Originally Posted by Marketing Mag

Mirvish Productions has determined there’s no place like phones to promote its latest production.

The Toronto theatre company has partnered with street-level advertising firm Grassroots Advertising on a local campaign for The Wizard of Oz that uses out-of-home posters equipped with near field communication (NFC) and QR code capabilities.

The 24-inch by 36-inch “Smartposters” are a new addition to Grassroots’ one-year-old Street Frames line, which features more than 1,000 exterior advertising faces – typically situated at convenience store entrances – in the downtown core of major markets including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary.

The posters feature the iconic image of Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road, accompanied by an invitation to “tap or scan for Oz.” When consumers interact with the posters, they are taken to a mobile-optimized site containing show information, a YouTube clip and a buy tickets option. The posters will appear at convenience stores throughout the GTA.

Michael Gillissie, vice-president of sales and operations for Grassroots, says the prompt is an important component of the relatively nascent NFC advertising market.

“People still need to have a little direction,” he says. “Just because you have a QR code doesn’t mean the average person is automatically going to scan it. If you put ‘Scan for a coupon’ or ‘Scan to see a trailer,’ you tell people what they’re going to get, it helps get that buy-in.”

Each Smartposter unit is equipped with a unique NFC tag that enables Grassroots to record geographical information and the number of scans per poster. Toronto-based POPCodes provided the NFC and QR Code creation and tracking for the campaign.

Recent research from ComScore finds that 15.6% of Canadian smartphones are NFC-enabled, while Juniper Research suggests one in five smartphones will possess NFC capability by 2014.

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