Ninja Turtles invade Walmart

The retailer launches its latest augmented reality campaign to promote a new TV show.

Walmart and Nickelodeon just capped off an exclusive augmented reality campaign bringing the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to life in store to promote the new show (and associated merchandise), which began Sept. 29.

The iOS game app, by Halifax-based AdDispatch, called “Train your Turtle,” sent kids on an in-store treasure hunt for different signs which unlocked new ninja skills for their reptiles. Once turtles were “trained” a reaction-based game was unlocked for kids to play on their phones (both in-store and at home), similar to Guitar Hero. Other in-store signage created life-sized 3D turtles for kids to have their photos taken with.

“We’ve never really been able to activate anything [on this scale.] You certainly couldn’t bring costumed characters across 336 stores on the same day at the same time. But in this capacity you can,” says Tanya Visano, senior director of consumer products Canada, Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon.

The campaign, with signage and POP by Toronto-based Salt and Pepper, targeted kids with their moms, as well as legacy fans of the series, she says. By providing entertainment to what can be – for some kids – a tedious shopping trip, and tapping into the fact that it’s moms – not the kids – who own the phones and tablets, Visano says that the in-store treasure hunt engaged mothers in the tech-experience.

“We thought this was a really good for her to be the one to deliver this experience to the family,” she says. “Mom is so part of the process – she’s part of the decision of what children are going to watch on TV [and] products they’re going to buy.”
Since kids can play the game after leaving Walmart, it gives life to the campaign beyond the in-store execution, says Jeff Tate, category marketing manager, Walmart Canada.
“Taking this away and having this experience at home would be [a] success,” says Visano.