Clinique, Groupon, HP, Ritz Camera Test Geo-Fenced Advertising

Groupon, beauty products marketer Clinique, Hewlett-Packard, and retailer Ritz Camera are launch partners for a new platform by JiWire that serves mobile ads to viewers when they are in a locale with product or store availability. Called “Compass,” the platform’s ads can be viewed on devices such as iPads, smartphones, or laptops when users enter a geo-fenced area.

The ad units pull in location-specific data from JiWire’s Wi-Fi network, while providing information to the viewers about the brand as it relates to their proximity. Once a consumer clicks an ad, it expands into a full-screen presentation that shows the nearby locations with either the products – perhaps eyeliner as an example for Clinique – or store locations for a retailer like Ritz Camera. Additionally, the Compass system is designed to inform a consumer if a product is in-stock at a store.

Smartphone users can click to call a retail location via the ad unit as well as retrieve driving/walking directions. And, advertisers can create customized tabs letting a user learn about their brand through product videos. Consumers don’t need to opt in, according to JiWire, as Compass serves ads after scanning what’s nearby.

Clinique, Groupon, and HP were not available to address exactly how they plan to use the platform. A JiWire spokesperson said Groupon’s ads, in particular, would allow the daily deals company to target consumers with multiple local offers, while facilitating the quick retrieval of directions to retail locations. It builds on the two companies’ announcement last week that they will distribute daily deals ads by neighborhood locale.

Alex Goldman, director of media for Ritz Camera’s Beltsville, MD-based parent, Ritz & Wolf Camera & Image, told ClickZ that the Compass platform is already paying dividends in the early stages after implementation. “[It] has enabled us to reach our customers at the most local level and drive business into our stores,” he said.

Generally speaking, JiWire offers the ability to target ads based upon its network of more than 30,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots (airports, coffee shops, college campuses, etc.) and partnerships with 40 network providers. The San Francisco-based company says its ads have been reaching more than 40 million people a month.

The launch of Compass (see video presentation below) comes after JiWire purchased Nearbynow last month. That acquisition provided technology for Compass, while also acquainting JiWire with Nearbynow’s established client Ritz Camera.