May 8, 2012
Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer printed a QR code on its advertisement in the May issue of Vogue to bring readers to mobile-optimized content that showcases its women’s timepieces.
The watchmaker is engaging readers with a call-to-action that takes smartphone users to a mobile-optimized Web site for its Formula 1, Aquaracer and Link women’s collections. TAG Heuer’s mobile content offers information on each collection, a video, a store locator, ecommerce partners and a Twitter feed.
"The essence of any coveted brand is the story it tells," said Scott Forshay, mobile and emerging technologies strategist for Acquity Group, Austin, TX. "Its history conveys mystery, passion and intrigue, and creates in consumers an insatiable desire to be among a select few bit players in the theatricality of the brand experience.
"But, in mobile, the same principles do not necessarily apply," he said. "Rather than marketing at the target with brand-centric storytelling wherever and however they may encounter you, allow the tale to travel along with them as they go.
"In this strategy, consumers live the brand story as if they were on the page with the narrative not unidirectionally told to the consumer but, rather, allowed to unfold before their eyes as they become actors in the theatre of the experience."
Mr. Forshay is not affiliated with TAG Heuer, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
TAG Heuer could not be reached before press deadline.
The watchmaker is using Tappinn to produce its QR code content.
Women on the watch
TAG Heuer’s ad in the May issue of Vogue shows Russian tennis player and brand ambassador Maria Sharapova with a Formula 1 steel and ceramic timepiece.
Ms. Sharapova holds the watch in her fist with its face shown across the back of her hand. Below this photo is a larger image of the Formula 1 timepiece, a QR code and TAG Heuer’s slogan, “What are you made of?”
Upon scanning the QR code, smartphone users are asked to allow the brand to access the phone’s location.
Next, a mobile-optimized site opens that displays the ad image of Ms. Sharapova followed by three women’s watch collections, a video, links to purchase, a store locator and social media links.
TAG Heuer mobile-optimized content
Users can click on each section to view additional content. For example, each of the Formula 1, Aquaracer and Link sections opens up to reveal the entire collection.
Formula 1 collection
A video called “The Odyssey of Pioneers” is displayed under the collections that shows Ms. Sharapova driving the TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster. Users can watch the video on the mobile-optimized Web site.
The Find a Retailer section brings users to a Google Maps page that shows nearby stores by using a device’s GPS.
The ecommerce section lists more than 50 authorized retailers such as Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. Users can click on each retailer to go to the mcommerce site.
The watchmaker incorporated all of the elements of an effective QR campaign, per Mr. Forshay.
"First, the Vogue placement offers the appropriate audience for a premium watchmaker," Mr. Forshay said. "It is a highly sought-after reader base whose affluence and device-savvy nature makes it ideal for a campaign of this type.
"The one area where this campaign truly differentiates itself is in providing a mobile commerce function in coordination with the brand's network of retail partners," he said. "Too often, brands are focused solely on providing an engaging experience and neglect to offer the most definitive consumer call to action in retail environments: the ability to actually purchase.
"The campaign also correctly emphasizes one of the most compelling differentiated elements of the mobile medium in its upfront location recognition function, allowing consumers on-the-go to find a retail location nearest them based on GPS coordinates."
Time for mobile
Few luxury watchmakers are using QR codes to engage readers in mobile-optimized content, but they are using mobile applications to reach affluent consumers.
For example, Swiss watchmaker Breguet is extending its reach to luxury consumers with a new app for the iPhone and iPad that showcases the brand’s history, collections and innovations (see story).
Similar to TAG Heuer, Breguet seems to be using mobile to raise awareness of retail locations with a store locator, which could be a move to raise sales despite both brands' lack of ecommerce sites.
Meanwhile, TAG Heuer’s decision to offer user-friendly, mobile-optimized content rather than linking to a pinch-and-zoom mobile Web site via its QR code will most likely will benefit the brand.
"By effectively leveraging digital engagement triggers like QR codes, marketers can breathe digital life into traditional uni-directional communications via smartphone devices," Mr. Forshay said.
"Transporting the brand story from print by digitizing and connecting the offline experience via a portable medium allows the consumer to carry the brand’s tale across channels to deliver upon the promise of compelling transmedia storytelling models," he said.
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York