Pluk is not chance, it’s toil: how Kiwi advertisers are tapping into second screening

Sponsors of the renovation reality show The Block NZ got more than just the chance to show-off their products and services in a real life situation, they also got the chance to interact directly with viewers during the show itself. They were pluk-enabled.

Pluk’s a homegrown smartphone/tablet app that uses audio recognition technology to enable viewers to connect instantly by pluk-ing (pointing their second screen and clicking) ads with the pluk logo to receive all kinds of extra stuff.

“The first time I heard of it, it was demonstrated at one of the launch events,” says Regan Savage, head of marketing and communications with Kiwibank.

Kiwibank chose to offer pluk’ers—the more than 53,000 people who’ve downloaded the app—the opportunity to download the RenoMate budget tracker.

Savage says he didn’t really have expectations about how well the pluk offer would be received as it’s completely new technology. But the several hundred-plus pluks Kiwibank got during the show was definitely far higher than he’d anticipated. “It’s really a very nifty thing.”

Boyd Wason, inventor of pluk.

Glenn Harris, Mazda New Zealand’s general manager of vehicle sales and marketing, offered viewers the chance to test drive Mazda’s new urban ute, the BT 50, which featured heavily on the show ferrying panicking contestants between Bunnings and their do-ups. He too says the response was far greater than anticipated. “We got a great response. It worked perfectly.”

Harris says pluk was a great way to leverage the growing second screen phenomenon. “To be able to use something like pluk, where you can actually direct customers to offers without having to manage a navigation path for them, is just great because people are so time poor these days.”

In the UK, somewhere between 75 percent and 85 percent of TV viewers use other devices while watching (although often it’s unrelated to the programme). 

As The Guardian says: “Of these multi-screeners, how many are actually using their second device to look for something relating to the show they’re watching? Somewhere between 37 percent and 52 percent, while between 27 percent and 44 percent are browsing for products spotted in a show or ad, depending which survey you believe.”

In New Zealand, IABNZ says 63 percent of television watchers are “simultaneous users,” who look up information while they are watching a TVC or show.

That growth is what attracted MediaWorks to pluk, says Melanie Reece, general manager of integration. “We like to own innovation and we knew mobile was the new frontier so we loved the idea of being able to take the mass reach of television and provide a gateway to engagement direct to the viewer.”

Pluk was co-launched in January in an exclusive three-month deal with MediaWorks. Though the deal has now expired, MediaWorks has continued to dominate the pluk world, mainly because it really understands its possibilities, says Boyd Wason, chief executive of Auckland-based digital consultancy Tango Communications and Foxtrot Media, the developers of pluk.

That said, we should be seeing more pluk-enabled ads popping up on other networks soon. Australian audiences should also be pluking by the end of the year, and Asia next year, he says.

The roll out of pluk is on track, according to Wason, with 53,026 registered pluk’ers by the end of The Block NZ; 67,731 pluks; and 19,420 interactions, where viewers actually act on the offer, 12,126 of which were in response to ads during The Block NZ.

Wason admits it’s been harder rolling pluk out to advertisers than he’d expected, with many seeing it as little more than a voucher scheme.

“It’s not about the delivery of vouchers; it’s about the delivery of engagement.”

What advertisers can do with pluk is only limited by their imagination, he says. That could be vouchers, games, information, advice, anything. “We haven’t even scratched the surface of what can be delivered yet. But once advertisers experience it, then they get it.”

Bunnings Warehouse’s decided to offer DIY video tips-to-mobile and it was a huge hit, says Reece. “From a direct-response-television perspective it’s been incredibly cost effective. People love video-to-mobile. But wrapped around that is the ability to click through to purchase. It’s gorgeous.”

The latest version of the app is also now live, and features faster recognition, richer response screens, improved social sharing and enhanced analytics (download it here). 

2.7 was the obvious next step. We have been working hard to meet the demands of our consumers as fast as possible, says Wason. While the opportunities are endless, it’s about the speed we can bring these developments to market which will keep us at the forefront of second screen technology.”

The new version supports iPhone 5 and iOS6 and is now available to update from the App Store or Google Play. The update coincides with plenty of additional pluk campaign activity, including Focus TV spots for New Zealand Beef & Lamb and Plumbing World, a Greg Murphy-fronted campaign for MTA around proposed changes to WOFs which will screen across all TV networks and a Vodafone campaign for the Vodafone NZ Music Awards on Four encouraging consumers to download the VNZMA app (check out the ads here).

It also got involved in the Bodyform ‘Crimson Landslide’ saga. After a Facebook post from Richard Neill accusing the company of lying to him in its latest advertisement about how women felt during their periods, Bodyform responded with a hilarious YouTube video called ‘The Truth’, so pluk created a campaign for UK users to get the response video straight away when they pluked the Bodyform TVC. 

All the advertisers spoken to say they’ll definitely use pluk again if the right opportunity presents itself, but they will think more carefully about what they offer.

Raewynne Lory, BP’s retail marketing manager, with responsibility for Wild Bean Cafe, says 5000-plus pluks was definitely a good response to their “pluk, register your key tag and be in to win an iPad” promotion, but as some people didn’t have key tags to register there were a few problems, though she was impressed by the number of people who then went to Wild Bean Cafes to get a key-tag and register. Next time, she says, Wild Bean Cafe will probably consider an even simpler pluk offer.

So, is pluk the future?

Given that Shazam, the magic iPhone app developed in the UK to identify songs is now encouraging its 200 million users to Shazam its Shazam-enabled ads in the US and the UK, others certainly think so.

Wason isn’t worried about Shazam as he says his app’s been built for advertisers from the beginning, so pluk’s Kiwi technology has advantages over its competitors.

He does, however, agree pluking or shazaming or whatever it is people will be doing in the future to link their TV to their tablet or mobile from the comfort of their couches is the future for all marketers and consumers.

“Within three to four years all consumers will expect all advertising campaigns to have some type of second screen experience with them. I’d challenge anyone to see it any other way.”

  •  This is an edited version of a story that appeared on thinktv.co.nz

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