I’ve been meaning to get around to this since my vacation in July, but I’m just finding the time. I’m always looking for examples of brands utilizing offline materials (places & things) to drive deeper engagement “online” (not necessarily on a computer). I’m most fascinated when this online experience occurs on something other than a standard computer screen (ie. the places and things around us). Mobile, however, has really changed the game. This offline/online convergence doesn’t always drive experiences back to the world wide web; as mobile shows us, this convergence is often enabled through apps and simple tools like SMS/MMS. So, it was in July, when my wife and I were sitting in a bar in St. Augustine, and I looked down at the coaster sitting on our table.
Mobile promotions like this are standard fare. So standard, in fact, they might be overlooked more often than not. We can debate the effectiveness of coasters like this driving conversions (opt-ins), but here’s the thing – this is such a “no duh” utilization of pieces like this in the brand’s advertising mix. Coors Light is going to print coasters regardless. Why not plan to print something that drives a deeper brand engagement on the coaster vs. just putting a logo and artwork on it? Same thing can be said for posters or magazine ads. How many posters do you see that enable you to have a deeper brand experience beyond the “paper”? Magazine ads? Not many.
I have been surprised at how many magazine ads I’ve seen this year (some featured on this blog) where brands have experimented with things like QR codes/MS Tags, JagTags/etc.. And while I still don’t know how effective they are (I don’t see many brands paying it off that well), I have to give them credit for at least opening up the gate to go deeper into the brand. That’s what I mean by mobile changing the “OOH” game. Brands don’t need a “digital” origination point to drive interactivity. Out of Home initiatives, whether traditional or digital, can always be made interactive, in large part due to mobile capabilities.
In the end, it’s important to understand that all of the “channels” (Out of Home being one of them, coasters being a delivery mechanism for OOH) in a brand’s advertising mix are just part of their ecosystem. The brand’s challenge (and agency’s partnering with them) is to make sure their story is a) consistent and b) evolving across all of the channels and mediums. Often times, initiatives are developed, implemented, and activated in silos – OOH, DOOH falls within their own silo – and regardless of how big or neat or (even) effective they are, if they’re only happening in 1 silo, many opportunities are missed. So, next time you see something as simple as a coaster or a poster or a magazine ad that capitalizes on the opportunity to drive you deeper into the brand, take a minute and go through the experience. Try not to judge the experience, just appreciate the fact that they’re not missing an additional opportunity to take you, as a consumer, deeper into their brand via this standard-fare, see-it-everyday, ho-hum, gotta-advertise-on-it-anyway gateway.