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Tag, You’re It, Says Ford

New technology turns static print ads into multimedia displays.

by on Sep.16, 2009

Take a pic of a Microsoft Tag embedded on a Ford Taurus print ad with your smartphone and you've suddenly opened up a multimedia display explaining some of the new technology on the 2010 Taurus sedan.

Take a pic of a Microsoft Tag on a Ford Taurus print ad with your smartphone and you've suddenly opened up a multimedia display explaining some of the new technology on the 2010 Taurus sedan.

The all-new 2010 Ford Taurus is loaded with an array of advanced technological features that the automaker hopes will win consumers over to the reborn nameplate.

But one of the newest features has been saved for Ford’s advertising campaign for the Taurus sedan, and helps transform the traditional, 2-dimensional brochure or magazine ad into a slick, multimedia display.  The trick is a small, squiggly square printed in the corner of an ad, and known as a Microsoft Tag.

“The question was how do we bring the new technology on Taurus to life in an interesting and demonstrable way for potential buyers who want that information on their own terms?” says David Sanabria, communications manager at Ford.

The tags, developed by the Seattle-based software giant, are an updated version of the ubiquitous barcode system used in retailing and other applications.  The box – which can be printed in black-and-white or color – contains a baker’s dozen bits of code that can contain a shortened Internet URL, or website address.

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The real trick is to make it possible for a consumer to use that data to access that website.  That simply requires a smartphone in which a so-called “app” has been installed.  With the Apple iPhone, for example, that can be downloaded for free from the App Store.  Once installed, a user simply aims the phone’s camera at one of the Microsoft Tags, snaps a pic and the software automatically goes to the appropriate website.

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