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Hotels.com and New York Times back NFC advertising venture

San Francisco will be the testbed for Reach Media Group and Blue Bite’s new mTag NFC service, which will deliver location-specific information and offers to consumers.

An mTag placard

MTAG: Users will tap or scan placards near the point of sale

Hotels.com and The New York Times have signed on as inaugural sponsors of a new NFC advertising service launched today by US out-of-house (OOH) media company Reach Media Group and mobile marketing agency Blue Bite.

San Francisco is the testbed for the service, called mTag, which will deliver location-specific information, coupons and offers to consumers and will facilitate purchases and participation in rewards and loyalty programs.

As part of the sponsorship deal, Hotels.com and The New York Times will be launching campaigns that deliver exclusive mobile content and drive downloads of their smartphone applications.

Users will see branded content for the pair on RMG displays with a call to action instructing them to ‘Tap or scan’ the mTag placard installed nearby, at or near the point of sale, using either their NFC phone or a QR code app.

They will also have the ability to bookmark specific mTags to view content and offers at their favourite locations in the future.

RMG controls more than 200,000 publicly viewable TV screens, which deliver more than 70m viewers across eight OOH TV and video networks, as well as in-flight entertainment, fitness entertainment and point-of-care channels. The firm has been named the best OOH TV company of the year and was included in Ad Week Media’s 2010 OOH hot list.

The service is expected to be extended across RMG’s entire network following the San Francisco launch.

“Mobile devices have become an ever-present component of our daily lives, and marketers around the world have been searching for innovative ways to use these devices to engage consumers in contextually relevant environments,” said Garry McGuire, chief executive at RMG.

“The integration of RMG’s digital media network with the mTag platform provides infinite possibilities for brands to easily engage and then activate their target audience with relevant content and compelling offers at moments of maximum influence.”

Meanwhile, Mikhail Damiani, CEO at Blue Bite, said he was “enthusiastic” about the launch. The two companies have been working together for two years, delivering OOH media across Bluetooth and Wifi networks.

He added that the partnership allowed his firm to “stay true to our core belief in the innovative use of leading-edge technologies to increase value for consumers, our advertising clients and our partners”.

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