Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mobile Marketing Innovation at MotoGP Featuring Models Wearing QR Codes.

The dust has settled at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as the 2010 MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix is a fast memory. The 3-day event was capped off by a Jorge Lorenzo victory followed by a Terrell Owens like celebration. For those who don't know, MotoGP is the premier motorcycle racing world championship; an eighteen-race series visiting fourteen countries, four continents and with pan-global television coverage. It's a big F@#k-ing deal. There are only two races in the U.S every year.

The event was buzzing with brands like Ducati, Honda, Red Bull and Oakly who were all trying to stake their claim in the hearts of race fans with promotional materials and products. The culture was thriving off colorful logos and brand presences.

The most impressive marketing effort came from the Swiss watch brand, Tissot. As the official timekeeper, they had an outstanding visual presence around the track. Tissot also got to host fans in a tent located on the infield of the track where they were selling watches like the Nicky Hayden 2010 T-Race limited edition. Within the tent were all kinds of fun thing to entertain and engage fans. From hot models wearing QR codes to a big screen TV with Augmented Reality, Foursqaure checkins and even a Nicky Hayden autographed helmet giveaway entry. The Tissot tent was rockin to say the least!

Not only were girls wearing QR codes on their shirts, QR codes were also featured on stickers, counter displays and even bus wraps! All codes resolved to different pages depending on their placement. This is by far the most impressive QR code mobile marketing campaign at a public sporting event that has ever been executed (show me proof otherwise). I might be a little bias though....All powered by Tappinn. Check out the video of scanning QR codes off of a model's shirt.


The QR codes and mobile "SmartSite" featured

-Event schedules
-MotoGP race calender
-Nicky Hayden videos
-Nicky Hayden mobile wallpapers
-Map of the track
-Watch gallery and shareable product pages
-Buy now options on watches

A video of the mobile "SmartSite" demo is at the bottom of the page. Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The GAP is Using QR Codes

The famous reatiler, GAP, is using QR codes in their direct mail catalogs promoting the new fall denim collection. The code resolves to a video of Patrick Robinson, The GAP's head of design, discussing the the new jeans. A retailer like The Gap using QR codes will only increase awareness with consumers. Hopefully they will start using codes in the store!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Interview With

 Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Roger Marquis at Here is the interview.

RM: Nick, your background is in traditional commercial printing. How did you make the leap to 2D barcodes?
NF: Several years ago, when I was at The Duratran Company, we were trying to visualize how we could make our clients' traditional print ads and signage that much more engaging and effective from an ROI perspective and, while trying to come up with a solution, we recognized how more and more consumers were using their mobile phones to aid in the purchase process. As we set out to find a way to tie the print ads and signs with mobile phones, we discovered 2D barcodes, specifically QR codes. In 2007, I partnered with Casey Ford and Kevin Galbavi to form TAPPINN, and here we are. Casey serves as CEO and Kevin as CTO.

RM: The word TAPPINN is supposed to stand for something, can you explain?
NF: Yes, the "TAPP" portion of our name stands for "Transmission Activated by Permission Protocol," and the whole idea behind what we are about is permission based communications between the brand and the user or consumer. We see a world where mobile advertising will be led by the consumer, meaning it will be up to them to decide which ad they wish to view and read about.

RM: You also use the phrase "beyond the code" to describe your business, please elaborate?
NF: The web platform that we have built and offer to both ad agencies and companies is full-service in that it does much more than just generate QR codes. The platform goes "beyond the code" by providing clients with the ability to inventory and manage all of the QR codes they generate, develop mobile web sites, or what we call smart sites, and track and report on campaign activity.

RM: Speaking of the QR codes that your platform generates, why do your QR codes have a red square in the upper left hand corner?
NK: The red square in the upper left hand corner is meant to represent quality.

