• 09.09.14

How One Retailer Used Instagram As A Modern Coupon

A department store combined social media, gaming, and discounts to attract young consumers.

Since the dawn of time (or at least it feels that way), brands have been using social media to encourage people to take photos or selfies with their products (#oldidea, #tapintonarcissism #removemyeyeswithashrimpfork). Such solicitations are pretty stale unless the pay-off is something more than a shout-out, retweet, or repost.


For a recent campaign to promote its summer collection, Sweden’s largest department store chain Ahlens and agency Forsman & Bodenfors combined three things that can engage consumers–social media, gaming, and discounts–to create a fun Instagram game aimed at getting young people in the door.

The brand issued a challenge using only using Instagram and the smartphone screenshot function. In three different Instagram videos, Ahlens products flashed by in high speed and if you were fast enough to snap a screenshot of one and post it, you’d get that item at half-price. Users just hashtagged the item and showed it at the store to purchase the item at a discount (and shared the brand with followers in the meantime). A cool version of a 21st-century coupon.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.