The Fascinating World of Digital Coupons

A study conducted by Harris Interactive found adults with children at home are more likely to be interested in text alerts about sales and promotions than those with no kids at home. Of people with kids younger than 6 in their household, 35% are at least somewhat interested in getting opt-in text alerts from favorite businesses, compared to 32% of households with older kids and 25% of homes with no children. (The study, conducted in May with 2,000 adults, does not distinguish between childless adults and empty-nesters.)
The Growing Market for Mobile Coupons
According to this compelling infographic, mobile coupons appear to be what is driving the mobile advertising market’s growth – and are the most motivating to consumers. Mobile coupons were a $90 million market in the U.S. in 2009, but are expected to grow to $6.5 billion in 4 years. Particularly convincing is that coupons and purchase incentives drive people to spend far more than they would have without said coupon – on average, from $122 without a coupon to $216 with.
    Kroger Co., looking to boost traffic and use of its loyalty program, is making it easier to download digital coupons and load them onto its loyalty cards. The grocery chain is offering more than 100 coupons on its website and allowing users to digitally “clip” them and load them onto their Kroger Plus loyalty cards – the first time Kroger has put together a digital clearinghouse in this way. At checkout, shoppers scan their Plus Card and the discounts are automatically deducted from their bill, the company explains. The Digital Coupon Center includes coupons for Kroger private label brands as well as for popular brands.
    Simon Property Group has teamed up with a Silicon startup, Shopkick, to give its retailers a new option with digital couponing: an application that beams offers to shoppers as they walk by the stores. Simon Property Group is one of the largest retail real estate owners in the country, with some 370 shopping centers. It will be launching this program in 25 of its stores in New York, Chicago, southern California and San Francisco, with plans to introduce it in 100 centers over the next several months. (via the AP). This is how the application works: retailers install the Shopkick application on small speakers at the entrance to their stores. These emit an inaudible sound – which contains a code for the store – that is picked up by cellphones’ microphones. Consumers need to have the Shopkick app on their phones to receive any offers.

    Kroger Takes Online Coupons to Next Level (adweek.com)
    Kroger Launches Online Coupon Center (webpronews.com)
    Shopkick Prepares to Kick Off a Geo-Retailing Revolution (dailyfinance.com)
    Best Buy Launches Shopkick Automatic Checkins and Rewards at 257 Stores (mashable.com)
    Mall deal gives big boost to cell-phone coupons (sfgate.com)
    shopkick and Simon Property Group to Bring Location-Based Shopping App to More Than 100 of the Nation’s Largest Malls (prnewswire.com)

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    NPD: Puma Phone, Solar MacBook

    Puma and Droga5 promise a more playful breed of mobile phone
    Puma claims it has created the “first mobile phone dedicated to encouraging an active life outside of the phone.” According to the apparel company, its phone will use the latest 3G cellular technology, but also have a “playful” side, featuring applications like “icon messaging, sarcastic calculator, scratching turntable [and] easy peasy video calls.” Droga5, the agency behind the Puma-phone campaign, says more than 500,000 units have been pre-ordered.
    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is such a tease. First it hints that Apple is working on intelligent power monitoring systems and solar-powered iPhones (and don’t forget the solar iPad rumors), and now a patent explores the possibility of sun-lit MacBook displays. AppleInsider points us to a patent entitled “External Light Illumination of Display Screens”, filed in 2008 but revealed this week. According to the patent, Apple is developing displays that can be backlit by the sun in order to save battery life.
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    Tomorrow’s Social Networking, Today’s Teens

    Ninety-three percent of teens ages 12 to 17 go online, 75% of them own a cell phone, and 66% say they text. In fact, 58% of 12-year-olds now have mobiles, compared to 18% just five years ago.

