Analysis & Opinion

Are you creating two-way communication?

July 2, 2009 John Moore

Pop Sci AR ImageIn an incredibly short amount of time, the phrase “dialogue vs. monologue” has become trite. However, we all know that certain nomenclature becomes cliché because it is true. So yes, as much as I abhor this phrase, I do believe in creating dialogue and two emerging technologies we’re keeping a close eye on are AR (Augmented Reality) and 2D bar codes.

Augmented Reality
AR is a new technology that creates an immersive 3D relationship with a consumer via a PC and a webcam. We can take a static piece of advertising and make it come to life in a powerful and provocative way.  Several marketers are already using the technology, including Papa John’s which is affixing AR images to the back of 30 million pizza boxes. Consumers are instructed to hold the box up to a webcam in order to drive an animated 3D 1972 Camaro on their computer screen. Legend has it that Papa John’s CEO, John Schnatter, sold his beloved ‘72 Camaro in 1984 to open his first store. The virtual trip takes you on a cross county tour where you’re also exposed to billboards offering Papa John’s coupons.

But the gold prize in using AR technology goes to Popular Science and General Electric. I called Popular Science last week as I wanted to get the inside skinny on how this evolved and how we could think of AR technology for some of the clients we represent. The entire platform was truly serendipitous but genius nonetheless. Popular Science knew that their July front cover was going to prominently feature a windmill and past GE advertising had featured windmills. They approached GE and proposed a partnership in which consumers would go the pop sci site and hold the front cover in front of a webcam to launch the experience.  General Electric also purchased the cover two spread in the July issue to tie the promotion and platform together.

2D Bar Codes

2D bar codes have been around for a while but it’s a new application that caught my eye with something called the twitter code. As an example, a person downloads the ScanLife app on his iPhone and then takes a picture of a print ad, bus shelter or in-store POP and it automatically sends a predetermined brand tweet to the person’s twitter feed. The person can then add his personal message augmenting the brand tweet and send it out to his followers. This is potentially a powerful way brands can use technology to amplify their reach and create a personal endorsement.

Winning in the new environment is about evolving your content distribution strategy and taking advantage of opportunities that take a static message and turn them into something that is interactive and viral. What do you think of these two new technologies and are there any others that we should be following?