Cultural trails needn’t be limited to museums, galleries and country walks, they can work in commercial spaces too. Here’s an example of digital locative-media being used within the context of a sales environment.
The Mercedes-Benz of Nottingham Showroom Guide for iPhone was designed to support the company’s ’125 Years of Innovation’ advertising campaign in March 2011.
Mercedes-Benz of Nottingham opened their prestigious NG2 store to the public with an exhibition of classic Mercedes-Benz motors augmented with interpretation displays reflecting each decade from 1886 when Carl Benz revealed the first internal combustion engine, to the present day.
The exhibition was given a distinctly local feel by inclusion of photographs and artifacts relating to Nottingham’s industrial heritage, specifically textiles, the Boots Company and Raleigh Cycles.
By coincidence the legendary Raleigh Cycle Company was also founded in 1886 by Frank Bowden and several classic cycles were exhibited alongside the four wheeled vehicles with poster art provided by Nottinghamshire County Archives. Research by the dealership marketing team also discovered that it was the Boy’s Brigade’s 125th anniversary too, so the company invited them to attend as well pupils from local schools.
I recognised this event as an opportunity to develop a locative trail using Cuttlefish Multimedia’s Empedia Platform that could be deployed via an iPhone App, to see how it could work within a commercial space whilst at the same time engaging an audience of eager young user-experience testers.
With only three weeks to pull the whole event together, design and development was fairly rapid. The guide itself was hosted alongside other cultural trails on the Empedia website and subsequently distributed as a free-to-download iPhone App.
A quiz was devised and clues were hidden amongst the exhibits. Further clues could be revealed by scanning QR-coded signage with the iPhone App’s built-in QR-code reader. The codes were also readable by other devices, including; Android and Blackberry smartphones and Apple’s iPod touch.
Short-form URL codes could also be keyed into the Apple iPads that were loaned for the duration of the exhibition. Triggering playback of text, photographs, audio and video relating to key points and iconic products created by both Mercedes-Benz and Raleigh Cycles. The children loved the trail and found QR scanning intuitive but were less inclined to type the short-codes into the iPads – the iPhone and iPod Touch won every time!
The Mercedes-Benz of Nottingham Showroom Guide for iPhone also featured TV advertising, including an exclusive preview of the new CLS luxury saloon car which was launched at the exhibition – bringing the history of the company right up to date.
The downloadable iPhone App represented another contemporary hook for the show and provided a great opportunity to try out locative media within a retail setting and establish a presence on the iPhone desktop with Mercedes-Benz product video and email capture just one-click away.
As with other cultural guides developed within the Empedia framework, the App can be updated with fresh content and represents a powerful medium for communicating offers, promotions and product information.
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