Google Promotes New App Via ‘Pay with a Photo’ Events
In a delicious twist on a typical social currency engagement, Google had consumers across the country searching for images to “pay” for tasty food truck fare in an effort to promote the smart search function featured in its newly launched Photos app. The activation challenged participants to locate specific photos in their smartphones within 20 seconds based on popular search terms like “dog” or “beach.” Winners were rewarded with large helpings of various food truck offerings, and with the help of influencers, Google ultimately chowed down on 25 million social impressions.
While most smartphone users spend several minutes scrolling through their photo library to locate a specific image, Google Photos can retrieve the same snap in a matter of seconds. Thanks to its intelligent search feature, the app is capable of locating photos based on what’s in them—no labels or captions required. But Google knew that the majority of smartphone users wouldn’t be willing to download a new photo app when they were likely utilizing the native version that comes with their phones. Accordingly, the brand eliminated the download requirement for the activation and instead, took advantage of a twofold opportunity—the ability to both reward current Google Photos users and to illustrate to non-users the pain point of scrolling through hundreds of photos.
Google partnered with food truck giant Wafels & Dinges to kick off the campaign on the streets of New York City, wrapping the vehicle in Pay With a Photo branding. Passersby were challenged by the brand’s emcee to find a photo in their phones based on a popular search term. Racing against a mechanical clock, participants had 20 seconds to locate a qualifying image. Those who completed the challenge “paid” for a large waffle with their photo, while those who didn’t make the cut received a small waffle. The same strategy was carried out with a host of other food trucks as the campaign traveled on to Los Angeles, Portland and Austin, with multiple stops made in each neighborhood.
To gain more momentum for the program, Google leveraged its food truck partners’ strong social followings and partnered with social influencers in all four cities to reach its target demographic, which included urban Android and iOS users, ages 18-34. Each influencer visited activations and shared both teasers and live footage of the events on their social channels to help boost hype. A wide array of personalities participated, including Mashable ceo Pete Cashmore, rappers Migos and Sydney Kramer, founder of the food blog The Crepes of Wrath.
Just like indulgent waffles, the taste of victory was sweet. By the end of the campaign, Google had racked up 42 million earned media impressions.