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NFC-enabled ads…the future in print, brought to you by Lexus and WIRED Magazine


First, a quick lesson.

What is NFC?  It stands for Near Field Communication.

Great.  But what does that mean?

Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, usually no more than a few centimetres.

Present and anticipated applications include contactless transactions, data exchange, and simplified setup of more complex communications such as Wi-Fi.[1] Communication is also possible between an NFC device and an unpowered NFC chip, called a “tag”.

(Wikipedia – Near Field Communication)

NFC currently exists by way of mobile-payment, but what makes this so newsworthy, is that this is the first time that NFC will be integrated into a print ad (Lexus ad in the April issue of WIRED Magazine).

NFC-enabled Lexus ad (Wired Magazine) - as seen in the Ad Age article.

“WIRED introducing the first NFC-enabled ad could only be made possible by bringing together the creative minds at Lexus with our reputation for pushing the envelope with emerging technologies and ideas,” said WIRED VP and Publisher Howard Mittman. “The WIRED world moves at an extraordinary speed, and this shows how we continue to work with our partners to ensure we all remain on the cutting edge.”

(Reuters – Press Release: WIRED Delivers First-Ever NFC-Enabled Advertisement Featuring Lexus)

You’re probably thinking…ok, this already exists with QR codes.  But no, it’s actually different.

Unlike the 2-D barcodes that have been storming magazine pages, readers don’t need to take pictures of anything with their phones’ cameras. The phone automatically detects the NFC chip.

In the case of Wired and Lexus, that brings up a link on the phone’s screen. Click the link and a welcome video loads introducing the car’s in-dash App Suite. Users can then click on each of the app icons — Bing, OpenTable, iHeartRadio, Pandora, MovieTickets.com, and Yelp — to see short videos explaing [sic] each app.

(Ad Age – Lexus Brings NFC-Enabled Print Ad to Wired Magazine)

What I find most fascinating, is that of all industries…it’s the auto industry that is making it’s mark with this new technology.

According to the NFC forum (yes, there is actually a forum on this technology), when asked about the forecasted opportunity for NFC

Jupiter Research has projected that up to 700 million NFC-enabled mobile phones will be sold by 2013, representing up to 25 percent of the market at that time (November 2008). Jupiter Research has also projected that NFC Mobile Payments will exceed $30bn by 2012 (September 2009).

(NFC Forum – FAQs)

It’ll be interesting to see how this affects print vs. online advertising,  the (hurting) auto industry, the economy in Japan, and the behemoth known as Apple (as it is not on-board with NFC yet…).

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Filed under: Automobiles, Business, Marketing, Science, Social Media, Tech, , , , , , , ,

QR codes are so yesterday…


I think QR codes were innovative at first glance, but now… they’re just an eyesore.

Flipping through a magazine, you see these really fantastic print ads, and then to the far left or right, there’s this:

Well, apparently I’m not the only one…

bieMEDIA, an online marketing and media solutions company, is predicting the end of the QR Code.

With all those QR scanner apps out there, you’d think that consumers MUST love ’em, right?

57% of consumers who have scanned a QR code say they did nothing with the information, compared to 21% who shared the information with someone and 18% who made a purchase, according to a survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB).

In fact, of those who have scanned a QR code, just 41% said that they found the information they received useful, while 42% had mixed feelings and 18% said the information was not useful.  (The End of the QR Code is Near – MarketingVOX, January 24th)

Enter Pongr.

When brands ask consumers to snap a product photo and text or email it in, Pongr recognizes the image and replies. (Forget QR Codes: Pongr Easily Turns Your Photos Into Brand Rewards –  Fast Company, January 9th)

So how does Pongr work for its clients?  Here’s an example:

1. Fan photographs self with Michael Jackson’s Immortal, sends it to mj@pongr.com.

2. Pongr’s image-recognition software identifies album in photo.

3. Fan is entered in contest to see premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson show.

The call-to-action by the brand is so much greater here. With QR codes, you’re hoping that the link embedded within will be enough of a pull to bring in a new consumer.  Using a mobile visual search

…provides consumers with faster, more convenient and compelling, interactive marketing experiences. (bieMEDIA Predicts the End of the QR Code – MarketWatch – January 24th)

As Jamie Thompson, President of Pongr explains it (in the Fast Company article):

Some brands are stuck in the mindset of this old-fashioned data-sampling model, where they think their customer might be the guy on the panel, because some data company has painstakingly and very expensively created a panel for them. Yet the reality is, there’s 100 million other people out there that they don’t know, that they’re not looking at, and they’re not slicing into that correctly.

So get the user to share real information with you, so that you know who they are.

That about sums it up.

(Note: I have no connection to Pongr. I just think that the company is super innovative, and it provides support to my anti-QR code claim).

Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media, Tech, , , , , , , , , ,

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