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TrueMove runs multichannel promotion to drive mobile bar code adoption

July 21, 2010

truemove-1TrueMove, the No. 1 wireless carrier in Thailand, offered its customers various incentives to download 3GVision’s i-nigma-based bar code reader.

TrueMove promoted usage of QR codes in this campaign via a leaflet explaining how to download the QR code reader and how to scan QR codes. In return for downloading the mobile bar code application, TrueMove customers received a 10 Baht Top-Up to their balance, as well as ringtone, music mp3 or coupons, after successful download from the carrier’s portal.

“TrueMove is using QR codes as part of their 3G launch and their entry into the digital media market,” said Mendy Mendelsohn, CEO of 3GVision, Or Yehuda, Israel. “In the current campaign, users were encouraged to scan codes in order to ‘pick up’ music and coupons directly to their mobile.

“This is part of TrueMove’s ‘Fun Living Lifestyle’ concept, which envisions users interacting in many more ways with their mobile phone, for example for electronic tickets or TV shopping,” he said.

3GVision specializes in mobile bar code reading platforms and image-processing technologies to link consumers to the mobile Internet.

truemove-inigma-qrcode_0716Carrier promoting mobile bar codes
TrueMove’s mobile bar code campaign took place from May 16 – June 30.

By reading QR codes printed on the leaflet, TrueMove users could get a ringtone, music mp3 or coupons, as well as the top-up minutes.

In addition, TrueMove promoted this campaign during the month of June in several magazines and in TrueVision, a Thai cable television network.

The fliers, magazine ads and TV commercials carried the following download instructions for the TrueMove bar code reader:

1. Text QR to 3434
2. Click on the URL written on the replied text message
3. Download bar code reader application from the site referred by the URL

The results of the campaign were well above initial expectations, according to 3GVision.

Thailand is predominantly a SIM-free country where, unlike most of the U.S. and Western Europe, subscribers buy only the SIM card from the carrier.

Therefore, Thai carriers have little control over which handsets are being used by their subscribers, let alone which applications are installed on them.

“I-nigma’s wide support of handsets—the widest in the industry—maximizes the market coverage, allowing a large percentage of subscribers to join the fun,” Mr. Mendelsohn said. “In addition, our bar code reading engine is specifically optimized for J2ME feature phones.

“In spite of the recent excitement over smartphones, feature phones still represent a very large majority of handsets, and operators would love to help them become active users of mobile Internet,” he said.

Which publishers, advertisers and local businesses have run campaigns across TrueMove’s network using the technology?

TrueMove drives traffic to business partners via links such as and, as well as via neighboring Eat/Drink/Shopping/Stay tabs.

truemove-qrcode-billboard-0716Mobile bar codes reaching the mass market
Mr. Mendelsohn said that there has been a huge increase in the amount of usage and interest in mobile bar codes by brands, publishers and retailers worldwide.

And the likes of Google, Microsoft and eBay entering the market adds further validation.

Despite success stories and progress in the space, there are two main obstacles to mass-market adoption.

The first is crossing the chasm between smartphone adoption and mass-market adoption.

“If, as some believe, it is only a matter of time until everyone uses a smartphone, then this is a non-issue,” Mr. Mendelsohn said. “This remains to be seen.”

The other obstacle is the standards wars, especially in the U.S., and especially where it relates to what Mr. Mendelsohn calls “the dreaded oxymoron ‘proprietary standards’.”

“In the first years of our work in Japan, the operators and publishers quickly standardized around the QR code format and formation,” Mr. Mendelsohn said. “At the same time, we regretfully witnessed two of the most advanced mobile economies in the Far East fall into standards and proprietary standards wars.

“This had a devastating effect on the development of mobile bar codes for several years,” he said. “Owners of proprietary standards who hope that everyone will use their standard and collect money off licensing their patents—I believe it ain’t gonna happen, especially since there are perfectly good open standards out there, such as QRcode, DataMatrix and EAN.

“A few proprietary standard vendors have discovered this the hard way, and either folded or jumped on the open standards wagon.”

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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