Scan At Your Leisure

Magazines lost one quarter of their advertising pages in 2009. That’s a pretty serious dent in the old revenue bucket. How will publishers reverse the trend in 2010?
Stephanie Clifford of The New York Times reports that Esquire, for one, is looking to improve its editorial product via the use of integrated technology.
Relying on the ubiquity of smart phones, Esquire is seeking to add a deeper digital dimension to its pages.

In its March issue, Esquire will print Scanbuy codes in a spread on “The Esquire Collection” — “the 30 items a man would need to get through life,” said David Granger, editor in chief. Printed near each item will be a small code that looks like a group of black and white squares. Readers scan the code into an Internet-enabled phone, and the code takes them to a mobile menu that provides Esquire’s styling advice for the item and information on where to buy it.
An application called
ScanLife, widely available online as a free download, turns a phone into a bar-code reader. Versions exist for the iPhone and BlackBerry as well as Android-based handsets, and the app comes preloaded on many Sprint phones in the United States. ScanLife can also read many standard bar codes on many phones, so it can perform price comparisons, for example.

Esquire’s experiment is confined to its editorial pages for now, but the desire to make flat printed pages interactive will no doubt spread to the ad-filled pages before long.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.