A new sharing tool has landed!
Near Field Communication technology (NFC) is growing fast and the phone companies know it!

NFC is the new way to transfer and receive data with just a ‘tap’. Whether it be direct to a website, to a competition page, a short video or to store a number into your phone book, NFC is the innovative way to transfer and receive information to your mobile. At CHARGE agency we have our finger on the pulse and have used it in our latest campaigns.

How does NFC work? Chips are programmed with information about a product or brand. These chips are transported into wristbands, stickers, key rings; or even embedded into a static poster or stand at an event. Similar to Bluetooth, people with compatible phones or tablets, can tap these various items and receive data about a brand. Let me explain this more!

Let’s say a bus stop for example is currently advertising a newly released film that has an in-built NFC chip on the side of the frame. Bus commuters can literally “tap” on the display and immediately receive the film’s trailer to watch on their phone. The instant message is more personal, informative and provides an immediate “call to action”. When the poster is changed, the chip is reprogrammed with a link related to the current poster, and so on.

So can this new technology aid experiential marketing? With the launch of the new Nokia Windows 8 phones and with 9 out of the 10 mobile manufacturers now installing NFC into their current and future handsets, NFC definitely has a supportive role within the marketing mix, although Apple are still to catch up!

In our latest Change 4 Life experiential campaign, specifically to raise awareness of their “app” we programmed NFC wristbands for all our event street staff. Aside of the public’s general curiosity and a valuable talking point, the technology raised the communication process – allowing our target audience with compatible phones to instantly tap and receive the app. In this case, it took them to a valuable drinks tracker app, that specifically counts and measures your own alcoholic units intake, bringing advice and tips to help you cut back if the units are creeping up for a healthier lifestyle.

Currently 20% of UK mobile users own NFC phones; a number that is rising as more models are released and as people upgrade to the latest handsets. No matter what the scenario, NFC is definitely set to have a big future, in Mobile phones, advertising and even banking!

‘Most analysts project that mobile based payment technology is going to arrive soon in a big way. Using a phone to pay is not only convenient and simple’ – quote taken from

So what is the future of NFC?
Not only the examples I have given, open up your mind and the potential uses for this are infinite. To tap and collect only the data you are interested in at a conference, to track journeys around a city, or to only access the parts of a theme park for your age.

So during your next trip to the shops, or to an event, watch out for NFC because if you have recently upgraded are about to upgrade your phone, you will be holding the compatible device!

Social Media

Increasingly in campaign design our clients are requesting that a Social Media aspect is factored into the customer journey. Facebook and Twitter attract millions of visitors everyday; more than any shopping centre or TV programme viewers. Conventional advertising isn’t as effective as it was, especially being able to skip through adverts thanks to SKY and Virgin. So being open to advertise on these platforms is a wise alternative for any product. The average person has 500 friends on Facebook. So imagine, for every leaflet you give out at an event you reach 1 person, but for every photo of your product they ‘tag’ or ‘like’ on Facebook, you’ve opened up your product to potentially an extra 500 people.

Take our Metro Student Card campaign during Freshers Week in October. We attended Fresher’s Fairs across North East Universities where students had their photos taken on a green screen with landmarks and key areas in the region that the Tyne and Wear Metro can take you. The students were then encouraged to go away and later ‘tag’ themselves in the photo to win a prize. 2000 students attended the Freshers Fair and were made aware of METRO and its locations, but once people tagged themselves and their friends started commenting on the pictures, the campaign carried on long passed the activity day. The METRO brand reached significantly more students.

In this particular picture for example 52 people have ‘liked’ it and 37 have ‘shared’ This continues the campaign longer than the face 2 face interaction and makes more people aware of METRO and its locations. The results are exponential.

The new marketing phenomenon is not exclusive to Facebook. In our latest Chance 4 Life campaign we designed a twitter pledge where our team of experiential promotional staff encouraged the public to have their photos taken and tweet a drinks related pledge to a dedicated twitter page, 'chooselessbooze' See twitter page:

Endorsing these products to your friends is more powerful than any poster or TV advert. An endless list of companies in a directory has no connection to you but a friend simply “liking” a company or product on Facebook, encourages you to pick their recommendation over any medium. With this knowledge, we tap into this when designing campaigns and encourage product likes as part of experiential campaigns.

We not saying ALL advertising has lost its role entirely, but experience has shown, that by designing experiential campaigns with complementary social media, overall campaign results can be dramatically increased.

North East's Transport Revolution gathers Momentum

As the biggest initiative outside of London, North East METRO operator Nexus, continues to invest heavily to communicate to regional travellers to the benefits of the new travel smartcard, Pop.

The £15m scheme, aimed to make using public transport so much easier and opens the way for people to get better value with more flexibility, and works much like London’s highly successful Oyster card system. Oyster now attracts millions of annual users and has become recognised as the easiest method for travel in and around the Capital.

As the “phased-in” period gathers momentum since its launch in 2011, Pop is already attracting and registering numerous travellers. Their continuous roll-out awareness and experiential activity engages and communicates the ease of this “pay-as-you-ride” top up travel smartcard facility. Passengers have already started to get their regular Metro season tickets and under-16 identification cards replaced with Pop cards.

The brand Pop was developed and designed for its simplistic name and attractive logo with “popping on the Metro” in mind. True to the brand ethos, Pop has been circulating the Metro Network over the last month, with trained staff attracting regional publicity as they educate passengers to the smartcard. Metro, working with appointed northern-based experiential agency, CHARGE Agency, have deployed these teams across the network equipped with digital devices, placards and large branded banners to assist and nurture travellers.

Smart ticketing is part of a £385m upgrade programme, where Nexus is investing £15m from Government funds with the objective to modernise stations, trains and infrastructure over the next decade. This will include the replacement of 225 Metro ticket machines and the introduction of gates at key stations for the new Pop smartcard ticket readers across the system.

For more information regarding the new system and how the changes will benefit you, please visit or details can be obtained directly through Nexus travel shops or through the Nexus helpline on 0191 202 0747

Change4life captures audience with an experiential display in the North East

At some point, I bet we’ve all been guilty to having just one too many drinks in the week; besides after a stressful day at work, sometimes nothing can be nicer than winding down with a glass or two with family or friends. But, do we really understand, or indeed acknowledge that our increased intake of alcohol can have a major impact on our long term health?

Clearly not, which is why the NHS’s brand Change4life expanded its current above-the-line presence in the last month to deliver its on-street “Don’t let drink sneak up on you” experiential marketing campaign, targeting major North East cities and Asda stores. Capturing the colourful characters of their brand logo, Charge Agency’s trained brand ambassadors worked alongside a recruited team of costume character freerunners, making their presence far more engaging at pinnacle events, whilst still enforcing this increasingly sensitive and critical health message. Positioned not to discourage social drinking, the events aimed to make consumers far more aware of the amount of units they drink; and monitor their habits through the download of the valuable and interactive Change4life Drink Tracker App. Available free directly through Change4life’s website and other app stores; the drink tracker provides a fun and interactive support mechanic for consumers. The campaign, supported by android and NFC technology, give-away measuring beakers and support literature, successfully encouraged consumers to immediately sign up and “pledge” their commitment to reduce their alcohol intake.

Like everything in life, sometimes just the smallest of changes can have a major impact on our future, so next time you’re about to pour or order another glass of your favourite tipple, take a minute to think that perhaps by just missing this one, right now, today; that it just might mean you too can enjoy a longer, fuller life. Join the pledge on:

CHARGE agency Ltd.
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Newcastle Upon Tyne
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