Manufacturers To Market To You Via Messages Hidden In UPCs

Stickybits is a social network that combines your phone’s camera, a web connection, and UPCs to leave virtual notes and images scattered all around you like invisible sticky notes. The important question, as always, is can it be used to sell stuff? Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Campbell’s, Frito-Lay, and Ben & Jerry are all planning to find out in social media campaigns this summer, reports Brandweek.

The process is pretty simple: you scan a product UPC using the Stickybits app, and if anyone else–either another user or the company itself–has attached any content to that code, then it’s transmitted to your phone.

As for how it will be used, it varies. Frito-Lay is going to use it to push PR about its involvement with local farmers. Coke is using it to try to spread a video promotion. Campbell Soup will launch a sweepstakes in July that will incorporate it.

But do you care? I tested Stickybits and found it fun, but perhaps a bit tedious; I don’t really need another way to interact with my groceries right now, it turns out. I did wonder, however, about whether anyone has thought to use it to deface or protest a brand with virtual graffiti–and then I wondered if anyone else would care enough to discover it later.

Perhaps most important, though, Stickybits’ co-founder says they’re going to monitor the streams and remove porn–so no you can’t put boobs on everything.

“Code Read” [Brandweek]