use eBay's mobile app to scan QR codes and give a toy for christmas for charity

By using eBay’s iphone app to scan QR codes, shoppers in New York and San Francisco can interact with eBay’s virtual shop front to give a toy this Christmas to Toys for Tots charity

This article is a regurgitation of a christmas campaign post from James Duthie of Online Marketing Banter – from 2011, but I thought it still has some great ideas for what retail businesses can do to bring their digital content in line with their offline Christmas ad campaigns.

eBay’s virtual shop front “Give a Toy” is probably my favourite. eBay have teamed up with Toys for Tots charity to give Christmas shoppers an opportunity to can scan a gift with a QR code reader and buy the toy for underprivileged families at Christmas. In Australia, the KMart Christmas Tree has been offering real world shoppers a place to leave a gift for families who can’t afford to buy presents at Christmas. eBay’s virtual shop front solution provides a short list of gifts with a QR code instead of a price tag. The shop front is animated and the gifts, like a teddy bear, come to life when they are scanned. So the shopper is not only rewarded with the feel-good feeling of having done a good thing for families in need and donated to charity, but they also get “surprised and delighted” by the real world experience. In the video shoppers tell how the virtual shop front can change from day to night and can be made to start snowing. All these animations are engagement tools to make people spend longer in front of the shop-front, enjoy the experience and draw a crowd.

eBay's virtual shop front uses QR codes to bring toys to life for shoppers who give a toy for Christmas charity

This is what eBay’s virtual shop front looked like in New York and San Francisco. Shoppers were surprised when the toy’s came to life after you used eBay’s iphone app to scan the QR code to give a toy for Christmas charity.

The eBay virtual shop front is not only a great way to bring the online and real world’s together in an emotional, charity driven campaign but it also acts as a brilliant way to drive downloads of eBay’s iphone app, which you need to be able to scan the QR codes and participate. Unfortunately the website has been taken down – otherwise I might have considered donating this year.


Waitrose have also used the Blippar mobile smartphone app for iPhone and Android to create an augmented reality for any of their customers who take the time to view a waitrose print ad through the Blippar app filter.

Waitrose have teamed up with famous chefs such as Heston Blumenthal who offer “magical” content for customers who engage via their mobile phone. A simple and beautiful print ad is shown in the Metro newspaper with a call to action to user Blippar to unlock magical content. When you scan the print ad using the Blippar smartphone app, virtual content appears where users can get recipes, watch videos on how to make the recipes or read exclusive articles. It’s all very simple but very effective and again, it provides an excellent brand experience for Waitrose, who gets to associate its brand with iconic chefs like Heston, and Blippar gets a boost in downloads.


There are three more Christmas campaigns in Online Marketing Banter’s post from 2011. There’s also a great example of using QR codes to attach a voice or video message to a present so when your loved one opens it on Christmas day they can scan the QR code and hear/ watch the message as well (cute, and probably more effective for people who cannot be with their families at Christmas – I’m thinking overseas friends and relatives).


Obviously I love digital and these great campaigns are from last year and so much has changed in 12 months. I can’t wait to see what retail businesses come up with this year. Bring on Christmas!