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How a campaign brings multiscreen couples together

Many families, and especially couples, experience new formats of evening togetherness. Couples are not leaning back any longer and simply watching TV, or having relaxed chats next to it. With most couples, both partners are using their smartphones, tablets or notebooks to chat with friends, to update their status for their fans and keep in touch with their digital fellows while the TV sceen is fighting for viewing figures.

Did you realize that TV gets the former status of the radio in our digital world? People listen to TV but are actively engaged in something else, in another screen conversation, in a multiscreen reality. Mobile becomes the new prime time. Radio always was the number two from a user attention perspective. So is singlescreen attention today, it is out, digital leads. Multichannel is the big future, and the looser is… the personal relationship. We all know how relaxing it is to lean back, and how TV reduces our “most emotional relationship activities” to a minimum, multiscreen usage could become a limitation catalyst.

But there is hope…

CP+B has thought about this development, maybe not… Still, they tell us in a new campaign how couples most commonly book trips. They have created a 2 for 1 campaign for Scandinavian Airlines. The campaign called “Couple Up to Buckle Up” was launched in banners, emails, facebook app, or print ads, and used two unique QR codes to bring people closer together again, i.e. to book a flight to Paris together.

In the campaign approach, couples need to scan the QR code assigned to them. Then, they would sync their half of a video based offer and reveal the discount code split across both screens. Bit of a challenge to scan/play at the same time but still a nice idea on a critical relationship topic.

And maybe this will help to… Well, you decide!

Couple Up to Buckle Up from Tobias Carlson on Vimeo.

The near future of Augmented Reality (AR) and QR codes

Augmented reality (AR) has a glorious future according to a new market research published by MarketsandMarkets. It will be interesting to see which role QR codes play in that future as more and more technologies arise.

The new market research report “Global Augmented Reality (AR) Market Forecast by Product (HMD, HUD, Tablet PC, Smartphone) for Gaming, Automotive, Medical, Advertisement, Defense, E-Learning & GPS Applications (2011-2016)” states that the total Augmented Reality applications market will be growing by over 95% from 2011 to 2016. The research sees it reaching a market volume of $5151,74 million.

According to Comscore research almost 10% of all smartphone users have scanned QR codes in June this year. The interesting fact is that most users scan their QR codes from home (57,4%). In public only 20% use those QR scan options from outdoor advertising or in public transport.

Although screen technology (smartphone, tablet and eye-wear) is still in its infancy concerning AR, and also facing some challenges, the Universities of Washington and the MIT see a better future on the experience horizont. Especially, the head up and head mounted displays have become mature, finds the study. Leading and growing in use are online apps, gaming apps and GPS apps. So far, campaigns like the following by MIRAT Paris work on the basis of QR coding…

But what kind of Augmented Reality technologies are rocking the transformation from the physical to the virtual world, or shall we say to the mobile world?

Some months ago, we only had browser technology like Layar and Wikitude. Today, companies like Tesco are experimenting with other capabilities in their retail shops. For a long time, we had to use QR codes or trigger points to initiate some activity with AR technology.

Layar’s latest innovation called “Vision” is another reason why QR codes are becoming uncool. Vision is a tool that lets advertisers and content owners integrate Augmented Reality ads in publications. As an example you may watch the Dutch magazine Linda how the technology works…

Some other technology innovations are also evolving that might catalyze the technology shift in the AR sphere. Here are three of them…

Aurasma
The Aurasma technology -unlike the GPS based technologies Layar (until the Vision version) and Wikitude that merely recognizes what someone has tagged as locations or places- is a new generation augmented reality browser. Aurasma recognises images through cameras in a way search engines recognise words. The browser then creates so-called 2D or 3D „Auras“ which show animated audio-video content. Just watch some examples of Aurasma campaigns.

blippAR
With blippAR the whole advertisment becomes the response tool. It is enough to simply point in the direction of the ad with the app. Still, the awareness challenge needs to be solved. And, the need for a specific browser to use the technology. See some examples of blippAR usage. At the moment you can even participate in the interactive blippAR campaign “escape the map” by Mercedes Benz.

Printechnologics
Printechnologics is based on Touchcode carrier technology. It contains a blind or transparent code which is embedded via invisible data storage development inside print products like carton, foil or simply paper. Printechnologics turns the AR identification around as you lay the paper on top of the tablet or smartphone, and not the other way round. And you don’t even need to modify your device, download a browser, use NFC (near field communication), or a camera for it to identify and initiate the online activity form the offline trigger. The last issue from the ICONIST carried a Printechnologics card and here you can see how it connect the two worlds….

