Blippar, which launches in a few weeks, is a new augmented reality mobile app, which aims to make it easier for mobile users to interact with offline advertising. 

The apps use image recognition to launch interactive content on the user’s phone, so an image or logo on the ad is the trigger to launch content on the phone. 

By offering a simpler user experience, the Blippar apps do have the potential to become a valuable tool for multichannel marketers, offering potential for extending campaigns beyond print, billboards, or whatever advertising medium is being used. 

As with QR codes, these apps mean that brands have an opportunity to adapt their marketing messages based on where consumers are geographically when they see them, and also what that location may tell you about their habits. 

The question here, as Econsultancy guest blogger Dave Wieneke explains with reference to QR codes, is whether they will gain widespread adoption. To get people to download and use these apps, it will be necessary to include a compelling offer, such as discount codes, special offers, and great content.

Indeed, a survey on QR code use in Japan, quoted in Dave Wieneke’s article, finds that the three most compelling reasons for use were to use a coupon, apply for special promotions, or to find out more about a product. 

I’ve been asking Blippar Marketing Director Jessica Butcher why she thinks Blippar will be a QR code killer, and how they intend to overcome any barriers to adoption… 

Apart from the code itself, how does Blippar differ from QR codes? 

Blippar effectively makes QR codes defunct. Rather than adding an ugly black and white pixellated box to an ad creative, Blippar can take the creative itself (the whole poster, a logo, the product itself) as the trigger for an interactive engagement.  

The only engagement QR offers is a web link for your smart phone (assuming the pixellated box is recognised from a photo the phone takes of it – which, according to user experience, it frequently isn’t). 

The Blippar technology is a much more reliable user experience (recognises an image trigger within seconds –at angles, from distance and in poor light conditions). 

Also it can offer a whole world of potential virtual content on the phone screen including overlayed 3D experiences (3D product views, games etc), video, e-coupons, GPS enabled directions to nearby outlets, web links and more.   

Which mobile platforms are you launching apps for? 

We are launching on Apple store (iOS) and Android and we will absolutely build to others as we see how the market for those OS plays out. 

As with QR codes, an app needs to be downloaded to enable people to use Blippar, which can be a barrier to adoption. How will you overcome this and build awareness? 

Yes, Blippar needs to be downloaded to the phone (although once downloaded it’s the one-stop shop for all brand-engagement of this kind, rather than going branded-app by branded app).   

We are driving downloads through a combination of the following:

  • Our own guerrilla/ PR activity to launch the platform and get it onto phones. We intend to have a lot of fun with these, including the ‘blipp’ing of functional, every day items.
  • Early partners putting money into press and outdoor creatives would incorporate a simple three-step educational graphic into their creative, for which we’ll offer discounted platform access. The size of creative and creative direction of the ad will dictate exactly what this looks like.
  • Press/ magazine ‘take overs’ where download directions and application education is done through both the editorial and the blippable content/ adverts on display.  

Do you have many advertisers on board for the launch?

I can’t say too much at this stage, but we already have a number of brand partners interested in launching with us (with six confirmations prior to launch) and are mid negotiation on creative-direction, timelines etc.