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Using cellphones to make ads interactive

Using cellphones to make ads interactive
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First Published: Sun, Jun 12 2011. 01 15 AM IST
Updated: Mon, Jul 18 2011. 06 54 PM IST
Bangalore: A company launches a new product and promotes it, as usual, with advertisements in glossy magazines. In a corner of the ad, however, there is a notice on how to download an application called IntARact on your mobile phone.
Once you do so, the app will open the camera on your phone. And when you point the camera at the product in the ad, or the company’s logo, you will be able to know the product a whole lot better. The fresh content may be a video, links to product tests and reviews by magazines, peer comments and testimonials—or in case of products such as cars, even a three-dimensional model that you can walk around or go inside to inspect the interiors.
Telibrahma Convergent Communications Pvt. Ltd, which has developed IntARact, calls it an augmented reality platform—a unique way for companies to market their products and for prospective buyers to experience them.
Launched in June last year, the app already has 200,000 users and many of India’s top brands on board, including Nike, Ford, Fiat, Nokia and Godrej.
As much as its innovative nature, IntARact’s integration with traditional advertising, which is in print and television, has helped make it such a quickfire success. “Advertisers pay part of their traditional media budgets (to Telibramha) in the interest of achieving direct interaction with prospective customers,” says the firm.
“The advertising spend in India today is roughly Rs20,000 crore,” Telibrahma president P.R. Satheesh said. “Print and television make up about Rs14,000 crore. Outdoor would be about Rs2,500 crore. Online advertising would be Rs1,000 crore. Mobile advertising is at a low Rs100 crore.” Satheesh said online advertising took nearly 10 years to reach Rs1,000 crore, but mobile advertising will grow much faster.
The app is device-agnostic, and works on a variety of mobile phone operating systems. It also allows a lot of flexibility in the way companies can use it. For a Ponds anti-ageing cream, for instance, IntARact captures the image of a user’s face, which is then “made younger” by eliminating wrinkles, blemishes, etc.
Telibrahma is working on allowing the app to work on television as well, using the only static thing on screen—the channel logo. Point the phone camera at it, and you can again get useful content, perhaps a programme you missed, highlights of a cricket match and so on. The company, which raised $2 million from Ojas Venture Partners and Inventus Capital in 2008, claims to be profitable today. IntARact is already contributing half its revenue, Telibrahma expects this to go up to two-thirds over the next year or two.
sridhar.c@livemint.com
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First Published: Sun, Jun 12 2011. 01 15 AM IST