    Teens prefer reading news online to Twitter (guardian.co.uk)
    Blogging not so big with teenagers anymore (vator.tv)

    Teens and young adults shirk blogs and spurn Twitter (nationalpost.com)

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    Mobile: Touchscreen, TwitterPeek, eReaders

    The number of touchscreen mobile-phone users in the US has grown 159% during the past year – to 23.8 million in August 2009 – and has substantially outpaced the already-strong 63% growth of smartphone use, according to a study of touchscreen mobile phone adoption in the US by comScore, Inc.
    iphone 159% growth
    A new gadget designed specifically for people who want to tweet on the go was launched Tuesday by gadget maker Peek. The device, dubbed TwitterPeek, does one thing and one thing only: it lets people tweet. It doesn’t access e-mail. It doesn’t make phone calls. It tweets. That’s it. TwitterPeek, which looks like a smartphone, features a QWERTY keyboard and comes in black or aqua blue. The idea behind TwitterPeek is simple. After buying the device, users need only to input their Twitter credentials to get going. The gadget lets them tweet, reply, retweet, send direct messages, and download followers. It supports one account at a time. Users can also view TwitPics by clicking the “view content” option from the TwitterPeek menu. The company claims its battery lasts three to four days with average usage.
    twitterpeek
    In what appears to be indicative of Twitter’s success and growing popularity, a new gadget has hit the market that has been developed specifically – and solely – for users to send and receive tweets. TwitterPeek, a $99.95 device with a QWERTY keyboard, color screen and click-scroll wheel offered through Amazon.com, could prove to be the hot selling item for the holiday season. On one hand, it’s less expensive than a smartphone upgrade. On the other, it could also prove dud-worthy if demand never materializes.
    .
    With the iPhone still the hottest smartphone, there’s much speculation about how its future will pan out. For some the money’s on gaming, but new research from Flurry is surprisingly different: eBook apps are overtaking games in the App Store.
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    Techno Deathmatch: iTablet vKindle, Pixi v iPhone

    The hype around the iTablet is reaching a fever pitch with the Kindle increasingly looking like yet another example of Apple roadkill. If Apple can consume 32% of the profits in the mobile phone biz in less than three years, it should be no problem to swallow the nascent e-reader business in one quick bite. No sooner had Jeff Bezos graced the cover of Fast Company than the Kindle was pronounced dead by the digiterati (actually, it was “Kindle in Danger of Becoming E-books’ Betamax,” according to Brett Arends in the Wall Street Journal). With competition for e-readers heating up, will Jeff be able to defend his walled garden from rivals inside and outside the category that he built?
    itablet

    Palm Pixi v iPhone
    Palm‘s Pre was heralded as a potential iPhone-killer well ahead of its launch, but in the end it didn’t quite deliver. Its performance was slightly ahead of the iPhone 3G, but lagged behind Apple’s revamped iPhone 3GS (aided in part by Apple’s enhanced iPhone firmware which works on all its smartphones). Then we heard rumors that Palm was working on another webOS phone, but it had possibly been delayed due to poor Pre sales. That phone was codenamed Eos and Pixie, and it’s turned out to be the new Palm Pixi–a candybar phone with much simpler design than the Pre. So much simpler, in fact, that it’s probably fairer to compare the Pixi’s performance to the older iPhone 3G–which is still on sale, and is Pixi’s closest competitor. Pixi’s less capable than the Pre, and priced more cheaply, and it makes even more sense.

    Report: Steve Jobs concentrating on tablet (news.cnet.com)

    Steve Jobs is Hard at Work on Apple Tablet (shoppingblog.com)

    Analyst: iPhone secure against competitors, AT&T not so much (venturebeat.com)

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    iPhone: The Hummer of cellphones

    iPhones Overload AT&T’s Network, Angering Customers
    “Slim and sleek as it is, the iPhone is really the Hummer of cellphones. It’s a data guzzler. Owners use them like minicomputers, which they are, and use them a lot. Not only do iPhone owners download applications, stream music and videos and browse the Web at higher rates than the average smartphone user, but the average iPhone owner can also use 10 times the network capacity used by the average smartphone user. “They don’t even realize how much data they’re using,” said Gene Munster, a senior securities analyst with Piper Jaffray. The result is dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and glacial download speeds as AT&T’s cellular network strains to meet the demand. Another result is outraged customers.”

    erics huge iphone

    Photo: Eric’s iPhone

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    Brand Extensions: Nokia v Money

