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RFID-enabled Lexus Ad Debuts in Pages of Wired Magazine

The publication's readership can access information about the carmaker's new app suite, by tapping a mobile phone against an NFC label attached to an advertisement within its April edition.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 19, 2012Condé Nast's Wired magazine makes a policy of being on the cutting edge of technology. So it may not be surprising that its monthly print publication has been among the first to include a Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID tag within its advertising pages. In Wired's April 2012 issue, a Lexus car ad comes with a passive high-frequency (HF) tag that consumers with NFC-enabled phones can use to retrieve video and other content on their phone screens regarding the automotive company's latest offerings. Wired published 500,000 copies of the issue, each with an NFC label attached to the page containing the Lexus ad.

Lexus and its advertising agency, TeamOne, first envisioned the NFC solution—provided by Quad/Graphics, the magazine's printer—at Condé Nast's "The Big Idea" conference (an event showcasing technology for the publishing market) in late 2011, according to Matthew Kammerait, Quad/Graphics' interactive print solutions manager. At that time, Lexus and TeamOne viewed an NFC solution that Quad/Graphics was displaying, and were intrigued with the opportunities it might provide. Quad/Graphics has provided NFC tags in trade-show materials, posters and other promotional items it has printed. Lexus and TeamOne presented the idea of utilizing NFC tags on its advertisements to Wired, which features full-page Lexus ads within its monthly issues. Wired liked the idea. "We're always looking for ways to push the envelope with emerging technologies, and provide our partners new and creative ways to not only inform our readers, but wow them," says Jonathan Hammond, Wired's executive director of communications.

This Lexus NFC-enabled ad appears on the pages of Wired's April 2012 issue.

Advertisers already often provide a 2-D bar code or QR code that smartphone users can scan in order to access data via a URL linked to that code. However, Kammerait notes, such solutions require that a user download an app—and, in some case, have historically been difficult to use. Because the technology has not always worked seamlessly for consumers, he says, those with little free time typically do not want to be bothered with the bar-code scanning app. Quad/Graphics' NFC solution, linked to content on a URL provided by TeamOne, requires no apps, and thus makes the accessing of data a matter of one simple step: placing the phone within a few centimeters of an RFID inlay.

The inlay consists of an NXP Semiconductors RFID chip with an antenna designed by Quad/Graphics and built by a third-party manufacturer. Quad/Graphics assembled the inlay into an adhesive label that was applied to the Lexus ad in each of the 500,000 copies of Wired's April issue.

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