Air Miles gets into AR

The brand wasn't planning on adding a digital element to this year's campus tours - but the response to the general enrollment campaign has been positive.
AIR MILES Campus Tour 5

Air Miles is no stranger to campus tours. But this year, the company has added a new element: augmented reality.

Throughout the month of September, Air Miles has been touring across 21 Canadian campuses to promote its “#UnlockAwesome” campaign using iPads to create an interactive game where students could unlock lockers to win gift cards from Air Miles partners.

The campaign is the result of a partnership with Campus Intercept and Student Life Network. Printing and digital were done in-house.

Tanya Moryoussef, marketing manager with Air Miles, said that although feedback on campus has been positive, the original intent was not to use AR for the activations.

“The AR actually came as a solution to a problem,” Moryoussef told MiC. “In our initial Ontario campuses, we had actual physical lockers that students could open up and they’d win a prize. But we couldn’t make the shipping costs for the physical lockers work if we wanted to bring the lockers to our east and west coast locations.”

Thus the concept of the AR iPad app was born — at  the east and west coast campus stops, Air Miles has set up a painted board with lockers painted on, where students aim the iPads at the lockers to “unlock” them and win prizes.

The goal of the campaign (which will continue with online games and contests until the end of November, whereas the campus tour is set to conclude Sept. 26) is to engage with younger consumers and get them to enroll in Air Miles’ rewards programs. The brand has been embarking on campus tours for three years now, although Moryoussef said activations in the past haven’t involved any sort of technology.

Moryoussef said the response to the campaign has been very positive, with an estimated 7,000 sign-ups so far and 15,000 engagements with students in-person, an increase from the previous year’s campaign.

While she couldn’t speak to any specific plans to incorporate augmented reality into future campaigns, she said she would not be surprised if Air Miles continued the practice in the future.

“It is something that can be applied easily to activations to make them more experiential, so I think there’s a lot of intrigue around the medium,” she said.