Monday, March 4, 2013

Advertising and the Internet of Things

Here is a great example of effective use of QR code. Diageo's spirits marketing ran a pilot program in Brazil for Father's Day. 

The company enabled consumers to use smart phones to scan product codes on individual bottles of spirits, turning each physical product into a uniquely identifiable object of digital media. In this case, the giver could use his or her smart device to create a video for Dad and upload it to the cloud; the receiver, Dad, could then download the video to receive the gifter's message. 

The result: increased loyalty to the brand; increased personalization of the brand experience; and increased insight for Diageo about how its products were bought, sold, and used. Diageo's marketers could create new advertising experiences in which the products themselves became its media vehicles. 

Clearly, this is just the beginning. It's a persuasive example, because it asks that companies like Diageo do very little differently from what they're doing today. Marketers already print QR or bar-codes on labels, and consumers already carry smart phones. 

What's new is how this example reframes the definition of advertising. 

It does this in at least five ways: 
  1. It places advertising messaging — where the product is the media platform — into the social flow of everyday life. 
  2. It calls upon the giver to create what is, in effect, the advertising message to augment the product, making this an example of participative (and, at scale, crowdsourced) creative (to which Diageo has unlimited access). 
  3. It enables users to personalize products, by definition, in unique ways. 
  4. It converts existing, even generic, products into functionally intelligent ones, which (with the addition of smart phones) can deliver dynamic ad messaging linked to specific physical objects. 
  5. It creates a rationale for the consumer to have an on-going relationship with the brand — by linking continuing online interactions to real world product-based experiences.
This is a far cry from advertising as a one-way, interruptive, broadcast-style form of messaging and delivery. 

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