Between the iPhone, the iPad, and the Android platform, mobile and tablets are on their way to becoming hugely profitable. But it’s not just the apps that are making them popular. Mobile web is still an important component of mobile as a whole, and McDonald’s certainly knows that. Advertising and monetizing mobile is still being experimented with, and McDonald’s has come up with a new campaign that involves both mobile and billboards. Recently launched in Sweden, McDonald’s allows people to play a pong game on a giant billboard. Users simply type in a web url on their smartphone and play the game in real-time. Those who can last longer than 30 seconds win a coupon for a free item at the nearest McDonalds. In my opinion, that’s pretty innovative, and a great way to entice customers physically into an establishment.
Now, the question is, how can publishers learn from this? Would an interactive billboard in Times Square paid for by say, Simon & Schuster, have as much impact? It’s hard to say. Simon & Schuster is not as well known worldwide as McDonalds, but they could easily apply the same concepts. People could play a game, and if they win, they could receive a free ebook, a discount on a book, or even an advanced copy of a highly anticipated book. Simon & Schuster, like most publishers, don’t have their own stores, but they could partner with bookstores to allow people to redeem their prizes. Or they could send winners to their websites to directly download their ebooks or directly give the publishers their information so publishers can send them their books. Either way, this would allow publishers to collect more information about their consumers, which, nowadays, is something they all need to work on anyway.