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Microsoft demos new product via mobile bar codes

Microsoft is placing mobile bar codes on its static magazine advertisements to show off how its new smartphone works.

Microsoft is using its own mobile bar code technology on print ads in magazines such as GQ and Wired to promote the Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone. The ads are meant to demonstrate to readers what the user interface on the device is like.

?The strategy is to take an offline experience and turn it into an experience that will engage an end user,? said Bobby Marhamat, founder of Hipscan, Menlo Park, CA.

?When you are taken from a static ad to a mobile experience that allows you to watch a video on the features of a mobile device or an interactive demo of a phone, your education and interest in that device is much more interactive,? he said.

?Men are more prone to be early adopters in changing their mobile preferences when it comes to technology devices, and by targeting media that they frequent you are able to engage them from the onset. In addition, GQ and Wired magazine readers have a higher education and above average financial status, which means they are more likely to be interested in new technology in general.?

Mr. Marhamat is not affiliated with Microsoft. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Microsoft declined to comment for this story.

Mobile demo
Microsoft?s slogan for the campaign ? Meet the new Windows Phone ? is prominently promoted at the top of the ad.

Below, a picture of the Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone is featured with a blank screen. Stickers on the left side of the page let users create a customized home screen on the phone. Stickers that depict applications such as Urbanspoon, The Weather Channel and LinkedIn are meant to show the breadth of apps that are available for the device.

A Microsoft Tag in the bottom right-hand corner of the page is surrounded by copy that encourages users to scan the code to learn more about how the phone works.

In order to scan the mobile bar code, consumers need to download the Microsoft Tag reader app, which is available for a variety of devices on operating systems including Windows, iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

When users scan the code, a landing page is brought up that includes an image of the home screen of a Windows Phone device.

The page then walks users step-by-step through the features of the phone, including messaging and calendar reminders.

For example, by tapping on the page, users are prompted to create, resize and pin a message to the smartphone?s screen.

The mobile-enabled page

Marketing machine
Microsoft has been riding a huge marketing wave for its new Windows 8 operating system across mediums such as TV, online and out-of-home.

For instance, a promotion for Windows 8 recently took over the covers of Condé Nast?s Architectural Digest and Vanity Fair (see story).

In this case, showing users via a mobile bar code how a phone works adds a layer of interaction to the print ad.

?Microsoft is on a quest to show the cool factor in Windows 8,? Mr. Marhamat said.

?This is definitely a new strategy for Microsoft as it was mainly targeting the business user in previous product launches,? he said. ?In addition, this cool factor is being further promoted by Microsoft's attempt to use Hollywood to further portray the style and uniqueness that this new operating system has to offer.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York