Monday, September 27, 2010

Barcodes on TV is not the answer

From the comfort of their sofas, mobile-phone users can scan a bar code embedded in commercials on certain evening shows on Bravo and instantly obtain additional information about a product and a discount to buy it.

The 45-second commercials by the online fashion retailer Bluefly show snippets of its “Closet Confessions” interviews with designers and celebrities like Bethenny Frankel, who appeared on “The Real Housewives of New York City,” and the Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir.

When the cellphone is pointed at the on-screen bar code, the user is linked to a complete closet-baring episode, which can run as long as five minutes, and offered a $30 discount on a $150 purchase at, which sells designer and other branded clothing and accessories.

The idea is brave, but not convenient.
Depending on your distance to TV and the size of your TV you have to get close to the TV, hold your phone still and try to scan the barcode. Even if the image would be big enough for doing the scan without getting up, the scan is hard to do because of the bright TV backlight.

Shazam and SciFi have the better approach by using sound. Shazam is a famous application to record some music and then get the author, group and song name back (their DB has over 1 Billion songs). But since a few weeks Shazam is offering with SciFi the ability to record a few seconds of (as example) Eureka and as a result the user gets extra info back (see one of my older blogs).

It is much more convenient and easier to use. The consumer does not need to get up or hold the phone in a weird position to get results.

Barcodes are great and have their place in our life, like product packages or print media where no sound is available. But TV commercials should not depend on barcodes. Most phones don't have a barcode reader, the consumer has to download it the first time, same for shazam. But shazam has already over 75 million users and 20 million smart phone users, more than any barcode app has.

And then there is the problem that in the US is no standard for 2 dimensional barcodes (qr codes). Microsoft has their color codes, some have only two color codes and then there is a third version which is a combination of both.
In Europe and Japan QR codes are regulated to one standard.

We will see more integration of mobile and TV and maybe all devices and Advertisement will follow us from device to device utilizing sound not barcodes.

- Posted using My iPad

Location:W Laurel St,Tampa,United States

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