How we supercharged Countdown's customer loyalty

Branded AR collectables


Concepting, Strategy, Production, Design, Creative, Technology, Optimisation

Deployment Method

App (iOS and Android)


Application build, 3D modelling, UI/UX flow, Hosting, Analytics dashboard, QA testing

The Super Insects campaign

Branded collectables and reward schemes have been a much-loved part of the retail world for a few decades - so how do they continue to innovate into the 2020s and beyond?

Our in-house creative team at Zappar worked with Craze to deliver an AR-infused loyalty campaign for New Zealand supermarket brand, Countdown. Using a blend of collectables, native apps, and an always-on camera strategy, we delivered rocketing engagement across a number of key metrics.

Ladybird Walking
Super Insects Flow

The challenge

Countdown wanted to boost engagement and brand affiliation amongst kids and their parents in a new way. Their objective was simple; to engage children and their parents with something that was both educational and entertaining, driving footfall in-store while offering additional value post-purchase.

To do this, they joined forces with Craze and Zappar to come up with a next-level customer loyalty campaign that blended the physical and digital worlds to create a trackable campaign that persisted beyond the checkout counter and into the home.

Overall, Countdown set out with four key objectives for the AR campaign:

To increase the number of checkouts

To increase basket size of shoppers

To build Countdown's market share

To inspire the next generation with the importance of biodiversity

The AR experience

Blue Butterfly
Potato Beetle
Green Butterfly

Connecting the physical to the digital

The Super Insects campaign was designed around a series of 72 collectable Insect Cards and 36 Puzzle Cards, developed by Craze, which Countdown customers were rewarded with after spending $30 on their shopping. To bring these to life, we developed the Super Insects App which enabled customers to scan the cards to reveal 3D insects that you could place in the real world using augmented reality, as well as interactive games and quizzes designed to be both fun and educational. Bridging the divide between the physical cards and digital experiences in order to improve engagement, boost market share, and enhance the educational experience.

Super Insect 3 Tracking Types
Super Insects Album


The Super Insects campaign, and accompanying mobile app, were designed to be experienced both in-store at Countdown stores, and at the customer’s home. The collectable cards were acquired in-store, and certain in-app content could only be unlocked by scanning posters around participating store locations, helping to bring footfall into brick-and-mortar retail at a time when online shopping was dominating the industry. Both the cards and the games within the app could then be brought home, with AR allowing users to place 3D worlds into their own environment. This allowed for a long-tail of interaction.

Super Insects Butterfly Popout


Given that the experience was designed to be used both in-store and at home (via the app), we needed to ensure that it performed well in a wide variety of environments. Thanks to the nature of the app being standalone, the team were able to have full UI control over the experience, and by leveraging our world-tracking technology, we were able to deliver an experience with excellent user experience in different lightings and locations.

Super Insects Card Popout


As well as a physical collectors album, customers could also build a digital album on the super insects app, sorting each insect into special categories like ‘Amazing Adaptors’ and ‘Rare and Endangered’. With each card the featured insects are brought to life in 3D educating users about their appearance and how they moved around the world. The app was designed to bring people back into the experience regularly to collect all the cards, ensuring a constant cadence of engagement in the physical stores and at-home, across eight weeks.

Insect Explorer

Taking the education element further we designed the explorer game, where customers could place the a virtual forest in their real world environment and search for insects, collecting pictures of all 5 to win. Each insect hiding in their natural habitat, moving and behaving in a realistic way to create an immersive experience. Content like the explorer game was unlocked as users as played and interacted with the app, the more users played, the richer the experience became.

Some of the most popular features:

Super Insects Bee Keeper Studio

Face-tracking selfies

The Zappar Creative Studio team built hundreds of 3D assets for the Super Insects campaign, including face-tracked filters, featuring beekeeper gear as well as a host of inscet friends that users could take selfies ‘wearing’ and share on social media.

Super Instect Race Track

Insect race

The Insect Race was unlocked in the Super Insects app once all of the in-store posters were scanned. Once revealed, customers could place a 3D race track virtually into the world, and race the insects they’d collected. This was a great way of connecting the in-store shopping experience with the digital world.

Super Instect Race Track
Super Insects Quiz

Insect quiz

The insect quiz was the app's most popular feature - a simple multiplayer quiz about the collected insects generated huge engagement for the Countdown brand. It was a head to head quiz where users could challenge each other to test their insect knowledge, tying in the Maori language to make this quiz truly Kiwi.

Super Insects Card CTA

The call-to-action

The AR was activated by scanning each card using image lookup (meaning the cards could be designed without having to include a QR code), therefore a clear Call To Action was vital to ensure customers knew they could access the experience. Each scannable card was printed with a special symbol to alert the user and clear instructions were included on store posters as well as having a dedicated page in the physical album.

The results: Millions of card scans later, Craze and Countdown had a campaign that sky-rocketed brand engagement.

Since its launch on 26th September 2020, the Super Insects campaign achieved:


cards scanned


face filters tried on


quizzes played


visits to the app homepage


unique visitors across the campaign period

4.5% YOY

spend threshold growth on transactions above the $30

Super Insects App Store Icons

#1 in the App Store for education

Reaching #1 in the App Store for education, 'Super Insects' proved to not only meet its commercial objectives but also to provide an exceptional educational experience too. Through fun fact cards and quizzes on biodiversity, the app was able to educate and engage the next generation in a truly impactful way.

Casper Auggie Awards

Best AR campaign of 2021

Super Insects was also recognised for its creative and commercial impact at AWE's Auggie Awards, taking home one of the events most prestigious awards for 'Best Campaign'.

“Having worked with Zappar, we deployed an app that reeled in players over and over again across many months, beating our expectations. By using the right design principles, we created an experience that everyone enjoyed, and still enjoyed over a year later.”

Super Insects Face Popout