Morrisons, Unilever and Mercedes trial NFC and QR outdoor digital technology

Unilever, Morrisons and Mercedes are among those brands trialling the use of Near Field Communications (NFC) and Quick Response (QR) technology on digital outdoor sites, as they move to tap into the increased use of smartphones and garner improved customer data.

QR codes: now being trialled on digital outdoor sites In Reading by top brands
QR codes: now being trialled on digital outdoor sites In Reading by top brands

The trial is taking place in Reading from today (5 March) and will run for a month, in conjunction with JC Decaux and Kinetic.

Unilever will advertise four of its brands – Lynx, Vaseline, Toni & Guy and Magnum – on 325 digital six-sheets located around Reading town centre, on bus shelters and in the town's shopping centre.

All the advertising panels, owned by JC Decaux, have been NFC and QR code-enabled, which will mean that smartphone owners can scan a code or tap a chip on the advertising posters to access tailored brand content, such as offers and competitions.

Smartphone owners can download a QR app from their phones to access the tailored content.

Unilever, Mercedes and Morrisons are undertaking the trial in a bid to capture data profile about potential customers.

WPP-owned Kinetic will carry out research around the project.

If successful, the venture could be broadened out to other sites and brands.

Richard Brooke, communications buying manager at Unilever UK, said: "This trial is a test bed to understand the way in which we can use smartphones to open up new ways of enabling brand interaction. If the trial proves that consumers enjoy this interaction, it could shape the future of marketing."

The use of NFC technology is one of the key battlegrounds in which mobile phone brands are looking to outdo each other.

Brands as diverse as Manchester City Football Club and Starbucks have to date made use of the technology.

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