Hundreds of six-sheet poster sites in a British town have been upgraded to support near field communication (NFC) and QR codes, for one of the biggest trials of the technologies in out-of-home media yet.
Outdoor media owner JCDecaux and planning and buying firm Kinetic are partnering on the project, which goes live today and sees 325 poster sites converted in the town of Reading, near Heathrow Airport to the west of London.
Reading was chosen for its tech-literate population – major local employers include Microsoft and Oracle – and high smartphone penetration. The poster sites are mostly non-digital ones in bus shelters, along with some digital six-sheets in the Oracle shopping centre.
During a four-week trial, a dozen brands will take turns to provide information, games and voucher-based offers to consumers, who can download them to their phones using NFC contactless technology, or via a QR app if their handset does not support NFC.
The aim is not to test the already proven technology, but to examine how consumers engage with interactive posters in real-world settings.
Brands participating in the project, dubbed Test the Near Future, are EA Games, H&M, ITV2, Lucozade Sport, Lynx, Magnum, Mercedes, Morrisons, Toni&Guy, Universal DVD, Universal Special Projects, and Vaseline.
Said Nick Mawditt, director of insight and marketing at Kinetic: “Shoppers and commuters can choose to download content from major advertisers including special offers, vouchers, games and music simply by swiping their smartphones on poster sites. NFC is widely regarded as a technology that could transform the way consumers use their mobile phones to interact with their environment.”
Interactive technology specialist Zappit is working with JCDecaux and Kinetic on the trial.
Separately, JCDecaux says it plans to expand its digital six-sheet estate in British railway stations by 60 percent this year. It is also creating “immersion zones” at four major London stations, containing multiple media opportunities for its advertisers.