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Sports Illustrated makes Swimsuit Edition interactive with Microsoft Tags

Time Inc.?s Sports Illustrated 2011 Swimsuit Edition is incorporating Microsoft Tags into the pages of the magazine to connect readers to interactive content beyond the issue's pages.

The magazine used mobile technology company Nellymoser to turn the printed codes into interactive content that is instantly available on users? mobile phones. Users just need to scan the Tags using a bar code reader such as Microsoft Tag Reader, which uses the phone?s camera to read the code and translate it into a URL.

?The strategy is to extend the content in the print magazine and unlock additional interactive content,? said Anna Kim-Williams, senior global media strategist at Microsoft Tag, Redmond, WA.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit reaches more than 60 million people annually, and more men 18-34 than the Super Bowl, making it an ideal platform for the company to employ new mobile marketing strategies.

Reeling in readers
Once readers scan the code, they are routed to a mobile Web site where they can view exclusive information, including behind-the-scenes videos of all 17 models in the issue, an opportunity to cast their vote for next year?s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie competition and share content via Facebook, Twitter or email.

To promote its use of bar codes, Sports Illustrated is incorporating the Tags throughout out-of-home advertising such as phone kiosks, subway posters and signs throughout New York City and Las Vegas.

Rather than linking to the same information as the codes in the issue, these Tags connect users to a swimsuit body paint video that can be shared on Facebook.

Users are also able to use the advertisements? codes to preorder the 2011 issue or to download the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit app, which launched last summer.

The application also features the body paint video as well as photographs of bikini-clad models.

Mobile outlook
This is not the first time Sports Illustrated has implemented mobile bar codes in the Swimsuit Issue. The company has cut the number of codes in half from last year?s six, this time including just two editorial Tags and one advertiser Tag through Nissan. 

Nissan is advertising within the Sports Illustrated app

While the number is whittled down, the company says the new codes are richer in exclusive content.

Also different from last year is Sports Illustrated?s use of Microsoft Tag rather than JagTag.

Readers can scan the mobile bar code for additional content

?Microsoft Tag eliminates the boundaries of the printed page and provides a simple and versatile way to extend the print magazine to any kind of digital content from behind-the-scenes videos to photos or voting,? Ms. Kim-Williams said.