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Kiwi firm creates 'scratch and win' app

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 06/10/2012

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Shoppers around the world may soon be using a "scratch and win" smartphone app developed in New Zealand for a chain of 950 United States convenience stores owned by oil giant BP.

The Scratch Power app, designed to entice young smartphone owners into the BP-owned Ampm stores, was the brainchild of 10-person Wellington consultancy First Star Communications, which helps BP with its sales promotions in many countries.

US smartphone owners can download the free app and play one game for prizes such as iTunes vouchers, snacks and drinks. To play again, they need to visit an Ampm store and use their smartphone to scan a "QR" code displayed on in-store signage.

Consumer law in the US prevents businesses from restricting such prize promotions to customers who have a proof of purchase, but the use of scannable QR codes is a way of ensuring players must at least visit a store.

Speaking from San Francisco, First Star Communications director Adam Blackwell said BP often used the Ampm chain to test new ideas. "Its brand is all about ‘indulgent fun' and this app reflects that and is a way to bring customers back to the store and give them a fun experience."

He hoped BP would look at using Scratch Power to promote stores in other countries.

First Communications helps BP in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, but does not have a relationship with BP in New Zealand, where it works for rival Z Energy instead.

Z spokesman Jonathan Hill said it had looked at Scratch Power and decided it was "not for us" as it was not a strategic fit for the business. But Blackwell said First Communications was building an app for Z.

Hill later confirmed Z had "some work on the go" for an app that would deliver some different functions. He would not be drawn on whether it might also include a scratch-and-win-style element.

Blackwell would not disclose what Ampm had paid First Star for the Scratch Power campaign, which would run for two months, but said it was "a significant piece of business".

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- The Dominion Post

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