Magazine article ADWEEK

The Technology Revolution: Planning a Branding Ambush? Better Bring That Digital Gadget First

Magazine article ADWEEK

The Technology Revolution: Planning a Branding Ambush? Better Bring That Digital Gadget First

Article excerpt

Guerrilla marketing has traditionally been about turning heads on the street. It still is. But with most people now walking around with digital gadgets, marketers have begun to realize that a splash of high-tech is essential to turn a passing glance into active engagement. Signs of this trend emerged a few years ago when cameras became standard on cell phones, resulting in a craze for scavenqer hunts that required people to snap pics of their finds. That's old hat now, as new mobile technologies like GPS, QR codes and augmented reality have filled the void.

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For instance, Blu Dot, the Minneapolis-based furniture maker, ran an innovative promotion last November in which it left its $129 "Real Good Chair" at various curbsides in New York City. Concealed within the chair's modish contours was a GPS device, allowing Mono, Blu Dot's marketing agency, to track the chairs back to the homes of those who rescued them. Blu Dot posted a Google Map on its Web site showing the chairs' paths, and a Twitter feed also updated the objects' statuses. "It answered a simple question," says Mono's creative director Michael Hart. "If we brought these chairs, who would take them and where would they go?" (Later, Blu Dot closed the marketing loop by dispatching street teams to locate the scavengers at their homes; those who agreed to chat received a second free chair.)

Meanwhile, QR codes offer a twist on camera phone-based promotions. For the uninitiated, QR ("Quick Response") codes are symbols that, when photographed with a smartphone, automatically lead the phone's browser to a Web site, a process known as hardlinking. …

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