Top 5 Contactless Campaigns using RFID & NFC

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Giants like Coca Cola, Ralph Lauren and Budweiser are incorporating RFID and NFC to boost brand awareness among their fans and potential customers. Integrating RFID wristbands is easier than you think, and by partnering with an industry expert like PDC, you can make it happen in time for your next event or grand opening! Read the success stories below: 

story originally featured on Cream Global, published June 17, 2015

You may not know what they stand for, but chances are you’ve experienced RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) or NFC (Near Field Communication), especially if you’ve used an Oyster Card or the banks’ latest contactless payment apps. The concept is simple, when a tag comes into contact with a reader, an action is performed.

Coca Cola and Renault used RFID wristbands and cards that linked to people’s Facebook accounts, allowing them to physically check in and ‘like’ their products. It was even used in the 2010 New York Marathon so that a tag on runners’ shoes triggered a message from their loved ones as they passed certain points on the route.

Here are some of our favourite campaigns that have used the technology more recently;

Harrods & Ralph Lauren

In 2014, to celebrate the expansion of the Polo range at Harrods, 15 window displays at their store in London were brought to life with NFC-enabled touch points. Passers-by could tap their phones to the windows and access exclusive content, download a map of Harrods, and even order and buy online if the store was closed.


To encourage social interaction at their sponsored events in Brazil, Budweiser created the ‘Buddy Cup’. A QR code on the base allows the cup to be linked to the holder’s Facebook. Every time they say ‘cheers’ and clink the RFID-enabled cups together, both people will automatically become friends on Facebook. It’s the very definition of ‘social’ media!


Strongbow Gold Cider also used RFID readers in their SmartCap campaign. An interactive cap on limited edition bottles would trigger an event as soon as they were opened. An RFID chip was activated, resulting in everything from a FourSquare check-in to a confetti cannon going off!

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Shoppers at Westfield Stratford Mall in the UK were handed out special leaflets, embedded with RFID chips, to promote Battersea Dogs & Cats Homes’ #LookingForYou campaign. As they walked through the mall, the chip would trigger readers in giant screens to play a video of Barley the dog following and interacting with them as they shopped. You’ll be glad to hear that Barley has been happily housed with his own family.


KPN, internet, TV and mobile providers in the Netherlands, created an ‘all-inclusive’ campaign by handing out RFID enabled bracelets that could be used at 5 different locations across Amsterdam. At each site, scanning the bracelet gave you access to a different reward, from free macaroons and fresh fruit juice, to your own personal bag-carrier, a foot massage and a free ride home in a rickshaw.

What’s Next?

As more devices become RFID and NFC-enabled, along with the advent of the internet of things, wearable technology, brands are beginning to see the potential for using them more in their marketing. Coca Cola started using Apple’s iBeacon technology at their World of Coca Cola attraction, and intend to continue its use in the future, even suggesting that they’re getting closer to the day when you could watch football on a screen on your Coke bottle.

In the future, companies will have to work a lot harder to get individuals to engage with them, since contactless systems like these give consumers the power to decide for themselves if they want to interact with a brand. And all it will take is a simple tap or swipe.

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