Spot On!
In some months, the QR codes might be gone as an AR trigger, and thus leave the advertising world. However, all AR technologies have one weakness: You need to know that these technologies are embedded in any forms of campaigns. You need some trigger point, button, picture, image or QR code that people see. Thus, the main challenge for QR codes and Augmented Reality is to build awareness and understanding what it can do. Nobody is using a browser or a camera if there is no “visual” reason for virtual interactivity. I see TV using any of the forms as an extension for their TV shows in order to promote their digital content and advertising opportunities, just like the print industry did in the past. One thing is for sure: Augmented Reality will definitely become a new playground that connects the TV and online markets in the future…

What’s your view on Augmented Reality and QR codes? Let us know…

Pay a Blogger Day – How to reward a blogger's work?

Have you ever paid a blogger? Paid for your content love? I mean not for writing some good PR for your business. Just for them being bloggers, sharing valueble content, thoughts, ideas, and providing new food for thought. In some days you can do that. The “Pay a Blogger Day” is here to come. Some thoughts that came to my mind with it…

Some months ago, Flattr started their outreach program to bloggers. And some months ago, they were on their way to revolutionize the monetization of blogs. Those days, the Flattr button went live on my blog, and in every post. I rewarded blog posts, and got some rewards. Just the way Flattr works. They had the idea for the “Pay a Blogger Day”.

On Flattr Cents pass from bloggers to bloggers to… Well. Companies never paid anything. They have the biggest budget pockets though. And I asked myself if bloggers want companies to engage in the monetization process, or if reputation is of higher value for them. And why should companies pay a blogger for something they produce for free. Still trying to figure that out…

Some blog posts generated some Cents immediately through Flattr, never enough for some nice ice-cream in a week though. Somehow the activity to “donate” for a well-written piece of thought or idea felt like an act of charity. Some Cents felt like a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes, I discussed with bloggers if that is encouraging, or frustrating? Every blogger argued differently about this gesture. Many were not convinced. I have seen not many buttons on blogs since.

And often when I wanted to spend some Cents, those bloggers did not use Flattr. So, my reward for them often ended in a Retweet. Maybe Retweets are the killer of positive blog comments

The main problem many bloggers saw in Flattr was that it will be challenging to get attention for this payment theory outside the bloggosphere. Sounded like: “Bloggers will pay themselves and thus reward their work within an inner circle of the blogging community.” One of the reasons why I finally decided to remove the button from my blog.

Now, Flattr starts -in cooperation with Bambuser, Twingly and Posterous– the “Pay a Blogger Day!” on November, 29th. They intend to start a movement with the mission “Give something back to bloggers!” A good idea…

How to reward a blogger’s work?
If I may inspire you -companies, marketers and managers- with reward opportunities for bloggers, then maybe you want to read this…

a) Companies that have used shared knowledge to improve their business could write a reference quote for the blogger why and how they benefit from reading a blog. It could be a comment, tweet or a blog post on their blog. Just be creative…!

b) Managers that have used shared knowledge for their career purposes could send a present when they think the blogger has deserved it (does not need to be on the “Pay a blogger day!”). A flower (digital or real), a freebie of your products or an invite to a paid for workshop about corporate blogging. And hey, chances are high, bloggers might write about it. Just be clever…!

c) Marketers that have used shared knowledge for their campaign ideas could start thinking about whether they shovel money into a print grave, rely on TV reach or hope for radio commercial payback. Maybe they want to start sponsor a blogger who is worth it as they act like brandvangelist, testimonial or brand advocate for a brand or company. And why are not many marketers trying to make use of bloggers in the offline world? Just be curious…!

d) Followers, fans, “plusers” and bloggers that have used shared knowledge could start discussing the monetization of their work in an authentic collaborative manner. Do you want banners ads, text links, affiliate programs, brand advocate prgrams, or…? What is authentic blog monetization? Or is it reputation only? In short: money, products or reputation currency like Floout.me?

Here is how Flattr wants to inspire you to reward a blogger…

Think about the thoughts and then start acting! I am sure, bloggers know how to say “Thank you” and all bloggers would love to see some of these rewarding opportunities. Right…?

Studies: The internet is more important than water…?!

Can we access the internet if we have nothing to drink anymore, if our water is poluted? No, we can not! Sometimes, adults should ask themselves about, and quickly start to re-think, the values that they hand over to our kids. I am happy to have spoken with mine about this topic last year around the Blog Action Day 2010

Some weeks ago, I have written about a UK study from the London Science Museum made clear that UK people rather prefer to have sunshine and internet connection than clean water. Now, Cisco comes up with a similar study.

