First NFC-enabled Print Ad in German Mass Media

Without doubt, mass media is permanently looking forward to develop new and innovative opportunities to attract their readership. Now, the popular German magazine Spiegel Wissen took a further step by initiating Germany’s first mass-produced NFC-enabled print ad. To secure the success of this pioneering activity, the advertiser and publisher teamed up with the Smart Media Alliance, and with SMARTRAC supplying the NFC tags.


The NFC-enabled ad can be found in 125.000 copies of the current issue of Spiegel Wissen, an offspring of the highly influential news magazine Der Spiegel, one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of 900.000 issues.


On four pages, the ad features the BMW i3 and BMW i8 electric cars, and leverages SMARTRAC Circus NFC inlays to encourage smartphone users to download the BMW i App. Users of NFC-enabled smartphones can download and launch the app by simply placing their phone on a certain area of the ad. They can then explore a range of interactive information and services that demonstrate the BMW Group‘s sustainable mobility capabilities.


Smart Media Alliance at work


To make all that happen, SMARTRAC delivered the whole production lot of Circus NFC inlays with NXP NTAG chips to converter partner identytag (a Winckel company), which applied them to the print ad. SMARTRAC, NXP and identytag are founding members of the Smart Media Alliance (SMA), a non-incorporated, industry-led initiative fostering NFC technology research, guidance and implementation. Another founding member is Tamoco, a company specializing in proximity marketing and analytics, which will take care of the app download process.


The BMW Group’s ad in Spiegel Wissen is also a breakthrough for the Smart Media Alliance, which aims to persuade advertisers to embed NFC within marketing campaigns. The benefits are obvious: NFC-tagged media can easily enrich the reader experience by providing added value, seamlessly merging physical and digital worlds very rapidly. More information on how brands, their marketing agencies and media can leverage NFC can be found at the following website:


Superior alternative to QR codes


Becoming the exclusive supplier of inlays for Germany’s first mass-produced NFC print ad is a welcome confirmation for SMARTRAC, according to Karin Fabri, SVP Corporate Marketing & Communications at SMARTRAC: “Our goal as the NFC technology leader is to open up new application areas, together with our partners. Today we see a clear market trend, as NFC engagement rates have strongly increased – at the expense of QR scans. Print advertising projects like the BMW Group ad effectively demonstrate the advantages of NFC, and will further reduce any reservations from the consumer’s side.”