Mr Bean Goes Mobile

Mr bean.jpgScott Seaborn (no, that’s not his picture) writes to tell us about a new marketing channel his company, Magnet Harlequin, has developed.

Snap Happy (no relation to MobHappy) allows people to take a photo with their mobile of a specific item and MMS it into a central number. In this case, the item is the poster advertising the theatrical release of “Mr Bean Goes on Holiday”. When Snap Happy recognizes the photo, it can respond with a predetermined message. It works even if the photo is only a partial image or taken in poor light.

In this case, people sending the correct image receive back an offer to download a game, ringtone or video, featuring Mr Bean. What’s more, the system identifies the phone and ensures that the content is optimized for that model.

I’ve written a lot before about the mobile phone connecting the¬†physical¬†and digital worlds together, as a sort of virtual mouse and predicting that this application has huge potential and implications in the way we interact with technology.

It’s also fun to interact in this way and I’m sure that initial participation will be high.

Clearly, QR codes and the like do a similar job up to a point, but they still need to be distributed into the real world and the technology needs to be installed on the handset – both are significant barriers to adoption.

The beauty with this technology means that the object that the user interacts with can be anything and that “anything” could already exist. Sure, we can do it with specially printed posters, but an unadapted logo of a retailer can be used as the stimulus, or existing brand packaging or an airline stewardess’s uniform. The limits are the marketer’s imagination.

Of course, there are still issues to be overcome. Does the user have the right settings? Do they know how to use MMS? Will they know how much the MMS costs to send? And how much will the content download cost too?

But overall, I think this is an exciting development and look forward to other successful campaigns.

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