Impact on Audience


It’s great reading hearing the innovative methods that companies are using to draw attention to their latest campaign. With ongoing developments in technology, we can explore more unique and interactive ways to market companies and products, bringing a whole new world to advertising. This is reflected in the many brands moving away from traditional routes and incorporating more technology, in their eagerness to capitalise on consumers’ engagement with the tech world.

There does however appear to be brands striving to stay up to date and use advertising platforms that appear modern and ‘high-tech’, but then lose sight of what their original campaign was meant to achieve.

A great example of this is pointed out the Anna Mitchell, Deputy Editor atInAVate magazine. Mercedes launched an advertising campaign in the BerlinU-Bahm (Underground) for the Viano. Added radio wave sensors recognise the signals from car keys and trigger certain actions on the projected displays atFriedrichstrasse station. The “Key to Viano” campaign allows commuters to open the doors to Mercedes’ new van, the Viano, to reveal different groups of people within. A unique method to draw attention to the new van, but as Anna points out, “… to get involved you need a device that I assume many train travellers have little need for… a car key.”

Mercedes will be hitting some 300,000 commuters that travel through Berlin Central station every day, and I wonder what percentage of them will have the time or even the desire to participate in a ‘treasure hunt’ that will ultimately lead to a tour of a van. It seems that in this instance they may have lost sight of their target audience, and as such may well incur a loss in this campaign.

Of course some companies have used technology to effectively drive awareness to their brand; Peter Jackson’s 3D campaign for the 2009 film, ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’ was a groundbreaking piece of advertising. The first 3D outdoor campaign of its kind, it showed bespoke trailers being screened on 42” HD screens in bus shelters on Oxford Street and Kensington High Street. The ‘Real 3D’ total surrounding effect is achieved without the use of glasses through a specialist filter affixed to the high quality HD display. The LCD image is then subdivided into complex repeating segments that result in the human binocular vision interpreting the image as a ‘Real 3D’ scene. Characters would appear to reach out from the posters by a specialist filter affixed to the HD display.

A more recent UK example is children’s charity, Plan UK, who is using facial recognition technology on a digital outdoor screen to show different creative treatments to men and women. Featuring sophisticated multi-touch, a wide angle HD camera and 3D depth sensor, a scan is made of the viewer’s face (which they are aware of), then women see a 40 second ad featuring three girls from the UK, Mali and Thailand. The ad uses the 1990s song, ‘You’re Not Alone’ by Olive. Men will be shown a plain script that includes the line, “We are choosing to show our advert only to girls to give you a glimpse of what life could be like without choices.” The ad forms part of a wider campaign created by Shine Communications, running under the charity’s messaging, ‘Because I Am A girl’, to show that millions of girls in developing countries have little or no choices in their lives, especially within education and enforced marriage. The technology behind the advert is a UK first in interactive advertising; amalgamating facial recognition, touch screen and sound. It will no doubt set a precedent for the future of on-street marketing in cities.

These are great examples of technology and advertising working in harmony together. The problem is that more and more campaigns are launching, and appear to have been based purely on whatever is trending or pipped to be the latest must-have device or software in marketing.

QR codes; in my opinion, a great example of an over-hyped element. These simple-to-use barcodes seemed the perfect accompaniment for marketers targeting the smart phone revolution; it’s simple and accessible…except they quickly lost their appeal. QR codes are now appearing as standard across printed ads, posters and DMs, but they have become a barrier between you and the information, and more often than not, once you obligingly scan and follow the link, the end result isn’t all that appealing, and quite simply you were better off reading the information straight off the original literature.

It’s easy to get carried away with what is technically innovative and what will create the biggest stir, but the simple thing you need to bear in mind is to always keep your target audience as core consideration – Who do you want to reach? Who is it going to appeal to? Don’t invest a ton of money in something, and then realise that actually, only a tiny percentage will be acknowledging it.

Finally, enjoy these QR code fails – they made me smile.


Catherine E. Jones

Catherine E. Jones

Catherine is a contributor for the rAVe BlogSquad. Contact Catherine at