The Cisco study states that one in three college students and young professionals consider the Internet to be as important as fundamental human resources such as air, water, food and shelter. The study is based on the second annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report. It examines the relationship between human behaviour, the Internet and networking’s pervasiveness across 14 countries in the world (United States, Canada Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, India, China, Japan, Australia).

Mahesh Gupta, Vice-President, Business-Borderless Networks, Cisco (India and SAARC), said in a teleconference on Thursday that about 33% across the globe and 95% Indian college students and young employees admitted that Internet was as important in their lives as water, food, air and shelter. The internet has become a crucial important thing in peoples’ lives. More than half of the respondents (62% of employees and 55% of college students) said they could not live without the Internet. They see it as an “integral part of their lives”.

From a face-to-face social perspective, it is also quite amazing to see that people had indicated that Internet was more important to them than meeting with friends, dating, or listening to music. Like in the UK study, updating Facebook seems to be of the highest priority – higher than socializing. Gupta stated that within certain countries 91% of college students and 88% of employees globally had Facebook account and check it on a daily basis at least once. Furthermore, seven of 10 employees have “friended” their managers and coworkers on Facebook, and 68% follow their manager or their work colleagues on Twitter.

From a hardware point of view, mobiles rank highest as their important technology device, as high as being “the most important technology”. Two-thirds of students and 58% of employees felt that a mobile device (laptop, smartphone or tablets) was the most important technology hardware in their lives. Young employees in the UK (74%), India (71%) and Australia (66%) ranked highest when it comes to the importance of mobiles devices.

Spot On!
The study also shows some trends that other industries should watch out for. When two of five students have not bought a physical book (except textbooks) in two years, this is a clear message to the print industry. And when 2 out of 3 choose Internet connection over cars, the it becomes clear why concepts like BMW Drive Now and Smart Car2Go become popular. However, the new trends also need to be watched from a distraction point of view when being online.

Let’s hope they don’t forget to drink some water…

QR Codes: A trend already gone, or still on the rise…?

In the last weeks, I have spoken with many clients and interesting people in the industry, whether QR codes are still an emerging topic for marketers, or if the trend goes thanks to the latest innovation from Layar. The new Layar technology let’s the importance of QR codes in some way vanish…

So, the question is: Are the QR codes an over rated technology? Let’s bear in mind how many people know how to use QR code technology, and how often those who know really use the QR code reader? Now, the team from Lab42 comes up with as great infographic on the use of QR codes.

And guess what, 60% of the respondents say they are not familiar with QR codes in general. Most of the people using QR codes (46%) scan them for discounts. interestingly enough, for 42% of the people these codes serve as a ticket (for a concert (62%). And 67% see the QR codes in print magazines. So, my assumption that QR code technology could become the access point for the extension of print (Augmented Reality) seems to proof correct.

Check out the rest of the data yourself…

I am interested to get your view on the future of QR codes. Is this a remaining access hub for companies, brands and services, or will it end when Augmented Reality evolving, and finally detecting 3D objectives…? Let us know your thoughts…

Honesty – The ambient campaign driver that brings virtues back…?

Some years ago, Billy Joel sang his song “Honesty” and I always remember this one first line… “Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue.”. Apparently, it seems that Billy was not quite right with his statement (although he took a different approach to his somng argumentation). It is interesting to see that more and more campaigns seem to pitch with that virtue proof…

I wrote about the interesting HonestTea campaign. That campaign not only proved the value of Earned Media but more importantly how honest people in the world were. And it also pointed out that honesty as a virtue might become a wonderful topic for campaigns – a real ambient campaign driver.

The National Australia Bank (NAB Group) is another example how companies come up with that topic. Some while ago, the NAB was shaking up the financial services industry by encouraging the customers of other banks to “break up” with their bank. The campaigns continues now to a next level now…

The NAB is challenging the honesty of consumers with a series of social experiments on the virtue of honesty. The honesty project of the NAB proves that Australians are very well behaved and very honest.

The bank is publishing the results in little clips. Watch the results…

Spot On!
This modern ambient approach to make a change in the communication to consumers from banks I found quite refreshing, compared to the traditional annoying and boring print letters I still get today. If banks open up to customers with some clever ideas like these it will be a perfect way to get Earned Media which leads to Owned Media and puts a question mark behind the honest value of “Paid Media”. And that is a fact, that is my honest truth.

PS:: What is your view on the campaign? The honesty approach? The value of honesty from a bank’s perspective?

