April 10, 2008
Today I am introducing an award for services and products that I consider delightful and simple.
I have decided to call it the K.I.S.S. Award. (K.I.S.S. = "Keep It Simple Stupid")
Disclaimer: Please understand this award merely reflects my opinion. There are no objective evaluation criteria. This award in no way reflects the opinion of Forrester Research. Treat it as a bit of fun.
And the first winner is: The Gucci handbag advertisement in Omotesando subway station
What does it do?: It lets you get a Gucci coupon just by touching the handbags with your cell phone
Tell me more: As I walked past the Gucci poster, I noticed that the handbags on the wall stand out from the poster by about two centimeters . On closer inspection, there's a symbol representing a mobile phone and the word "TOUCH!"
So, I held my mobile phone next to the poster… and within seconds, the phone flashed a green light and gave me a message that I had received a Gucci coupon. Sure enough, my phone memory now holds a URL for a mobile site — "Gucci Joy" — which invites me to explore the Gucci Joy range of handbags and accessories. The site also allows me to register as a member:
Unfortunately, you cannot view this site from a PC. (You need to be using the browser on a Japanese mobile phone, I think). Basically, it's a content site – no retail function. It allows me to see handbags and find out where the Gucci stores are in Japan. If I register as a member, I assume that I will receive some newsletters and perhaps some special offers. (I'm sorry. I'm not a handbag fan — I haven't explored this site in great detail).
How does it do that?: I guess that the handbag that I touched with my mobile phone contains a Near Field Communications device. I'm not sure if the handbag sends data directly to my mobile phone or if it identifies me from the NFC chip in my phone and then sends a signal over the network. I will try to find out…
So what?: Well, I think this is a good demonstration of a technology that will help companies to connect the physical world with the virtual world, using the mobile devices that are already in our pockets.
In 2007, I wrote a research document ("How Japanese Companies Guide Their Customers To Mobile Internet Experiences") in which I explained QR codes. Well, QR codes are very nice ways to help your customers to reach your mobile web sites — but they require a few manual steps on the part of the customer. It's not always easy to scan the QR codes. By contrast, the Gucci poster required almost no effort at all.
Don't you agree that this is simple and delightful?
Well, if you don't agree… perhaps you will tell me about something even simpler or even more delightful. Just leave a comment on my blog with a short description of your favourite "simple and delightful" service, product, web site etc. If I agree with you, I will post some photographs of the product and a KISS award logo in a subsequent blog post.
In addition, I'll be looking out for delightfully simple products and services in Tokyo and at any events that I attend. If you're demonstrating a delightful and simple product somewhere, don't recoil when you hear someone say: "I'd like to give you a KISS."