In downtown NY today, I passed a billboard for a Landrover promotion encouraging people to put their bluetooth handsets to discoverable in order to learn more about something. Aside from the relatively cryptic call to action, this is the first example I can recall of having seen a company try to use Bluetooth technology for marketing. I tried the promotion from the Starbucks downstairs from the Ogilvy office, a few blocks away – but I ran into some technical difficulties. In fact, as I saw the billboard, I was wondering how it would work. Most times when you pair devices with Bluetooth, it requires verification from both devices. This is obviously to prevent fraud or unwanted pairings with devices accidentally left in discoverable mode. For Landrover’s promotion, however, this necessary step prevented me from pairing my device with the "Unknown" device that I assume was the Landrover promotion. As much as I like the newness of the thinking here, by my quick estimation there are three core problems with trying to use Bluetooth in the way Landrover is doing here:
- Duration – Bluetooth connections are for devices that you would usually want to be paired for a longer duration of time. Aside from a single message or novelty interest, I certainly wouldn’t want to have a dialogue with Landrover over time.
- Distance – Bluetooth only works over an extremely short range, explaining perhaps why I had trouble being only a few blocks away. For a billboard likely to be interacted with by people walking away from the site, it’s probably not the ideal situation.
- Difficulty – Pairing devices by Bluetooth is not yet a mainstream cell phone activity, and usually requires a two way interaction as I mentioned earlier. These barriers, along with the fact that you can’t really walk while doing the required activity means consumers (unless they are gullible marketers like me) probably won’t stop to try the campaign.
I wonder if any other companies out there have managed to use Bluetooth successfully as part of a marketing campaign. Anyone have any great examples to share?