    Phone Company Becomes a Bank
    Using the mobile financial service provider Obopay, Nokia is poised to revolutionize the world of banking through its new service Nokia Money. It’s reportedly very easy to use, and will facilitate all kinds of financial transactions, such as bill paying. They are also building a large network of Nokia Money agents, where consumers can come in person to deposit money or withdraw cash from their accounts. Users will pay 25 cents to send any amount of money up to $1000, and receiving a payment is free. Right now, Obopay only works in the US and India, but more information will be released at Nokia World in September.

    nokia bank

    [Picture credit: textually.org]

    Nokia already owns the global cell-phone market. Now Tero Ojanperä is launching the world’s biggest delivery system for services, apps, and entertainment.
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    Death and Life of TV

    The Death And Life Of Television
    A post I missed from The Ad Contrarian: “Even though people have the opportunity to watch video on their computers and cellphones, TV accounts for 99 percent of all video consumed in 2008…” Interesting point of view and an unarguable stat (there are many more in the article). Except: what are people watching and how are they watching it on “TV” – in its many forms? I don’t think we should return to the TV-Centric dystopia of th3 50s-90s, but neither should we discount TVs undoubted power. I wonder if the Contrarian was railing against :30 ads back in the day they were the advertisers’ default choice?

    death and life of tv

    DVRs: Not quite such a threat after all
    According to the most recent estimates from Nielsen, nearly one-third of all television households have a DVR, and the device is far from its saturation point. Still, media people may not need to fear a huge dropoff in commercial viewing due to time-shifted viewing.

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    Twitter: Twelpforce, Acceptable Use

    Says Barry Judge: “Last Sunday we launched “Twelpforce,” a new service that enlists the passion and knowledge of Best Buy’s vast employee base to bring assistance directly to customer computer screens via the micro blogging site, Twitter. Staffed by Best Buy employees from across all operations, including BlueShirts and Geek Squad, Twelpforce™ will answer product questions, troubleshoot technology challenges and solve customer service issues, all from the comfort of the users’ keyboard or mobile phone. Twelpforce has gotten a fair amount of awareness as evidenced by blog posts by both TechCrunch and Twitter themselves. Twelpforce is obviously an experiment. A very public one. And with this publicity comes a certain amount of risk. In my view, it is a risk well worth taking for many reasons.”
    twelpforce
    The UK government has unveiled its inaugural Twitter strategy document to encourage departments to get tweeting, but at a hefty 5,382 words it is the equivalent of more than 250 tweets. Created by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, it urges all government departments to get tweeting, while avoiding posting “pointless content”.
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    Vuitton and Murakami QR Codes

    I have seen a lot of coverage of the new Louis Vuitton x Takashi Murakami: Designer QR Codes. Sartorially-challenged savant Piers Fawkes opines: “QR Codes are the bar codes of the future, linking online and physical graphics to websites and multi-media. For the most part, the codes have still maintained an abstract look akin to their predecessors. A recently released designer QR symbol, produced by Tokyo based creative agency SET is looking to change all that with a stylized remake of the standard code. Mixing design with technological innovation, SET teamed up Takashi Murakami with Louis Vuitton to create a distinctive code featuring one of the artist’s characters and the classic LV pattern. The agency hopes this will add much needed style and character to the bland world of machine readable codes.”

    louis vuitton qr code

    Josh Spear adds: “How many of you know what to do with the image to the left? Hopefully most of you. Aside from identifying it as Murakami work, it’s a QR code for your mobile phone. QR (quick response) codes are like the Japanese version of bar codes, because they started in Japan. The code is scanned into your mobile phone via the camera and outputs a link. Think of it as a way to add hyperlinks in the real world. Normally, these QR codes look like deformed boxy versions of bar codes. But as soon as Murakami touches one we are all gaga. It’s amazing what a little Louis Vuitton pattern and color can do to a QR.”

    My humble opinion? I am fascinated and excited by the opportunties offered by QR codes … as a connections strategist I am always thinking of ways to engineer links between the digital and offlien world and help people get to the next phase of their consumer journey…

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