How displays will organize our day and influence purchase…

We have seen different versions of the future of digital displays. They tell us how all these displays will organize and manage our daily business and lifes. Remember the TAT and their Open Innovation project? A nice idea…

Today I came across another display vision looking into the future called “A Day Made of Glass” was made by Corning. You should watch it…

Just imagine what it means if other technologies like Immersive’s software will be combined with these displays of the future. The Immersive software is built on artificial intelligence software. It calculates the probability of success for each impression and serves the most appropriate ad. It learns how people give feedback and improves response targeting over time.

The software works with existing digital signs, uses anonymous facial recognition and takes advantage of given data through APIs, i.e. from social networks like Twitter or Foursquare, weather data and time of day. Thus it determines the age, gender and attention time of people passing by. No matter if you are in busy atmosphere or at home…

Immersive Labs – Wiji Software Demo from Immersive Labs on Vimeo.

If these technologies would be combined in the future, and I am sure we will see derivates some time soon, then it could well be that you don’t even have to look at ads again. Ads will catch your attention in your house whilst you are cleaning your teeth, taking a bath, via head-up display while driving, or when you are passing by a billboard. And you will touch the screen and just purchase the offered product by wiping your mobile (see latest study by VISA) over the screen, or simply by the fingerprint. Just imagine…

Google Survey: 39% US mobile users take their mobiles to the bathroom

Google published a survey (in partnership with the independant marketing research firm Ipsos OTX) and present insights into how U.S. consumers use their smartphones. A video presents key findings from “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Consumers”.

The research, conducted at the end of 2010 among 5,013 US adult smartphone Internet users, was meant to better understand how smartphones are used in consumers’ daily lives and how smartphones have influenced the ways consumers search, shop and respond to mobile advertising.

Some of the key findings of the study don’t show special new insights. However it illustrates that we are not alone anymore in our bathrooms any longer. We are taking our friends, business partners and our social graphs to the bathroom… by using our smartphones like we used to read our newspapers or magazines in the past. Google states that 39% admit to having used their smarthone while going to the bathroom.

Some more findings…
– 93% use smartphones at home
– 81% browse the Internet
– 77% do search for information
– 72% do parallel use of smartphone and other media (over 30% like watching TV)
– 45% use smartphone to manage their daily lives
– 20% would give up their Cable TV for using their smartphone

Obviously, Google wanted to find out how smartphone users access search via their mobiles. And no suprise there as well. Search is the leading website type accessed (77%). It helps consumers access information like News (57%), Dining (51%), Entertainment (49%) , Shopping (47%), Technology (32%), Travel (31%), Finance (26%) and Automotive (17%).

Spot On!
Interesting from a marketer’s perspective is that the report actually finds that mobile advertising is engaging. The research states that after seeing an ad (on print, online or mobile) 71% of users search on their smartphones. A remarkable 82% of users notice mobile ads, and of those 49% purchase (!), 42% click on it, 35% access the website, 27% contact the business. This shows the new power of mobile marketing for companies and that marketers should have a close look at mobile marketing opportunities in the future.

PS: And if 39% of people use their iPhones in the bathroom, I don’t want to know how many use their iPads to read the latest news or watch a video, and how this increases the average “bathroom staying time”…

Is mobile the future extension of print (and TV)?

I have always quoted that there is a future for print. In trains, in planes and on quiet places where you will always be on your own… However print might need some partner media: mobiles… to becomes 3-D reality in combination with them.

The Commonwealth Bank used a Sydney computer graphics firm called Explore Engage and let them create a 3-D mobile extension. The print ad uses a smartphone’s camera to connect the print creative (launched in Melbourne’s mX commuter daily newspaper last week) with the 3-D reader software in the phone. The smartphone then opens a virtual town on the phone’s screen in which a virtual sales person introduces some of the Commonwealth Bank real estate properties.

The smartphone all of a sudden makes print (ads) attractive again. Augmented reality (AR) extends the opportunities of the static print value into a new engaging mobile world. Just think about the opportunities… Wallpapers could be scanned and then virtual promotions or commercials could appear on mobile screens on-the-go selling new products and services. Previews of movies could be taken from print ads instantly. The future of print seems to be mobile…

PS: Although it might be a bit challenging for some people, TV has also new opportunities to extend their offering. Just watch the latest KIA Optima advertising idea which also used AR technology to get people engaged in advertising…

News Update – Best of the Day

A good explanation why Apple often wins against competitors. Just see how they behave. Sure, no one of their competitors will comment here…

A nice copy of the Facebook referential advertising idea? Google +1 comes in late but follows the line of an old guest post I wrote a while ago on Mediamind blog (formerly Eyeblaster)…

A great commercial idea from Mercedes. The Sprinter applies for a job…