Business

Just a tap brings poster ads to life

Douglas College marketing and communications director Dave Taylor tests out the school
Douglas College marketing and communications director Dave Taylor tests out the school's interactive bus shelter poster ads that allow users of certain cellphones to watch videos about the school's students and the programs they take.
— image credit: Grant Granger/NewsLeader

A small tap and the face on a bus shelter ad tells a story.

Douglas College is the first in the Lower Mainland to introduce near field communications (NFC) to its marketing campaigns. Bus shelter ads for the post-secondary institution feature graduates.

A video of his or her story can be quickly accessed for those packing the latest Android, Windows or Blackberry phone equipped with NFC. (The IPhone 6 version due in August will also have it.)

NFC works in similar fashion to the QR code, but doesn’t require the user to have an app.

The Douglas ads contain a small chip embedded in the poster. By tapping the phone on the hot spot containing the chip the user can watch a video on their phone about that person’s experience at Douglas.

“It’s a new opportunity for us to reach our students and to tell our students’ stories,” said Dave Taylor, marketing and communications director for Douglas College. “It tells them about the student they see before them and the program that they’ve been taking.”

Taylor said it’s a concept developed in New York that caught the eye of Al Hyland, the school’s media buyer. They jumped on the idea because it was aimed at the demographic they wanted to target.

“We have to pay attention to this market because this is where our market is. If we want to engage these students we have to be mobile,” said Taylor.

He believes Douglas is the first organization to incorporate it in a Lower Mainland bus shelter ad, certainly the first post-secondary institution to do so.

Many of the interactive ads are on shelters near New Westminster secondary with the hope they’ll attract future students to Douglas.

The NFC technology has also been incorporated into a Douglas College wall mural featuring three students at the Vancouver City Centre SkyTrain station.

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