Innovative Mobile Advertising: Banana Republic
By Justin Ried, Thu Dec 21 00:00:00 GMT 2000

With m-Commerce making headlines this week, now's a good time to take a look at a company that's putting a unique spin on mobile advertising - Banana Republic.

A division of Gap Inc., Banana Republic has always been on the ball when it comes to fashion apparel - so it may not come as a surprise that they're also ahead of the curve on mobile advertising. Earlier this month they launched an innovative holiday wireless marketing strategy that has gadget geeks pointing their Palms at posters all across Manhattan.

In conjunction with outdoor media conglomerate TDI Worldwide and Streetbeam, Banana Republic has set-up about 100 poster-sized ads on the sides of phone booth kiosks around the island. An electronic frame in which is embedded a large blinking LED surrounds the posters. Upon closer inspection, a small diagram instructs users to point their Palm Pilots at the kiosk so an ad can be beamed via infrared directly to their device.

Up-to-the-minute news about Banana Republic is beamed to the device, including gift ideas, upcoming promotions, and breaking deals. Since the ads are generated by the store and published immediately, customers can find out about a great deal much quicker than through more traditional advertising channels, such as newspapers and direct mailings - all of which usually take at least a couple of days to reach the consumer.

But Banana Republic's current campaign is only a start. TDI Worldwide and Streetbeam plan to extend the product's functionality to all WAP-enabled phones. Users will access the ads wirelessly by simply entering their favorite stores identification number into Streetbeam's WAP site. If the model proves viable, it has a chance at being the first mobile portal (of sorts) aimed specifically at bargain hunters.