You’ve Bluetooth’ed What CBS Outdoor?

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Just as we started to write nice things about CBS Outdoor (they seem to be working magic at the moment with their TfL London Underground XTP offering) they go and do something mightily stupid with Bluetooth.

In what can surely only be a press release from circa 2008 which has got stuck in some kind of time warp we are told that CBS Outdoor UK has partnered with Blismobile to install integrated Bluetooth units on 100 London buses.

Seriously who advises CBS on technology? Have they never heard of WiFi? Have they never heard of 3G?

All the reasons we gave in our post ‘Why Bluetooth A Football Stadium?‘ are just as valid in December 2011 as they were in (wait for it) August 2008.

The press release states “Bus commuters will now be able to download messages and bespoke content directly onto their handsets, with the Bluetooth units working in tandem with the interior advertising campaigns to alert commuters to the presence of a Bluetooth application”.

Wow! Steve Jobs will be quaking in his grave (sorry Steve).

Get this, we quote “Passengers will be invited to turn on their Bluetooth and accept a message in order to start downloading bespoke content onto their mobile handsets. The message is free to accept and once accepted or denied – the passenger will receive no further contact”

Fantastic huh?

It gets even worse – the roll-out of Bluetooth on London’s ‘Gold Routes’ follows a successful trial featuring campaigns with Walkers’ Crisps, Lynx and Cornetto. The technology was successfully tested and led to 9,000 separate downloads for the 4-week Walker’s Crisps campaign, 4,351 downloads for the 1-week Lynx campaign and 1,363 downloads for the 4-week Cornetto campaign.


Jason Cotterrell, Country Director at CBS Outdoor UK says “The combination of extended dwell time and the ability to interact with commuters will also make this the perfect platform for engaging with visitors during the 2012 Olympic period. In the future, we hope to see a wider roll-out, possibly nationwide, as advertisers see the benefits of this communication method”.

I’m sorry Jason but we have to ask, just what decade are CBS Outdoor living in?

Blismobile is managed by Gregor Isbister who was of course formerly Managing Director at now defunct Breeze Tech Ltd.

5 Responses to “You’ve Bluetooth’ed What CBS Outdoor?”

  1. Luis R. Villafane Says:


  2. Alex Romanov Says:

    Bluetooth has it’s place and great secure proximity applications sending rich media M2M and free to recepients. It also respects privacy and is cost effective to install.

    There is no reason for any honourable reporter to be so venimous against it unless they are on the payroll of iPhone or a carrier.

    In case someone is missing it all other M2M methods are under a variety of investigations for personal privacy infractions all the way to congress.

    The industry is new and has unlimited potential there is no reason to be so vile about a usefull solution as Bluetooth.

  3. Raffi Vartian Says:

    To his credit, Adrian lambasted me for promoting Bluetooth in 2009. This is certainly not a change in tune and I highly doubt that the DailyDOOH (no offense of course) is on Apple’s payroll. Though if you are…. Ahem… Next drink is on you.

  4. Chris Green Says:

    I guess it depends what the brands want to buy too – as one of the top 3 outdoor contractors in the UK I have to believe that before they signed a partner deal they will have ‘gone to market’ with the technology offer/proposition and received favourable feedback (on both the technology and the cost-effectiveness of the commercial model)?

    Reaching commuters on buses in London is obviously very attractive to some brands.

    That said, although Bluetooth is widely present on pretty much all handsets the majority view is that most people have it turned off to save battery life etc (confirmed in the story in the quote “Passengers will be invited to turn on their Bluetooth”).

    In this instance the content has to hold value and be relevant for the potential downloader to take the time to turn their bluetooth on. If the proposition stacks up then you can’t knock the technology as it works as a delivery mechanism – the downside is that to get the ‘metrics’ on how succesful the campaign has been requires more time to accumulate the data and thus fails to ‘report’ as ‘instantly’ as other delivery technologies such as Wi-Fi/3G (effectively real time).

    I’d be interested to get the CBS view but I have to confess I’d be more interested in what their clients actually thought about the results of their campaigns and how fast they could ‘adapt’ them based on daily/weekly feedback!

    Ahhh – therein lies another discussion point I guess!! 🙂

  5. Andrew Grill Says:

    What about this Clear Channel NFC fail on Kensington High Street…


    Still a way to go with any technology be it Bluetooth, NFC or QR code that puts ANY barrier between the screen and the consumer.


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