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Wear Bluetooth, attract advertisers in LA malls

January 12, 2009 |  3:35 pm

Bluetooth People who wear Bluetooth devices when they're not actually using said devices are cool, important and, in California, law-abiding. Now they'll also be a special target for advertisers at malls.

Intera Group, a Pleasanton, Calif., company, said today that it had launched a proximity marketing network at five Macerich malls in Los Angeles. That means mall visitors who have their cellphones' Bluetooth capabilities turned on will receive coupons and special offers from advertisers when they visit the mall -- if they decide to opt-in. The program begins in five malls: the Westside Pavilion, the Oaks in Thousand Oaks, Los Cerritos Center, Lakewood Center and Stonewood Center.

Those who opt-in will receive free movie trailers, movie wallpapers, ads and promotions from retailers such as AT&T Wireless and Hard Rock Cafe, Intera Group CEO Kevin Thornton said. They may even receive coupons, gift cards or special offers from stores.

The malls get some cash from Intera Group, which leases the space to install the transmitter. Intera gets cash from advertisers that want to reach consumers on the one device they always have with them. And consumers get to watch movie trailers on their phones. Everybody wins, right?

You could argue that the people who are likely to even understand how to turn on their phone's Bluetooth capabilities are probably the same ones who do their shopping online. But Thorton says the company's advertisements drive awareness about Bluetooth devices and encourage people to turn them on. It doesn't hurt that California's hands-free law is motivating people to buy Bluetooth devices, if not actually use them.

"It's the advantage we have in California -- the law increased the number of people familiar with the devices," he said.

Another advantage? Like, Angelenos' affinity for malls.

-- Alana Semuels

Photo: Is he listening to the siren call of advertisers on his Bluetooth? Credit: AZAdam via Flickr