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HSBC trials Bluetooth ad campaign

hsbc_sign.gifHSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, has been trialling a new kind of location based advertising in London recently.

If you are walking down Regent street and you pass an HSBC branch office, you may receive an video ad directly onto your phone, promoting some of their banking products. The ad provides some brief information about the products, and then invites you to either send a sms to get a callback, or to simply walk into the branch. (an example of the ad can be seen below).

The bank has installed bluetooth transmitters at two of its busiest branches, Canary Wharf and Regents Street. As people walk by on the sidewalk outside, the box scans to see if bluetooth is activated on their phone. If so, it sends an un-solicited message asking if they would like to receive a free download from the bank. If they accept, they receive a small video file over bluetooth.

If the passerby refuses, then no video file is sent. And the system is smart enough to keep track of which phone numbers it has sent messages to, so the same person doesn’t receive the invitation more than once.

Although the bank claims that customer response has been positive, the Evening Standard in the UK found that people receiving the invitations weren’t very enthusiastic. A couple of people they spoke to had the following to say.

spacer• Stuart Green, 44, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was sent the message offering the download but refused it. He said: “To be honest, I wouldn’t accept it. I don’t risk it with anything that I haven’t actually asked for myself. There are too many scams around.”

• Sarah Thomas, 36, of Finchley, North London, said: “I get enough spam on email and in the post – the last thing I want is messages coming up while I’m walking down the street. “What if all the shops started doing the same?’

Here is one of the videos ads that HSBC has been sending out – it is a promotion for an ISA, which is a personal, tax deferred saving account.


The file is actually an animated GIF file. You should see 5 different images. If it doesn’t work, try closing this page and re-opening it. Or click HERE to see the animation in a new browser window.

13.05.2007    Tags: ,
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