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Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue runs 2D bar code MMS campaign

Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated is letting its readers get a sampling of the most beautiful SI swimsuit pictures delivered to their mobile phone via multimedia messaging.

Readers of Sports Illustrated's June 29 Swimsuit Vault issue can take and send a picture of a Jagtag 2D bar code to receive the photo spread, which includes between seven and 14 pictures delivered via a single MMS, depending on their phone's capabilities. Every participant's camera phone works instantly, without having to download a code-reading application or incurring the costs of accessing the mobile Web without a data plan, according to Jagtag.

"SI is constantly looking to provide its readers and advertisers more value," said Charlie Saunders, executive director of integrated marketing for Sports Illustrated, New York. "We felt the launch of the SI Swimsuit vault was a great platform to test consumer response to the Jagtag 2D bar code technology.

"Using Jagtag here was a great way to offer our readers additional swimsuit photos," he said.

Sports Illustrated is a sports magazine owned by Time Inc., itself a unit of media and entertainment giant Time Warner. SI.com is a CNN network site.

Sports Illustrated's weekly circulation is around 3.2 million and its core audience is men ages 18-54. It is read by 23 million adults each week, including more than 18 million men, or 19 percent of the adult males in the United States, according to Sports Illustrated.

The swimsuit issue, which has been published since 1964, is now an annual publishing event that generates its own television shows, videos and calendars.

Sports Illustrated's edit team included the Jagtag callout within a SI Swimsuit Vault spread in the June 29 issue. The call-to-action was headlined, "Swimsuit photos on your phone."

The text read: "To get a sampling of the most beautiful SI swimsuit pictures delivered instantly to your cell phone, take a picture of this Jagtag and then send it to short code 524824 (iPhones send to ). Available to Alltel, AT&T and Verizon customers only. Standard messaging or data rates apply."

Pictures of various models were sent to consumers. The models and the images used were selected by Sports Illustrated's editorial team.

This was not Sports Illustrated's first foray into mobile marketing.

"We have a well-trafficked WAP site and are getting ready to launch a sports and swimsuit application," Mr. Saunders said. "This was Sports Illustrated's first time using 2D bar code technology.

"We were very pleased with the results and are thinking of ways to use the technology moving forward," he said.

Jagtag mobile technology can deliver optimized multimedia content to both smartphones and standard feature phones.

Also, Jagtag has run in-venue 2D bar code campaigns for brands such as Nike (see story).

"It's a big deal for us and SI Swimsuit is one of the country's largest franchises," said Tracey Dreby, director of client services for Jagtag, Princeton, NJ.

"A mobile offering using Jagtag enables publishers to increase the value of their offering to their two core audiences: consumers that interact with their content and marketers that use their content as a vehicle for advertising," she said.

"The creative in the return message is optimized for every handset on the market, based on the requesting phone's technology requirements, media player and screen size, which allows marketers to return high-quality, optimized creative to every participant requesting content."