Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Out of Home (OOH) or Print to Mobile

Traditional advertising, such as print ads and Out of Home billboard advertisements, needs to be impactful enough to grab readers before they flip the page of a magazine. Color, type, and image all need to work together within microseconds of viewing. Once the advertisement gets readers' attention, they absorb the message and move on. If a traditional medium has mobile as an option, it allows the message or story to carry further and play out. The still image can now become motion or interactive. The mobile component can also satisfy any immediate questions or curiosity that users might have regarding content.


With print and OOH, you need to implement an SMS component to best reach a target audience. With SMS, users don't need any special applications on their devices, nor do they need intensive data plans. A majority of the mass audience understands how to use SMS on their handsets, and readers who are interested will be more willing to participate in the campaign. See FIGURE 4.4.

Figure 4.4

Figure 4.4 A print-to-mobile purchase.

The implementation of SMS into traditional advertisements can serve a series of functions. Here are some sample scenarios:

  • Text the keyword "details" to 12345 to find out more. Users receive a standard 160-character SMS with details pertaining to the print ad.
  • Text the keyword "weather" to 12345 to sign up for weather alerts. Users opt-in for communication of an SMS service, which disperses message alerts pertaining to weather. This could be applied to any other genres, such as news, sports, and so on.
  • Text the keyword "tickets" to 12345 for tickets. Users receive an SMS containing an admission ticket number for the concert. If the concert is free, users show their ticket numbers at the door. If users need to purchase the concert tickets, they receive a PIN that reserves their tickets. They then enter their PIN online to complete the purchase on a web page that includes additional concert content.
  • Text the keyword "coupon" to 12345. Users receive an SMS containing a mobile coupon. Users bring this coupon to the store for a special discount.
  • Text the keyword "go" to 12345 to learn more. Users receive a standard 160-character SMS containing a link to the mobile Internet site. Any copy and the URL must fit within the 160-character limit. The mobile Internet site brings the print ad to life via interactive components and rich media downloads.
  • Text the keyword "game" to 12345 to download a game. Users receive an SMS containing a link to download a mobile game. When users click the link, they're directed to a mobile URL that detects their handset type and tailors the applet to their handsets.
  • Text the keyword "music" to 12345 to download a music sample. Users receive an SMS containing a link to download an artist's song. When users click the link, they're directed to a mobile URL that detects their handset type and downloads the appropriate audio format (MP3, WAV, or WMV).
  • Text the keyword "view" to 12345 to view a commercial. Users receive an SMS containing a link to download and view a commercial. When users click the link, they're directed to a mobile URL that detects their handset type and downloads or streams the appropriate video format (MP4, 3GP, or WMV).
  • Text the keyword "wallpaper" to 12345 to download wallpaper. Users receive an MMS containing the mobile wallpaper, and the wallpaper size is customized to fit their handsets because their handset types were detected with the orginal text message.

The call to action is very direct in all these scenarios. The keyword that users submit is short. Each keyword is tailored in the language of the campaign, and those keywords remain a single word only. Some users still use nine-button mobile devices, so keep keywords short to ensure a smooth interactive experience. The previous scenarios are also simple enough for users of all mobile levels to grasp.

Bluetooth and WiFi

Traditional media that exists in store displays, bus shelters, and billboards are real-environment locations where a mobile transaction can occur. If a broadcasting station is set up within the structure, these advertisements can make use of Bluetooth and WiFi casting. See FIGURE 4.5. Users download content directly to their handsets per the directions in the advertisement. This is an immediate connection if users understand how to operate such technologies.

Figure 4.5

Figure 4.5 A sample Bluetooth broadcasting station.

