Tag Archives | GPS

Shazam Could Replace The QR Code

QR Code Death

Admit it: The QR Code is never going to catch on with mainstream users. (Hell, it’s barely getting used by advertisers, and we’ll try anything once.) Asking people to download and use a 3rd party app so they can scan a code to get mysterious content related to an ad is a bit much, and until Apple decides to include a QR code scanning app with every iPhone, they’re just not going to get used by more than a fringe minority of the mobile audience.

That said, the reason advertisers want QR codes to take off is clear: We live in an increasingly mobile world, and with campaigns spreading across multiple mediums, there needs to be an easy way to connect analog content with digital content so we can create a more interactive and immersive experience.

While NFC holds promise as a potential solution, it requires broad adoption by phone manufacturers, and there’s little indication we’ll see that any time soon.

So is it time to face the facts and admit that it will never be easy to connect ads to a mobile experience?

Not exactly.

Shazam

Enter, Shazam.

Shazam debuted as an app that recognizes the audio from music and reports back on what song is currently playing. The technology has since been repurposed by companies like Old Navy, General Mills and News Corp. to recognize commercials, allowing viewers to tag the audio of a spot and receive additional content from the brand.

If you haven’t experienced one of these enhanced ads, check out this Pillsbury Crescents commercial which returns recipes to users who Shazam the ad when prompted:

While this works well in a controlled environment like the living room, there’s no reason the same technology can’t be used in other places to connect ads to a mobile device.

See where I’m going with this?

Calvin Klein recently teamed up with Shazam to create in-store sound installations, and proved that the process can be used for more than just tagging TV.

The interaction is simple: When a customer is near the branded podium, they open the Shazam app and scan the song that’s playing through the speaker. In return, they receive exclusive content like in-store promotions, a complimentary download of an exclusive song, and a Calvin Klein holiday wallpaper for their mobile device.

According to David Jones, VP of Marketing at Shazam:

Calvin Klein is an iconic fashion brand known across the globe, and Shazam is incredibly excited to work with them on their new holiday campaign and in-store sound installations. Shazam’s partnership with Calvin Klein marks the first in-store-only program utilizing Shazam, and demonstrates how retailers can take advantage of Shazam’s discovery service to help build an enriching, interactive experience with shoppers this holiday season.

While I like what this campaign represents, I think it’s just a small step in the direction of what could be a major competitor to QR codes and NFC.

Calvin Klein Shazam

Imagine out of home campaigns that use small speakers to play audio that’s beyond the reach of human hearing, but can be picked up by the phone to connect the ad with a mobile experience. The audio could be customized by region to offer location based ads, or the app could simply tap into the phone’s GPS capabilities for the same effect.

Now imagine an outdoor scavenger hunt that uses custom Shazam tags to ensure that users are where they say they are, and delivers rewards in exchange for seeking out the branded experience. Or how about a sweepstakes that uses the audio tag to tell the phone if the user is a winner. Or a bus stop ad that entertains with a song while also allowing the brand to quickly connect on a deeper level when users activate their Shazam app.

These are just a few examples of what’s possible with the technology, and I’m sure we’ll see others as advertisers start brainstorming, but the idea is that it’s as simple as adding a speaker to an existing ad, and letting Shazam handle the rest.

So why is Shazam different from what we’re asking people to do to interact with QR codes?

While the process is similar, the key to Shazam’s potential success is the 165 million users they have already acquired through their music tagging service. Unlike QR codes, which require apps that have no purpose but to scan QR codes, Shazam has already established value to the user, and people are familiar with the process of using Shazam to tag content for additional information. It’s a short jump from the existing behavior to the new behavior, and millions of users are already primed to make that jump.

The Shazam logo can become synonymous with additional content, and that content doesn’t limit brands to the data that can fit in a shortened and codified URL.

Since we’ve already seen big brands test out Shazam for tagging TV, and initial reports are that they’re happy with the results and looking to do more, I wouldn’t be surprised to see those same brands follow Calvin Kleins’ lead in the next few months by testing the waters of out of home tagging. Assuming both advertisers and users get value out of those initial interactions, the behavior should stick, and we will finally have a technology that millions of people can use to extend the ad experience to their mobile device.

Surf Report Puts Oakley In Surfers’ Hands

Oakley Surf Report

Surf Report is a new iPhone app from Oakley and Surfline that provides mobile access to surf reports, community news, photos, wallpapers, and Oakley Team Rider bios. With it, Oakley hopes to secure its place in the hands and minds of every tech savvy surfer on a daily basis, and to reinforce their brand as one that caters to the needs of extreme sports enthusiasts.

Take the mystery out of checking the surf with technology engineered to be on the go with you. Check swell direction. Monitor the weather. Chart a 2–day forecast. Get your daily mobile surf report for your favorite beaches – thousands worldwide. And do it all from the comfort of your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Surf Report does just about everything a surfer could want, including saving your favorite surf spots for up to the minute info before you start your surf commute (including air temp, water temp, tide charts, swell breakdown, wind, and sunrise/sunset when available), using GPS to locate nearby surf spots should you find yourself in unfamiliar territory, directing you to those surf spots using the Google Maps, showing current conditions for when Mother Nature wants to rain on your surf parade, continuously updating the forecast to help you time that precious few minutes between the storms, and even predicting the forecast a few days out to make sure nothing gets in the way of those killer waves.

Oakley Surf Report Detail

With a lightly branded button, splash screen, and Team Rider bios, Oakley has managed to create an attractive, functional, and useful tool without over-branding or over-selling. They know that by providing value to their user, Surf Report will get used, talked about, passed around and enjoyed. They also know that with surfers especially, an over-branded application would have gone unused or even cursed, so they were smart to partner with a trusted source like Surfline and let the app speak for itself.

The Good:

  • Light and appropriate branding doesn’t annoy the user, yet still reinforces the brand’s message.
  • Being useful, simple and full-featured means this application will be used frequently.
  • $0 price means a low barrier to entry, putting Surf Report in the hands of anyone that wants it.

The Bad:

  • Relies on a third-party for data, though users will blame Oakley if something goes wrong.

The Future:

  • Mobile applications allow a company to provide useful information to their customers, frequently reinforce their brand, and stay on the cutting edge of technology.

Oakley – Surf Report

Surf Report (iTunes)