French outdoor advertising company JCDecaux has plans to launch a bluetooth/wi-fi advertising service. The main difference between this service and similar ones elsewhere is that consumers choose to receive the messages — they have to download and install a particular piece of software and then fill out a profile. “We are switching from a one-time active response to the user’s blanket acceptance of many digital messages,” said Albert Asseraf, director of strategy, research and marketing at JCDecaux. “We will, of course, need to be careful in making certain that users get only advertisements that interest them.” Of course, the draw is that the ads will offer things the consumers find of interest, such as digital content or coupons.
It seems that the advertising industry is waking up to the whole idea that permission-based marketing doesn’t involve contacting someone every time you want to advertise to them. This quote from Jean-Paul Edwards, the London-based head of media futures for Manning Gottlieb OMD, a media buying agency: “A cautious and permission-based approach is vital when using technologies that touch consumers so directly…”When you bridge the gap between something so public as a street poster and something so private as a mobile phone, there are inherent dangers…It is extremely powerful to get into somebody’s pocket, but you also take the risk of annoying them.”
Interestingly, there are more than advertising plans in the works. An application called UbiBoards will “will show information in the language spoken by a majority of the people nearby”, based on the mobile phone details of people who have registered. Another application, called UbiQ, aims to “allow people in a location like a bank, cinema or fast- food restaurant to give information by cellphone about what they want before getting to the front of the line.”
All of these services require people to register, and it needs a critical mass to make the venture worthwhile. Obtaining that critical mass might be tricky, but there are some obvious ways to promote it…and that’s what advertising companies do, after all. (via Textually)