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AT&T parades mobile bar code services via B2B iAd campaign

AT&T Inc. aims to drive awareness of mobile bar codes and the services it provides to companies that want to use them within marketing collateral via a business-to-business campaign that combines sight, sound and motion on Apple's iAd platform.

AT&T?s mobile ad push is running within applications such as the New York Times and is targeting executives with decision-making power. Running an iAd campaign made sense for the carrier, because many of these movers-and-shakers have an iPhone.

?The success of quick-response codes in Japan means that we should always consider ways to help such systems reach a tipping point here,? said Simon Silvester, executive vice president and head of planning Y&R EMEA and executive planning director for EMEA at Wunderman, London. ?More than 90 percent of Japanese handsets in use can read QR codes, and almost every printed surface in Japan is covered in them.

?Brands use them as a direct-response mechanism, nightclubs use them on their flyers and they are even used by government ? if you visit Japan, your entry visa encodes your ID in one,? he said. ?QR codes enhance direct response because they are immediate ? you see an offer you like on a billboard or in a bar, and you respond to it there and then.

?Their electronic nature allows them to be used to create new kinds of offers and services: similar bar codes can be sent from phone to phone in Korea, allowing friends to gift each other Starbucks cappuccinos from phone to phone.?

Wunderman is a network of advertising, marketing and consulting companies that is part of Young & Rubicam Brands and a member of WPP Group.

The company was not involved in the AT&T iAd campaign. It agreed to comment on the campaign as a third-party source.

Mobile ads driving 2D bar code adoption
AT&T?s significant investment in the iAd campaign proves that it is making its mobile bar codes services a priority, and it believes mobile advertising targeting iPhone users is an effective way to get the word out about its offerings.

The AT&T expandable banner ad within the New York Times' iPhone app

The AT&T iAd unit includes an audio component that explains the potential benefits of integrating mobile bar codes into a multichannel marketing campaign.

Once expanded, the AT&T iAd features three sections

The iAd encourages iPhone users to download the bar code scanner and request information from AT&T

AT&T touts the ability of mobile bar codes to be integrated into various consumer touch points, including the point of sale

AT&T targets enterprise customers
In March, AT&T launched a charter program to test the use of 2D bar code scanners on AT&T mobile devices, tracking consumer response rates and the effectiveness of consumer bar code scanning technology as an interactive marketing vehicle.

The carrier claims that consumer bar code scanning represents the next generation of interactive targeted marketing, enabling advertisers to deliver relevant content and offers to consumers, as well as being a valuable and efficient tool for consumers to search for promotions and information using their mobile device.

?The U.S. marketing community likes [bar codes], but has not yet gotten behind them,? Mr. Silvester said. ?We would like to think that they will take off in the same way they have in Japan.

?But the mobile phone industry in Japan always calls itself ?the Galapagos Islands? ? because it is full of evolutions and innovations, which never make it out of Japan,? he said. ?We tend to think that mobile is all about adding functionality to brands ? and that apps rather than banner campaigns are therefore a better use of the medium.

?If the application included bar code reading functionality ? and packaged it up with an inspiring collection mechanic ? perhaps a national treasure hunt ? that could be the way forward.?

Final Take
AT&T Enterprise