Picture this. You have just gotten home after picking up a few miscellaneous items from the market and decide to do a load of laundry. After separating your darks and lights, there is an unexpected visitor at your door. The ‘doorbell-ringer’ is persistent, and suddenly your laundry box is reverberating. Panic ensues.
Hopefully you knew about the recent Omo Laundry detergent promotion before you decided to purchase that particular brand, otherwise you certainly would not have any indication of who is at your door, and that you were in fact a “lucky” winner.
Omo, a brand-name detergent in Brazil is implementing a revolutionary advertising campaign: 50 boxes of Omo detergent are disbursed with GPS devices buried inside of the detergent. Once a box is activated, company employees are sent to track the lucky (in question) customer home. If the customer is reluctant to answer the door, the team will then activate the GPS which will make a strident noise. Are you in support of this dirt-demolishing advertising ploy, or is it just plain dirty? Whatever your thoughts are, tracking and sensory technologies are going to become even more prevalent.
1) Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Keurig (distributor of a single-serve coffee machine) may add RFID tags to the coffee filters in order for the machine to sense the type of coffee being placed into the device. This would allow the machine to change temperature, milk type, and any other features. The single-serve coffee machine will essentially remember your order.
Of course, we cannot forget about the RFID-Tag infiltration at Wal-Mart. In an effort to put a halt to thievery, Wal-Mart decided to track individual items by installing smart tags that will allow retailers and manufacturers to track items at the unit level. Specifically, Wal-Mart will track jeans and undergarments in order to improve inventory. Sure, you could remove the RFID tag once you exit the store, but even before that, markets would have the capability to find out more information about you and your purchase interests on the sales floor. The smart tags are stirring up controversy regarding privacy concerns.
2) Quick Response (QR) Codes
From garbage trucks to billboard advertisements, QR codes may be the saving grace of print media. After downloading an app to your phone, you can scan the two-dimensional code, and view the image by photographing an ad, product, or label. The app/software will launch the URL imbedded in the QR code and streamline the associated video or download the image. A couple of recent examples of companies using QR codes include the recently publicized (and racy) Calvin Klein billboard. A QR code image was placed on the billboard with the tagline “Get it Uncensored.” After viewers took a photo of the image was “unlocked.” This technology, thus, can be very controversial.
Following Calvin Klein’s movement, NYC garbage trucks jumped at the chance to use this technology. The code on the garbage truck will transport users to a video show called “The Green Apple: Recycling.” “Having QR codes all over town will hopefully remove much of the nerd-factor from the QR code scan, and demonstrate to tens of thousands of New Yorkers…the potential rewards of engaging with the codes.”
The QR codes could also serve as interactive information portals. For instance, cities could ‘imbed’ historic information on a landmark. Another advantageous aspect of using QR codes on products is to create a ‘universal language’ by imbedding a photo or incorporating product translations in the code. The possibilities really are endless.
‘Stickybits’ allows users to be connected to a social experience, essentially attaching content to any around you. For instance, if you scan a product at the store, you can attach a recipe to the sticky bit. With the current packaging regulation proposals that may come into effect (i.e. Food manufacturers being required to provide nutrition content on the front of the package); the stickybits may be very useful in allowing packaging professionals to convey information despite the decreased space on the packaging. Consumers and marketers will be able to participate in product-related conversations, offering feedback or incentives. Although stickybits has been criticized as “graffiti for nerds,” the possibilities of using stickybits are endless: real estate, product packages, personal notes, or business cards. Attach meaning to any object around you!
Communications theorists of the late 1900s thought online news was synergistic; these theorists would truly appreciate this! But what do you think, has it gone too far? How would you implement the aforementioned technology?