In an experiment that could rekindle discussions about mobile payments initiated through print advertisements, U.K.-based Marie Claire magazine has printed what it is calling its first Near Field Communication-enabled advertisement in its December magazine.
Nuffield Health placed an ad in the magazine that includes an embedded tag that consumers with NFC-enabled smartphones can tap to receive a free two-day pass to the Nuffield Health gymnasium, the magazine said this week.
Marketing company Kyp provided the NFC tag and worked with the magazine’s innovation department on the project, the magazine says.
The concept of receiving advertising information or making payments through a print product is similar to what PayPal Inc. explored with the 2006 incarnation of its PayPal Mobile system.
A year before the first iPhone went on sale, PayPal encouraged consumers to initiate “Text to Buy” purchases through mobile phones by texting special codes that were printed in magazines or poster advertisements. There was also a charitable donation version of this system, called “Text to Give.”
As far back as 2007, industry analysts saw a place for text messaging as a payment method, filling a niche while NFC and other technologies developed.
Because it doesn’t yet carry a payment aspect, the Marie Claire advertising campaign mostly illustrates the flexibility of NFC technology.
NFC tags in magazines simply represent a natural progression for the technology, similar to what Samsung offers with its NFC-enabled TecTiles tags that can be programmed for various functions, says Brian Riley, senior research director and analyst with Needham, Mass.-based CEB TowerGroup.
“The broader play with these new developments [if developers add a payment method] is that you have to be careful with them, because there may be risks involved with someone else being able scan your tag or tile,” Riley says.
If a company is trying to eventually drive consumers toward payments, “all it takes is a couple of blow-ups and then consumers won’t adopt the technology,” he says.
Regardless of the potential for NFC advertisements in magazines, such an advancement is not likely to establish print products as a place to eventually conduct mobile payments, Riley adds.
In addition to realizing the potential for print products to serve as a bridge between online and offline advertising and payments, PayPal took it a step further. The online payments provider has also examined the potential for consumers to make payments with their PayPal accounts through TV remote controls or their mobile phones when watching TV by clicking in a code and selecting a “buy now” icon.