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June 30, 2009

Behzad Saednejad: :Taking interactivity to the consumer

Touch-screen and wireless technologies are giving rise to a number of products that will enable brands to make their promotional and experiential campaigns even more engaging.

A prime example of this is Adwalker, a light-weight digital media platform that is worn as a compact body pack. It incorporates an LCD screen, wearable PC, handheld touch screen and a printer; it can also be used by promotional staff to make sales as it is capable of accepting credit cards. We have been using this system for some time around travel and high street retail spaces to create effective and eye-catching campaigns, and the response and depth of engagement achieved is excellent.

Two activities that highlight the power of this system is a campaign for Heineken that we prodcued, entitled Bar Code, that centred around a personality test based on six lifestyle profiles that fed into an interactive game on the Adwalker system, and was used to engage the consumer and educate them as to the USPs of Heineken. Also, online gambling site Betfair ran a campaign at this year’s  Royal Ascot using the Adwalker system to offer free £5 bets on a choice of two horses. Customers were invited to enter their data on the touch-screen and select their bet, they then received an email at the end of the day inviting them to go to the Betfair site and open an account to redeem their winnings. These campaigns would have been extremely difficult to create without the extra dimension of interaction that a system like Adwalker brings.

Information to hand
We are also currently rolling out a campaign for Lufthansa using Adwalker, that focuses on raising awareness of the airline at airports using an on-screen call to action and has a heavy emphasis on data capture. Although many field marketing and experiential campaigns now include data capture, and there are a number of handheld systems available that allow you to do this, the addition of touch-screen technology and a portable PC make this a much more engaging and powerful experience, which in turn makes consumers more inclined to share their information with brands.

Another technology currently starting to emerge is digital pricing tags, which can also offer a much more powerful user experience for instore promotions. These, again, are touch-screen units that attach to the front of the product shelf and can supply all the information about a product – ranging from ingredients to price and promotion details. As they are WiFi compatible they can be updated regularly to allow the store to easily amend details and even to change prices depending on the time of day. Although this technology is still being fine-tuned it works extremely effectively for promotions in travel retail spaces such as airports.

Speaking your language
Brands running promotional campaigns in travel retail spaces can also benefit further from both these technologies as they offer the ability to work in a range of different languages and currencies. Adwalker, for example, can allow the consumer to select one of 30 different languages and digital pricing tags can allow travellers to translate the price on the tag to their home currency, via a regularly update exchange rate system. We have also been working with another company to create a static touch-screen system that can run a promotional presentation in a range of different languages.

Although similar technologies are being used to provide static customer information points in shopping centres like London’s Westfield, the brand-building potential of these systems are starting to be exploited. Systems like Adwalker, which include a mobile display and data-capture capability, are further enhancing their appeal to companies seeking to take their products out to the consumer. Brands are waking up to this and I believe we will see the industry adopting this technology much more widely.

Behzad Saednejad is managing director of experiential agency Blackjack Promotions

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