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NFC has been around for several years now and has lots of great uses. However, for many people, it’s seemed an inaccessible product; only for geeks and developers, perhaps? However, as more and more companies (including Nokia) embrace the technology, we see the opportunities to use NFC rise significantly. Clear Channel is one such company, planning on introducing more than 10,000 NFC tags and QR codes to the streets of the United Kingdom during 2013.

Although you may not realise it, Clear Channel has products strategically placed all over the UK, situated deep within local communities and also in popular high streets and busy tourist spots. You may have walked past a few of their products a couple of times already today.

When you stand at a bus stop, waiting on a platform at a train station, or crossing a busy intersection of a road, the chances are that the advertising signs positioned there will be from Clear Channel.

Towards the end of last year, Clear Channel made the decision to include a new, digital method of advertising into their products, alongside existing methods, in announcing the UK’s first national permanent high street mobile platform for outdoor media.

Now, as well as seeing traditional media advertising such as posters, you’ll see a large tag positioned next to the advertisement. This tag is an NFC tag, with the inclusion of a QR code for those devices not yet NFC-enabled.



Throughout 2013, more than 10,000 of these tags will be positioned around the UK just waiting to be scanned or activated by your Nokia Lumia or other smartphone.

When people interact with these tags there’s the possibility you’ll be able to download vouchers and promotions, as well keeping up-to-date with brands you may be interested in.

The type of content available to us, the consumer, really depends on Clear Channel’s business partners. But let’s imagine what that could be, shall we? You could be waiting at the bus stop and want to download the timetable of the buses for that particular stop? Or, you could see a poster advertising a new fragrance at the shopping mall and scanning the tag would give you 10% off that fragrance? And all you’ve done is scanned the NFC tag (or QR code) with your smartphone.

When it comes to understanding how NFC tags work, particularly as an advertising method, advertisers have a real advantage of knowing what works and what doesn’t, using detailed metrics. Each NFC-campaign that’s set up provides real-time content updates to the advertising company. For example, they can see how many times the tags have been scanned; in addition to how many vouchers they’ve given away as a result.

Matthew Dearden, Clear Channel’s Chief Executive said:

“Clear Channel is constantly looking at new ways to enable brands to meet people. We’re very excited about the engagement opportunities mobile technologies offer to both advertisers and consumers. Mobile is the natural companion medium for out-of-home and this innovative platform builds on the outstanding audience and reach already offered by our market-leading roadside portfolio.”

In London, we’ve already seen many of these tags appearing, particularly at bus stops – which seems like an ideal place to put them.

Are you in the UK and have seen these NFC-enabled advertising posters? Have you interacted with one yet? Let us know what you think about them, using the comments section below.

QR code