The book Mobile Advertising by Charma, Herzog & Melfi has tons of good stuff in it. I won't be covering all of it obviously, you have to go read the book. But its always a delight when some of our friends and colleagues find good examples of social networking, user-generated content, interactive media, engagement advertising and other topics dear to our hearts. So we want to celebrate those.
A great example of engagement marketing was in the book. A campaign by Northwest Airlines. At first glace, it seems like a big and splashy billboard campaign on the streets of Tokyo. Giant size 2D Barcodes (ie QR or Quick Response codes) were on billboards inviting passers-by to use their cameraphones to join the game. These were huge billboards, 10 meters high (33 feet). But the beauty was that you could stand on the opposite side of the street, take out your cameraphone, zoom into the 2D Barcode and it would still be recognized by the cameraphone and get you to their website.
Clever bit of gimmickry. Yes we love 2D Barcodes (I want them everywhere, ha-ha), but 83% of the Japanese mobile phone owners already use them a little over 3 years after launch (according to Video Research 2007), so again, this 2D Barcode part is not really the smart part. Now lets see what kind of interactivity we get.
Once you click through the 2D Barcode you end up on Northwest Airlines's campaign page. There you find a quiz written in the style of a Japanese senryu poem. Each quiz features a city that NWA flies to. And the prizes ranged from e-coupons for discounts on air tickets to bonus miles on the WorldPerks programme. The quiz was interactive through the phone so you could participate immediately, using the mobile phone to make a billboard ad interactive. I also like the fact that you can give smaller prizes, not actual trips, in the form of frequent flier miles. Imagine how many of those average travel-interested Japanese customers have never flown NWA (there are two major international Japanese national airlines, Japan Airlines JAL and All Nippon Airlines ANA), so now if you gain some initial miles on NWA, there is stronger incentive next time you travel, to pick NWA on a given route, just because you already had earned some miles on the airline. Pretty clever. And of course participating in the game more, more quizzes taken, more prizes earned.. This is all nice advergaming stuff, very good so far.
Next is the part that I really like, the engagement marketing. Yes, the quiz is specific to the industry of Northwest Airlines and thus easily of interest to its prospective customers - international travel destinations. And as a quiz we get the consumers to become involved with NWA. But of course the right answers can only those cities that are on the NWA routes. That also means that when taking the quiz, the consumers can use the NWA route map to help them guess which city is the right answer. So the consumers had reasons to go to the NWA mobile internet website on their phone, to help figure out which city was in question. And as such, while surfing the NWA mobile web pages on their phone, while waiting for a bus or sitting in a taxicab in Tokyo, they would become involved with learning about the various destinations that NWA flies to.
And there is still more. It was user-generated content too! Finally the game invited participants to submit their own senryu poems about travel to the USA on NWA. These were voted on by other participants and the best poems won further prizes. This again drove more traffic to the NWA site.
A brilliant example of not only interactive advertising using the mobile phone, and advergaming, but also true engagement marketing and user-generated content. Great job NWA. And thanks guys for including it in your book, a great example from Japan of things to come once the advertising industry starts to learn about mobile as the 7th Mass Media channel and they build campaigns using the strengths of mobile.