Dorito loco tacos, cupcakes and frozen yoghurt washed down by Red Bull
Barcelona has been good this year for those of us who by day three are having a tough time retaining our enthusiasm for small cells, hetnets, adaptive traffic management and the whole gamut of technology launches that come with a new Mobile World Congress.
Mobility is now a feature of a society at large and in the last days we have heard from fast food chains, soft drinks suppliers and global food giants about how they are using mobile phones and services to engage with their customers.
Mobile advertising may be having a tough time justifying itself as a standalone business model but mobile marketing has unquestionably emerged as a powerful weapon in the armoury of consumer brands. Kraft yesterday announced a major initiative with Nokia to develop branded content on Nokia devices in Nokia territories. The Finnish handset group, which made a successful return to the Mobile World Congress this year in the applications-centric Hall 7, also unveiled a licensing deal with Red Bull whose approach until now has focussed on partnering with operators. And late yesterday evening, shortly before the Eric Schmidt show, Taco Bell showed us how a QR code printed onto the paper wrapper of a Dorito-coated taco helped it to better engage with its customers.
Financial groups back in credit
Initiatives around retail, commerce, banking and payments have hogged the headlines at this year’s show. Not long ago it seemed that mobile operators were making the running in payments and commerce but global banking and payment giants including Visa, Mastercard and Western Union have all made impressive advances.
Announcements this year – yesterday it was Orange’s turn to announce a joint venture with Visa – are seeing mobile operators emerge as local market distributors for services developed by – or with – an established global bank or payment company.
Even companies you wouldn’t normally associate with mobile payments are getting into the space.