RM: Quality in terms of what?
NK: Quality in terms of content. Similar to the idea behind Intel's "Intel Inside" campaign, we want consumers to be able to see our codes, recognize the red square, and know that the mobile web site that it links to is a quality site with respect to content. And, by the way of content, we mean that the site will be easy for the consumer to navigate, targeted to the consumer's need or interest and offer consumers the ability for them to share it in a sociable way.

RM: What do you mean by "share in a sociable way?"
NF: To us, mobile marketing is all about the user experience and the ability for consumers to share what they like with family, friends, etc. So, when a consumer views a TAPPINN mobile web site, they will notice on the bottom of the page four icons, which can be used to: 1) Facebook "Like It", 2) Twitter share, 3) email or 4) create their own QR code. We make it extremely easy for consumers to share and be social.

RM: What makes your creative design work different from others?
NF: When designing a 2D barcode-based print ad you can do it in one of two ways. First, you can design the entire ad and then insert the 2D barcode. Second, you can design the ad with the barcode in mind and then develop the entire ad around the code itself. We believe the second way makes more sense strategically and this is what we do with all of the ads that we are asked to design for our clients. It is also worth noting that often times the barcode becomes the ad's call-to-action, so here too we pay particular attention to where the QR code is placed and what it looks like.

RM: As I understand it,  you use open source to generate your QR codes. Could you speak more to this?
NF: Sure. In today's market, there are a few companies that generate proprietary 2D barcodes, which means that unless you have the scanner/reader software which corresponds with their proprietary code you will not be able to scan/read the code properly and link to the mobile web page that's intended to be seen. As an open source platform, we generate codes that can be scan/read by most any scanner/reader software. At a time when consumers are just learning about and getting used to 2D barcodes, we believe it makes more sense to make it as easy, and open, as possible for them to use and access the technology.

RM: If a company wishes to purchase your product what are the costs?
NF: We are a subscription site. Unlimited pages, unlimited QR codes.

RM: Who are some of your clients?
NF: We have done work with TAG Heuer, Hearts on Fire, Tissot, Spazio24, Fred Meyer Jewelers, Aetrex and others in the luxury brand space.

RM: Where do we go from here?
NF: We see the 2D barcode market ready to explode here in the U.S., and taking on a presence much like that found in Japan and Europe, which are ahead of us in many different ways. From our perspective, 2D barcodes will transform traditional print advertising and create a much richer, and more social, user experience for all.

RM: Thank you Nick.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Calvin Klein Jeans QR Code Billboard in New York City (Pics and Video)

Calvin Klein Jeans have been know for edgy billboards but in a different way. Check out this giant Calvin Klein Jeans QR code billboard on the corner of Layafette and E. Houston in NYC! The code directs users to a sizzling hot 30 second video, Calvin Klein style. This is another big step for QR code exposure and it makes me wonder why more advertisers aren't making the most of their billboards by doing the same. I scanned this code from over 100 yards away.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ze Jewelry Goes Mobile in Engagement 101 Magazine (QR Codes)

Ze Jewelry is a designer and manufacturer of wedding and engagement rings as well as diamond and colored gemstone jewelry including bracelets, necklaces, earrings and pendents.

In the newest installment of Engagement 101 Magazine, Ze Bridal uses a QR code in their ad featuring 5 different engagement ring styles and wedding bands. The QR code directs users to a landing page where they can view MORE styles related to the ad and share them from their phone. The landing page is clean, simple and most importantly, MOBILE. Each style has it's own product page which can be "liked" on Facebook. The Ze Bridal mobile site is simple to navigate, shop and share. I have attached screenshots below.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Canvas Magazine Does QR Codes

Canvas Magazine ( is a print industry publication that supports print sales and marketing executives. In the June issue they dedicate the magazine to explaining QR codes and how they can be used to enhance print marketing efforts. Most of the ads within the magazine feature QR codes but not too many of those codes connected to "mobile" content. The codes were just a link to the company home page. It felt good flipping through the magazine and seeing QR codes galore. This is the way it SHOULD be.