For example, users emerge from a subway station in a major metropolitan city. They pass by a subway billboard where they can "accept" a Bluetooth connection and receive a map of the local area. Once users sync with the sign, the application loads to their handsets. In another scenario, perhaps a subway stop in a district features an exciting nightlife that attracts a young crowd. A music label could market songs for that audience by offering ringtones or music in a billboard at or near that location's subway stop. In an art gallery, a mini interactive application can be given away to users within the gallery itself, as they view the current exhibits. This application can contain exclusive content unique to each exhibit, as well as an interactive component that might trigger a part of the exhibit if that part is a digital piece.

For these scenarios, users must have a Bluetooth- and/or WiFi-enabled handset. Users also must understand how to operate a Bluetooth connection (or the signage can provide step-by-step instructions). Once users receive the downloadable item, they also need to know where to find and run the file on their devices.

Certain handsets also have limited storage space, so the applet must be developed in a manner where the file size is relatively small to accommodate a vast majority of handsets. Once the application has been developed, it needs to be ported in order to run on multiple variants of handsets. If the applet is not supported across all handsets of the target audience, an alternative experience must be served up, such as an SMS or mobile Internet portal to handle such alternative content.


IVR (Interactive Voice Response) can reach anybody with a mobile phone. No additional mobile knowledge or applications are needed. IVR does not need to rely on special handsets or carriers. Using IVR can complement any project that has significant content. IVR works much like an interactive phone call, where users call a number and they're greeted by a recording that provides a series of selections. Users make their selections and listen to the recordings. IVR can be used for a variety of projects, such as learning about art installations, museums, entertainment, product campaigns, or even for making immediate purchases. Sample scenarios include:

  • Users encounter a billboard outside a famous landmark. The billboard promotes a number to call for more information (for example, "Call 1-800-555-1212 to learn about this location"). When users call, they are prompted through a series of gateways on the phone and are presented with narratives about the significance of that particular location. Users can choose from a variety of gateways to tailor their experiences.
  • At an art gallery, users encounter plaques located near each exhibit that provide a phone number to call for more information about each piece. When users call, they are presented with a series of gateways and are provided with descriptions based on their selections.
  • Users encounter a billboard outside a concert hall where a musician has been performing. The sign provides a phone number to call to hear samples from the artist's latest album. When users call, they are prompted through a series of gateways. Based on which numbers they press, they hear samples of music tracks from the album.

IVR is a great way to create an impactful experience, especially if there is a recognizable voice associated with the project. This tends to deliver a more truthful experience to users and sometimes a more personal experience.

2D Barcodes (QR and Scancode)

In Asia, a 2D barcode (such as a QR Code or Scan Code) can be implemented into magazine advertisements, signage, product packaging, and subway signage. See FIGURE 4.6. The 2D barcode contains unique information pertaining to that content. If users have the reader on their phones, they can scan the code and utilize these options:

  • Receive an immediate SMS or email with relevant information to the location of their scan. For instance, if the QR Code is present on a store display, users receive an incoming message that reads, "Present this coupon for 10 percent off today's purchase."
  • Receive a URL sent to their mobile Internet browsers, where they can continue to explore benefits of the item of focus. For example, if the QR Code is present on a billboard or in a magazine, users receive incoming URLs from their scans that point to the product's mobile Internet site, where users receive additional details and downloadable items related to the product.
Figure 4.6

Figure 4.6 QR Code examples.

Users must have barcode readers installed on their handsets in order to engage with these experiences. There is a small market for this approach in EMEA, but in the Americas, few handsets support the technology and consumers don't fully understand how to utilize QR Codes. However, the barcode is a niche way to get attention on an advertisement, museum plaque, subway station, billboard, product display, or any other real-environment interactions.

Mobile Internet for Print

Many publications have slowly been turning to mobile and putting their content into the mobile space, so it's more easily accessible to users on the go. Promotion for these spaces takes place both in the print publications and the publications' associated web sites. Although print has always been portable, the benefits of print in a digital format allows users to access all of their daily reads from one location—the handset. They don't need to carry multiple papers. Users can also read up-to-the-minute news on the mobile Internet; with print news, users must wait for the next printing.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account