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ZapCode mobile technology a big hit with advertisers - Mar 13, 2007 (ST)

BackMar 13, 2007

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

ZapCode mobile technology a big hit with advertisers

Over 100 firms are exploring ways to use interactive technology ads and promotions.

By Gabriel Chen
Mar 13, 2007
The Straits Times

 

ADVERTISERS have given the new mobile phone technology ZapCode the thumbs up just a couple of weeks after it was launched.

More than 100 firms, including OCBC Bank, MasterCard and Lexus, are said to be in discussion with ZapCode's master distributor and licensee, SPH NewMedia, a unit of Singapore Press Holdings, to see how best to make technology work for them.

ZapCode, which was developed in South Korea several years ago, links 'interactive' advertisements to a remote server using a special type of bar code.

Consumers point their mobile phones at an ad and take a snapshot of the code, known as a ZapCode. This is then sent to the remote server, which returns a picture, video or website link to the phone.

In South Korea, for example, you can use your mobile phone's camera to snap a picture of the code on a movie poster and in seconds, screening details arrive in your phone.

Ms Michelle Ng, marketing manager of Simmons (SEA), the mattress company, said ZapCode looks to be a more engaging way of marketing to consumers who are usually time-deprived. She said consumers can just zap the firm's code to download any promotional messages.

Simmons also intends to sponsor a mattress to kick-start its participation in ZapCode. Consumers who zap the code will have a chance to win a mattress as well as get discounts on bedding accessories.

'Consumers will just need to present the promotion message in their cellphone at our stores to enjoy such great deals,' she said.


HOW IT WORKS: Consumers point their mobile phones at an ad and take a snapshot of a special type of bar code, known as a ZapCode. This is then sent to the remote server, which returns a picture, video or website link to the phone.

OCBC Bank sees a possible application in interactive ads, where customers can zap the code at different times of the day to enjoy a range of benefits such as fee waivers on a savings accounts for a limited period of time.

'It will allow advertisers to interact more intimately with consumers and respond almost immediately to any consumer feedback to any promotions,' said Ms Ng Li Lian, OCBC's head of marketing services.

However, marketers also said they were unsure about the new technology's penetration rate.

'As with all new technology, the uptake for advertisers and consumers take time. Advertisers would also be concerned about the stability of the process as well as costs,' Ms Ng said.

The chief executive of slimming firm Expressions International, Ms Theresa Chew, said the success of ZapCode will depend on the ability of the average consumer to adapt to the concept. 'It is an interesting mobile technology that I'm sure will provide a creative avenue of publicity for Expressions,' she added.

Advertisers can learn more about the technology at a trade fair at Swissotel on Wednesday next week.