format in order to provide the brand team with maximum flexibility for future implementations. For reference, the URL a Tag resolves to can be alter post printing while for all intents and purposes a QR Code’s URL is “hard-coded” as soon as it is rendered and/or printed.
The final plan was to create custom mobile landing pages for the higher profile sampling events that Wheaties would have a presence at (NBA All-Star Game, Nascar Races, Ironman Events, etc.). The landing pages were to event-specific/contextually relevant messaging while presenting a high-value offer to users who scanned the sample boxes’ Tag.
Unfortunately priorities (and budgets) shifted halfway through implementation and the program was never fully realized. Nevertheless approximate “scan-through rates” from events where Tag-enabled boxes were distributed were promising and suggested that a fully-implemented program would have been successful.
My roles on the project included:
- Strategic Lead
- User Experience Lead
- Front-End Development
On a side note, front-end development on this project was particularly interesting as the site’s requirements were to support modern Webkit/HTML5 mobile browsers AND Blackberry browsers dating back to Blackberry OS 4.6 with a single instance of the site.