‘No one is talking about NFC as a mobile advertising tool’.
Since founding in 2011, Australian firm Tapit has been on a mission to spread the word of NFC and its largely untapped potential as a significant tool in the world of mobile advertising.
Although it is still in its relative infancy, NFC technology is generally spoken of first and foremost as a mobile payments solution, which is something that Niklas Bakos, vice president of Tapit EMEA, is keen to change.
With a head office in Sydney, Australia, Tapit has recently expanded its global presence with new offices in Stockholm, New York and London, and is looking to bring its services to major brands on a global scale.
“We are preaching about the use of NFC in mobile marketing for retailers, as well as for outdoor and government use,” states Bakos. “NFC in all mobile environments is still pretty new. There’s been a lot of discussion about NFC and mobile payment, but no one is really talking about using NFC in mobile advertising and marketing. That’s where we come in, and we are 100 per cent focused on NFC as a marketing tool, so we’re not doing any kind of payments system or platforms. We just specialise in bringing the value of NFC to marketing aspects.”
Despite this lack of discussion regarding the benefits of NFC as a mobile marketing solution and not just a payments tool, Bakos is adamant that now is the right time to bring its multi-faceted qualities to the fore. “It’s early days for NFC,” he says, “but it’s expanding heavily. With the handsets we have now, as well as the fast networks and the technology we have, the time really is now for brands to fully embrace its capabilities.”
So, how exactly is Tapit planning on enhancing the mobile marketing arena? “We are creating a new infrastructure here, which moves static advertising forwards. Obviously, banner ads are something that big brands are willing to pay for, but up until now they haven’t been able to communicate with that audience. But, now they can enable NFC points on their static ads and all of a sudden every ad or touch point is becoming interactive. With this, they can engage their consumers with rewards and competitions etc.
“For instance, now, a static a poster at a train station or a billboard on the street can become interactive and allow consumers to engage and communicate with them,” he explains. “This connects real-world environments with digital and mobile Internet, which is very exciting.”
Clearly very encouraged by the potential of NFC mobile advertising, Bakos believes that the key to bringing such services to a wider audience is education and raising awareness of its power by connecting with brands and consumers alike.
“We are here as a marketing agency to help brands understand how they can use the technology, and we need to educate them while it is still in its early days. We want to show them tat we can simplify the way they get their audience to engage with their mobile phones and show them that it’s never been easier.
“In Barcelona at MWC, the walls all around the venue were NFC enabled, so you could go and just tap to find out the location of the nearest toilet, or restaurant etc. So, I was just standing at these walls watching how people would interact with them and it seemed that they didn’t understand that the print on the walls was something that you could touch with your phone. There were people walking around holding Samsung Galaxy S 2s and 3s who didn’t realise that they could use them with the walls, so it’s very important to bring a clear message to the end user about what we are actually bringing to the table. We have to show them that all you have to do is just tap with your phone and up comes something very cool.”
Bakos concludes by citing a recent Tapit campaign with Microsoft to support the launch of Halo 4. “We ran a campaign in Australia for the launch of the game Halo 4, where we created 376 unique Halo 4 posters that we put on many panels across Sydney and Melbourne. These posters had no message on them, just very nice Halo 4 artwork, and on the side of the poster was an NFC-enabled touch point. Then, on the launch day, we ran a competition whereby the first person to tap each poster would then win the poster itself, so people were running around all over Sydney and Melbourne trying to find untapped posters. They could also track on their phones which ones had already been taken and which ones hadn’t.
“This was a very cool campaign, which engaged a lot of people and was a great example of NFC technology.”