After looking at the pros and cons of NFC (near field communication), it’s clear there’s a place for tapping to enjoy content as well as to pay for products.

However, the customer’s willingness to tap a poster with their phone is dependent on how well many initial NFC campaigns are carried out. Some clunky efforts, with terrible landing pages and insufficient incentives have risked putting users off for good.

This is changing as brands start to use the technology in better surroundings and to better purpose. A mall is the perfect environment to encourage users to tap with their friends.

To that end, from this week, shoppers can “turn on, tap and enjoy” content and competitions at Westfield shopping centres in London through CBS Outdoor digital pods, which use Proxama’s TapPoint NFC platform.

Universal Music is supporting the project and technology, with consumers able to ‘tap to download’ an exclusive re-mixed track from the band Rizzle Kicks.

Users will also be able to buy the group’s second album as part of the process, from the content launched.

Over the coming weeks, shoppers will also be invited to tap their phones to:

  • Enter a Time Out competition to win a trip to Morocco.
  • Download Time Out’s London mobile app for information on gigs and events.
  • Receive a free digital music album as part of Westfield’s Emerging Icons.
  • Play CBS Outdoor’s brand-based quiz.
  • Download recipes from Masterchef winner and actress Lisa Faulkner.
  • Win prizes through CBS Outdoor's urban community.

CBS hint that users will be able to explore CBS Outdoor’s landing page with a variety of content, no matter what campaign they’re tapping (presumably the tapped campaign will be most prominent).

Jason Cotterrell, Managing Director at CBS Outdoor UK, commented as follows,

What differentiates this NFC experience is the continuity of engaging content on the CBS Outdoor UK landing page. We will always strive to provide entertaining, useful content, regardless of what campaigns we're running and partners we're working with

GSMA predicts there will be 500 million NFC devices by 2014 and 78% of points of sale tills will be NFC-ready by 2017.  According to ABI research, nine out of the top 10 smartphones are now NFC-enabled.


CBS Outdoors has previously worked with Samsung on a campaign around the Chicagoland area offering free ebooks and songs. It's perhaps noticeable that there isn't a clear and standardised sign on these posters to show they are NFC enabled, unless you get close and read the copy.

This could perhaps be an improvement to these campaigns and is made clearer in the Westfield example.


From mid-October, CBS Outdoor UK will start a consumer education programme via posters on National Rail, the London underground and digital pods at Westfield, to educate consumers on how to use NFC.

Cotterrell commented,

We selected Westfield London as the ideal location to showcase NFC’s potential given its unique ‘platform for fame’ qualities including unparalleled access to the right audience, in the right environment, at the right time.

This is essentially when consumers are relaxed, enjoying themselves and in the mindset of spending money; or looking for distraction while their friends and family spend money. Its switched-on audience would appreciate the opportunity to transact with aspirational brands there and then; with minimal effort and clicks.

Ben Davis

Published 26 September, 2013 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (3)



Good to see it being used properly - but is it really going to take off?

I can't help feeling that with the release of the new iphone that's not NFC enabled, it's still just a novelty that will exclude a lot of users.

almost 5 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Editor at EconsultancyStaff


Will be interesting to see how iBeacons will be used for marketing dependant on location

almost 5 years ago

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