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Jenn-Air Kitchen App Ties Print to Mobile

  |  March 28, 2012   |  Comments

Digitas app virtually swaps old kitchen appliances with new for Jenn-Air.

High-end appliance manufacturer Jenn-Air lets consumers digitally swap out kitchen appliances with a mobile app created by Digitas. The free DesignVision iPhone application echoes a print campaign.

With DesignVision, announced last week at a New York design show, consumers can select a Jenn-Air appliance, position it over the current appliance in the kitchen and snap a photo. The finished image shows the selected appliance in place of the existing one. Users can try out different finishes, share the photos, get product specifications and find showrooms from within the mobile app.

jen-air-design-vision-3Jenn-Air's consumer research showed that its target market would have the technology available and be comfortable with it. "They are very interested in what their kitchen and whole home looks like. They are very visual and enjoy the process of decorating and remodeling," says Brian Maynard, vice president of marketing for Jenn-Air.

According to Chia Chen, SVP of Digitas' North American mobile practice, the agency likes to approach mobile as a way to insert a brand into the moment in consumers' lives where the brand can have impact and deliver value. His team worked with the client to understand the decision process for purchasing luxury appliances. "All of them had a moment of trying to visualize how an appliance would look in their kitchen," Chen says.

DesignVision ties into a four-page, print insert ad running primarily in Architectural Digest. The front page shows a silhouette of a range. Inside, a photo spread highlights a Jenn-Air range and includes a three-dimensional, die-cut piece. Readers are instructed to remove it, stand five feet back from the range in the kitchen, and then hold it at arm's length to "eclipse the competition."

Digitas, Jenn-Air's agency of record, handles digital, traditional and media for the appliance manufacturer.

Chen did not yet have any metrics relating to the number of downloads for DesignVision, but he pointed out that, unlike many apps, consumers might use it only once or twice, and yet that use could translate into thousands of dollars in sales.

The back of the die-cut includes a QR code leading to videos explaining the key benefits of the product and an invitation to visit the company website to learn more. Maynard said Architectural Digest reported four to five times more interaction with the print ad than any others running in the book - based on a reader survey, not on QR code interaction.

"QR codes are interesting but still haven't, in most cases, been utilized in overwhelming numbers. We were happy with the results, not ecstatic. But we do know that consumers are taking this die cut into the retailer and saying, 'This is what I want,'" he says.

Maynard disputes the idea that magazines are no longer important to advertisers. Some magazines went away, but those that remain are still an integral part of our brand online," he said. Consumer research has shown the brand lift among consumers who have been exposed to both digital and traditional messaging from Jenn-Air is more than the sum of the two individual channels.

Jenn-Air was the exclusive sponsor for the Architectural Digest iPad app, AD Amazing Kitchens, launched in May 2011.

The print campaign and mobile app are part of a repositioning process for the Jenn-Air brand that began after it was acquired by Whirlpool. "We know that's a journey and takes time," Maynard says. "This was one more way for us to do that."

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Susan Kuchinskas

Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.

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