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Bluetooth advertising

I was reading an article in the Dutch press just now about a new form of advertising through bluetooth, where people can receive a short video about a product (in this case the product was a TV program) when they are within 15 meters of a billboard. This was seen as a new idea, but this is kind of advertising has been around for at least a year in China. The Shanghai based company Pioco is doing this, and is even taking it to a much higher level.

Last week Thursday I was invited to the opening of a creative advertising festival in the new Shanghai Stadium subway stadium. This event, organized by JC Decaux and JWT, showcases some of the latest ideas in outdoor advertising in China. Pioco was involved in two of the ads here. One relatively simple one, for the clothing brand Metersbonwe, where people who pass by a billboard can receive pictures of the clothes that are shown on the billboard through bluetooth (just by standing within a certain range of the billboard).

The second one is a much more advanced way of advertising for the Ford Focus. Here a Ford Focus is projected on a wall, and next to it is a small camera. If you stand in front of this camera, the image is projected onto the screen, so it looks as if you are driving the car. What happens then, is that a picture is taken of you in the car, and sent to your phone by bluetooth. A very cool idea, and one that works well because Pioco has developed a technique so that only the person standing in the spot where the picture was taken does receive the photo (see the picture below for the result).

During the event I talked to Pioco’s CEO, Steve Chao, and he told me that his company has exclusive deals in China with several multinationals (among others JC Decaux, Coca-Cola and Nike) on new advertising concepts through bluetooth. Among others they developed a technique to broadcast through bluetooth over distances up to 300 meters (imagine what you can do in a sports stadium with bluetooth), and they have designed their own trendy looking and weather-resistant servers. During recent events up to 70% of all people within the bluetooth range downloaded commercial video’s. Sure, not everybody uses bluetooth yet, and you will have to ask people to turn it on, but I think we could hear a lot more from this company in the near future. And not only in China!

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  1. The one that I describe is opposite the other Ford ad (the one with the moving vehicle on the wall). Did you vote already for the best creative ad?

  2. Hi Marc,
    In terms of Bluetoothmarketing we dutchies are no frontrunners when you look at what pioco has achieved. My company, One Shoe interactive media, was the first one to launch a bluetoothcampaign in a supermarket on the european mainland. It caused quite a discussion about the fun of it but also about privacy etc. In time it will be more and more accepted… i am quite sure of it! Best regards and njoy Shanghai! Michel

  3. Hi Marc,
    Thanks for this posting, I was just wondering if you have any connection with Pioco, We are interested to know more about their solutions and business model,
    you can email me directly at

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