Thursday, September 30, 2010

Have you scanned an advertising bar code yet?

9/30/10

Perhaps you’ve noticed in the past year that bar codes are popping up in magazines, posters and billboards. When I first read about the technology, I thought it would be a great tool for point-of-purchase -- to provide additional information so consumers don’t walk away empty handed when they are confused. But with only 25% of cell phones capable of scanning them, adoption has been slow.

Now comes word that Bluefly is using them in television ads! When Bravo viewers scan the 45-second Closet Confessions spot, not only can they get more information about products, they are also offered a $30 discount on a $150 purchase at bluefly.com. (Olson, 2010)

That seems promising to me. What do you think? Will you give it a try? Have you already?

Olson, E. (2010, September 26). Bar Codes Add Detail on Items in TV Ads. nytimes.com. Retrieved September 28, 2010, from
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/business/media/27bluefly.html?_r=2

10 comments:

  1. This is so cool! I do not have a smartphone so I have not been able to try it out, but I am sure I will cave and buy one once my plan expires. I know there has been several times in the last few months that I have wished that I had the scanning barecode app, especially when I am foodshopping in nyc in the middle of 4 different supermarkets!

    This bluefly idea seems very similar to the idea of clickable tvs that are supposed to fully launch soon. Overall I think this is promising, I would barcode a product that I think I would like, escpecially if there was a discount.

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  2. I think it's a great idea, as far as putting information into the hands of consumers. But I wonder about privacy -- when you scan a bar code with your smartphone, how much of your own info are you giving to the company? Ah -- I'm a bit of a Luddite anyway; I can't see myself doing this. I'd feel like a stock-boy.

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  3. Funny, I was just thinking about these today. Brooks Brothers had several pages of ad space in Esquire Magazine. Each page had a code on it so if you liked any of the clothes on the page you could scan the code and purchase from your phone.

    I'm an iPhone user. AT&T just released a free reader app that is pretty simple and fast. They do ask for some basic user info (gender, age and location) but it's optional.

    Honestly I don't scan them much. The couple times I have were for movie posters, usually ones that are vague and ambiguous-- they entice me to find out more.

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  4. While this is a great idea to promote barcode scanning, the biggest problem is that it very often doesn't work. Until the technology catches up with the ambition, they're going to have difficulty maintaining any interest amongst those that try it out. I've heard of many barcode scanning apps that while they seem great as a concept are far too difficult to use because of such specific and stringent requirements based on the limits of the technology itself.

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  5. I think this, as well as the augmented reality technology with smart phones is truly amazing. It's not 100% where it needs to be currently, but I am sure will improve and "catch on" as smart phone prices decrease and the education to the masses as to what these "funny looking little patterns" actually are increases.

    Great potential for consumers and marketers...

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  6. I can see the promise in the QR codes. When I was at the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, I was with a friend who used it to download info about one of the artists and their other work - a great way to get supplemental info about something that interested her in an immediate way.

    For me, though, scanning codes to get discounts or win prizes seems like yet another hoop to jump through. I can't picture myself using it for such a purpose - and I certainly can't picture myself holding my iPhone up to my television to scan the darn thing.

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  7. It's an interesting tool. In Japan nowadays QR code which is two ddimention barcode is getting a major promotion tool. If consumers access its URL to You Tube, they can see promotion video by their cell phone. I am not sure but Levis might do this type of promotion in Japan.

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  8. I think that this is becoming a legitimate advertising tool. While I agree that the amount of people who have smartphones capable of using this technology might be a small percentage as the moment (you said 25%), i think that a lot has to be said for the demographic of this 25%. My guess would be that they are young, in the income range of $50,000 - 100,000, between 18-25 and tech-saavy. If you are trying to market you product to this demographic, this would be a huge opportunity for you. I have used this before, and have also been surprised by the jump in shopping apps in general. Some are better than others, but there is a definite upswing in the amount of marketing for products and venues through apps.

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  9. I heard about this technology about 2 years ago, when a friend of mine visited Japan. She said it was used outside restaurant windows to download and view their menu. I was intrigued, what a cool concept! I think marketers shouldn't hesitate to tap into what seems to be the ever growing smartphone user. Last year I was using the conventional flip-phone and found myself out of the loop with the sea of communication and information that was being exchanged amongst my friends, and I'm sure many can relate. For companies to provide coupons and incentives, I'm sure the public will find themselves wanting in on those deals as well and perhaps find that the savings will far outweigh the cost of the phone itself.

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  10. I must be way behind the times because this is the first that I have heard of this technology. What I can say is "wow"! As a company, to be able to "extend the commercial" and drive consumers to your product to potentially buy something is what it's all about and the bar codes will do just that through the sheer curiosity it generates and novelty of the idea. I think it would also drive the non-core market of a company because of these facts. People are curious and love discovering new things as well as being fascinated with the latest and greatest trends. Because we enjoy using technology so much, I think this idea will be one to stay. I have not seen or used one of the bar codes, but after learning about them I will use and tell people about the bar codes.

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