Today's cars feature immense amounts of technology, the likes of which can't easily or quickly be explained to the average consumer – especially in a print ad. The 2011 Ford Edge, for instance, offers MyFord Touch, Sync, Blind Spit Information System with Cross Traffic Alert, and Intelligent Access – just to name a few.
So how does Ford communicate the benefits of these technologies on one page? Easy: it doesn't. Instead, the Blue Oval has teamed up with Microsoft to add barcodes to some of its print advertisements. Customers with certain mobile phones can scan the barcodes, officially called Microsoft Tags, instantly popping up information about Ford's new technologies.
Barcode ads featuring the 2011 Edge debuted Thursday in the New York Times highlighting MyFord Touch, an all-new voice recognition technology linking to the automaker's Sync communications and entertainment system. Undoubtedly, Ford reasons that tech-savvy buyers interested in MyFord Touch – which can recognize up to 10,000 voice commands – may also be interested in the Microsoft Tags.
If your phone doesn't have a web browser or a camera, don't worry – you're not totally left out. While not as interactive as using the Microsoft Tags, you can still send a text message to a number given on the ads to receive more information about the Edge's many technologies.
From a marketing perspective, the ads could play a crucial role in getting the right information to the right buyers. While traditional print ads typically focus on either visual impact or high information, the barcode ads can focus on both, giving customers the option to choose their content.
"This is an absolute breakthrough in the technology of marketing a car," said Ford's car marketing manager Steve Ling, referencing similar ads promoting the Taurus. "[In the past,] customers wouldn't be able to focus on the additional information they wanted, when they wanted it. Now, they can."
If you missed the ad in Thursday's New York Times, keep checking – Ford plans to run similar barcode ads in the Times throughout the rest of the year.