Mobile Bar Codes Coming to Television
By Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire
Bar codes are branching out.
Retailers are taking them out of the store and placing them in television commercials
to give viewers the option of scanning them with a mobile device
to receive product information and sales incentives.
Bluefly is the first retailer
to use bar codes on television, embedding them in its Closet Confessions TV
campaign on the Bravo channel. According to a statement from Bluefly, the Closet
Confessions advertisements are a series of 45-second spots that feature celebrities
giving tours of their closets and sharing stories about their lives. The ScanLife
mobile barcodes, or "Quick
will appear in the ads through November. Viewers will get instant access to
additional video content or a $30-off coupon on a $150 purchase at bluefly.com
when they scan the codes with their camera phones using a barcode scanning
"By incorporating ScanLife mobile barcode technology into the ads, we
are taking Closet Confessions one step further by providing viewers with a
unique call to action that allows them to instantly access exclusive content
and special offers from their phones while they are watching TV," said
Bradford Matson, Bluefly’s chief marketing officer, in a statement.
different approach, Warbasse Design used a bar code in a commercial to promote
the HBO television series, True Blood. Viewers scanning the
bar code were able to see an exclusive clip from the upcoming season. Philip
Warbasse, its chief executive, explained to The New York Times. "For
now, this is a clever way to make the commercial last longer … within a
year or two, this will be mainstream with bar codes becoming the preferred
method for television advertisers to deliver extras to interested viewers."
bar codes have been used in the U.S. for advertising in print publications,
on billboards, at movie theaters, and on product packaging, according to Media
Buyer Planner. While bar codes have been widely used on television in
Europe and Asia, they have been slow to be adopted in the U.S. because of
a lack of one standard code and a limited number of smart phone users who
have downloaded the technology, according to the Times.
But as smart
phones, which now account for 25 percent of the mobile market in the U.S.,
overtake standard mobile phones, the use of bar code technology in ads is
expected to rise.
Michael Becker, managing director for North America of the
Mobile Marketing Association, told the Times bar codes will become more
common because, "They
are simple and quick to use and they trigger a richer, quicker and more interactive
experience for the user."
Discussion Question: What future do you see for bar codes in advertising
on TV and in other media?
Launches Mobile Barcode Technology in Television Commercials – Bluefly
- Bar Codes Add Detail on Items in TV Ads – The New York Times
- Interactive Bar Codes Come to TV in Bluefly Ads – Media Buyer Planner
- E-retailer Bluefly reaches out to shoppers through their TV screens – Internet