The following campaign blurb was really exciting until the third line where it describes throwing a consumer on the top of a van:

The makers of Stride gum will go to extreme lengths to have consumers upgrade to Stride 2.0. Stride’s CEO, a human billboard at a mall, accosts a consumer unwilling to upgrade his gum. The CEO hops on a skateboard and chases the young man throughout the mall, eventually catching him and throwing him atop a waiting van. After switching the gum, the CEO hops into the van, driven by snowboarder Shaun White.

Stride is usually pretty good at being ahead of the curve technology-wise (incorporating color QR codes early-on) so I was assuming they were doing the same here.  The thing is, it was all just in a video created by JWT NEW YORK. And it did not happen in a real environment like I was hoping.

I thought they had taken the step that might have been thought of as Science Fiction Fantasy when the billiboards were interacting with consumers in the film, MINORITY REPORT.  That fantasy is absolutely doable now with the progress in RFID, displays, bluetooth, wi-fi and cloud-computing.  You can see elements of it in place in Japan and you will see more of it here when Apple incorporates RFID in iPhone 5.

Companies have made good use of RFID on a limited scale for marketing with the strongest example being the Israel Coca-Cola Village event last Summer that incorporated Facebook. That experience made it simple, immediate and cool to share socially, but there are so many opportunities to build a phenomenal narrative and emotional connection with consumers in the near future.

In simplest terms, imagine that the Stride video was cut into pieces so that consumers could feel that they were the ones being followed through a mall like the Culver City Westfield – where the video was actually filmed.  As the user with an RFID transmitter passed by the specific displays, the videos could be presented progressively – taking them through the narrative.  Certainly, within the next 6-9 months, those folks who have the RFID transmitter would be the most likely to like and engage with the guy pestering them – they just don’t seem like the types who would get annoyed by it.  As part of the experience, there would hopefully be kiosks that allow interaction – whether just posting to FB or registering to get a coupon sent to their email or SMS.

This really is not so far in the future – with a number of groups already developing the technology.  It just takes a strong advertiser with the correct target audience (like Stride is going after) to pull the trigger smartly.  It can be done on a small scale in strategically placed locations.  But, don’t forget to get all your ducks in a row to have your PR and Digital teams ready to pounce and leverage all the buzz, video, etc to turn it into something much bigger than a local execution.

Also, don’t forget to credit Scarlet Strategic with the idea.  Better yet, come to us and we’ll execute the whole thing for you!