In our previous post NFC: Disrupting QR Codes, we talked about how Near Field Communication (NFC) is the next game-changing technology for mobile advertising in the United States. For Asian markets, however, NFC is at a later stage, being a fully adopted technology with a wide variety of uses beyond marketing. For example, Pasmo, Tokyo subway’s rechargeable card has an embedded NFC chip, which allows passengers to enter the trains without having to take the cards out of their bags. Marketers in Asian markets are tapping into NFC’s huge potential as well. In Tokyo, advertising agency Shunkosha installed NFC chips in subway straps. When the user taps the straps the NFC chip sends a signal to the smartphone with URLs containing advertisements, discounts, or other information. “Strappy”, as the campaign was called, sent users advertisements from the travel agency H.I.S.
Asian markets, especially Japan and South Korea, have been ahead of the curve in numerous mobile innovations. The ill-fated QR code, 3G and 4G networks, and mobile email were ubiquitous in Japan when they were merely a buzz word in Western markets. David Steel, Executive VP of Strategy and Corporate Communications for Samsung Electronic explains that there are societal factors explaining why Western markets lag behind Asian markets in terms of the adoption of mobile innovations. He comments that 16% of Americans consider themselves “early adopters”, compared to 40% of their South Korean counterparts. In the interview video posted below, Trevor Healy, CEO of [a•mo•bee], explains that an important factor fueling innovation and early adoption in mobile technology across South East Asia is the lack of personal computers and the pervasiveness of smartphones. He mentions that the increase in mobile advertising in this region is nothing short of 300- 400% in growth. Despite Asia’s head start in mobile advertising, the U.S. is trailing behind with noteworthy applications of NFC technology.
The emphasis for the U.S. seems to be on payment services like Google Wallet, Square, Intuit, and Paypal. Google Wallet uses an embedded NFC chip that stores credit card information on your smartphone. Instead of swiping a credit card, the NFC chip communicates with the payment receiver and completes the transaction wirelessly. According to Visa, this market is going to skyrocket with estimated transactions expected to increase from $27 million in 2012 to $40 billion in 2014.
In the U.S., companies are experimenting with a combination of print ads and mobile to create innovative campaigns, wooing costumers with their novel approach. In a pioneering effort, Lexus and Wired Magazine paired up to create the first print ad with an embedded NFC tag for their April 2012 issue. For readers with NFC-enabled phones, the ad brings up a video that showcases the new Enform® App Suite, which integrates popular mobile applications, such as Pandora, Yelp, and Open Table to the luxury vehicle.
NFC technology will disrupt the QR code trend with it’s more intuitive usage. For other areas of marketing like social media and location-based marketing, this technology will open the horizons to a more interactive arena. For print, NFC incorporates the web to a previously hard-to-track medium. With print ads directing people to the web, there is a bonanza of data for marketers to capitalize on. At the end, cutting through today’s clutter is a marketer’s Holy Grail and biggest challenge. NFC offers infinite possibilities for marketers to jump that hurdle.
By: Angela Romero