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MTag launches personalized 2D bar code tags for marketing campaigns

MTag has launched the Tune Your Tag platform, offering companies the opportunity to brand their own 2D barcode tags.

The 2D bar code has become a widely accepted tool in today's marketing and communications campaigns, mainly thanks to the fact that it can be used for a whole host of different applications and media. With this new technology, brands will be able to personalize their tags to capture their company's visual identity and incorporate their own full-color logo into the design.

"There are separate modalities for the call-to-action so the end user can interact with the campaign, and by incorporating a 2D mobile bar code into an existing direct response medium, it's one more way for brands to interact with consumers," said Chip Hoffman, Atlanta-based CEO of MTag.

"Brands will not only drive customers response rates, which intrinsically drive ROI, but as carriers deploy more handsets compatible with this technology, brands will be able to interact with mobile consumers in a cost-neutral, measurable way," he said.

"All these things are coming together to create a way for existing old media to become more relevant and more accountable using the mobile device as an enabling mechanism."

MTag is a Paris-based software developer specializing in mobile handset software.

MTag has two main products: Mobiletag and Meepass. It has also just added a new NFC tag management server to its portfolio.

In 2006, the company launched Mobiletag, an embedded software application that lets mobile phones read 2D bar codes, otherwise known as tags, by using the phone's camera.

MTag developed the software to create quick access to external content.

MTag recently received a venture capital investment of 4 million euros in October 2008 funded by new lead investor Alven Capital and by existing shareholders XangeCapital and IDF Capital.

This capital increase will allow MTag to pursue its international growth strategy in the market of 2D bar codes.

MTag has already established business partnerships with major European carriers and is in negotiation with international brands.

MTag has just opened an American branch in Atlanta called Mobiletag Inc. dedicated to the U.S. market.

In addition to Mobiletag, MTag also recently launched Meepass, a new mobile identification product that the company showcased at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

MTag's mobile site is at http://m.mobiletag.com.

Very soon, members of the general public will be able to submit their own original tags to MTag. The best designs will then be selected and shared via the company's Web site.

MTag specializes in 2D barcode creation and management, as well as readers and applications for mobile phones and information management platforms, both bar codes and NFC technology.

Mobiletag's 2D bar code specification is already the official national standard in France and Poland, and is ready to deploy in Spain, Germany, Italy and Britain.

MTag claims that its reader technology has been developed for all mobile operating systems in order to reach the entire European mobile phone base. Now, it has its sights set on the U.S.

Mobiletag's reading application has been developed for Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Apple's iPhone, Java, Google's Android, Nokia's Symbian, RIM's BlackBerry and Brew.

When a consumer takes a picture of a tag, they are automatically redirected to content, information or a service.

Tags can be found on CDs, cinema billboards, magazines and in certain stores.

They enable users to download pictures, videos, ringtones and promotional information.

Tags can be found at bus stops and subway stations. Tags can also be scanned from computer screens or kiosk TV screens.

By capturing the tag, users can access local street maps, advertisements, movie trailers and weather forecasts.

Brands have numerous direct response objectives, but the primary push is to get consumers to interact with a brand, whatever the ultimate business objective is.

Mobile bar codes are an extension of direct response, allowing consumers to click on an ad, and the bar code allows consumers' mobile phone to connect to a brand's destination.

While there are barriers to mass-market adoption in the U.S., above all POS integration of bar code readers, the 2D bar code ecosystem is evolving.

"The hurdles are less important than the adoption cycle and ensuring that we incorporate best practices in the U.S. market and lessons learned from other markets," Mr. Hoffman said. "Mobile bar codes are a huge opportunity for marketers to interact with the mobile device in people's hands in a much more convenient way.

"From a brand's perspective, it's just another arrow in their quiver," he said.