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Nike breaks mobile bar code campaign at Mountain Dew event

Nike 6.0, the footwear giant's action sports brand, is running a mobile 2D bar code campaign targeting teens at the Winter Dew Tour, an extreme sports competition sponsored by Mountain Dew.

Nike's agency partner Taow Productions tapped Jagtag to optimize Nike's tour sponsorship, sponsored athletes, on-site footprint, physical signage and digital content using an MMS 2D bar code system. At every Dew Tour event, consumers can now engage the brand's physical media to request Nike 6.0 athletes' videos, pictures and information, which are sent immediately to their mobile phone.

"Nike was testing 2D bar codes to connect their Dew Tour athletes with the consumers in a more personal way," said Butch Bannon, director of business development and special projects for Taow Productions, Portland, OR.

"Once they had a bit of a dialogue with their consumers via their handset, a piece of content was delivered to their mobile devicem," he said.

There were Jagtag 2D bar codes on posters of various athletes inside of the Nike ID station igloo -- a freestanding snow-block hut -- that was built in the sponsor village at the base of the peaks.

If consumers take a picture of a Jagtags 2D bar code and send a picture message to the short code 524824, they receive a short video clip featuring that athlete on their mobile phone.

"For example, if they like Simon Dumont, they can take picture of a Jagtag and send it to a short code, and they are sent pictures of Simon Dumont on the half pipe and in the backcountry, lifestyle shots of Simon and fun facts about the athlete," Mr. Bannon said.

"The goal was to make the athletes more personal to the Nike 6.0 consumer," he said. "We researched various 2D bar code solutions, and Jagtag is the company we're most comfortable with.

"Jagtag was especially appealing to us because you don't need to download an application -- there's no thin layer code on your mobile device that has to be downloaded."

Jagtag's MMS 2D bar code system works with every camera phone on the Verizon Wireless and AT&T networks.

Jagtag received approval from AT&T and Verizon Wireless to integrate two-way MMS on their networks, which enabled the company to provide advertisers such as Nike with a 2D bar code service, which has the potential to reach approximately 80 percent of the market.

Jagtag is also completing its certification with Alltel Wireless.

Jagtag's platform is a means to deliver audio, video and pictures to a mass mobile audience, which may not have an all-you-can-eat data plan.

"Something like 80 percent of mobile phones in the country can receive the content no problem, which is a big one for us," Mr. Bannon said. "A lot of these apps will send you to the mobile Web, which can get expensive, and is not exactly a pleasant experience, depending on your phone.

"This is great, because consumers can take a picture, send it in and get a response right back to their phone," he said. "There's nothing complicated about it, and kids have enjoyed doing it."

Consumers can participate without any special sign up, without downloading an application and without accessing the mobile Web.

Nike 6.0 is currently looking at ways to integrate Jagtag into all aspects of the marketing mix for the 2010 fiscal year.

Nike 6.0 is courting the younger generation of action sports athletes and their fans.

The target demographic of Nike's Winter Dew Tour campaign is youth between 13 and 18 who enjoy action sports such as BMX, mountain biking, wakeboarding, Moto, surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and free skiing.

The first two legs of the Winter Dew Tour took place at Breckenridge, CO, and Mount Snow, VT. The third and final event, the Toyota Championship, will take place Feb. 19-22 at Northstar-At-Tahoe, CA.

More than 100 snowboarders and free skiers fill the Winter Dew Tour roster, all competing for a $1.5 million prize purse.

Athletes sponsored by Nike 6.0 include Elena Hight, Ellery Hollingsworth, Jossi Wells, Sammy Carlson, Simon Dumont, Trevor Jacob and Mason Aguirre. Mobile content is available for all of them via the Nike/Taow/Jagtag campaign.

Fans can watch live coverage on NBC, MTV, MTV2 and USA.

The Winter Dew Tour features men and women's snowboarding in slopestyle and superpipe events, men's free skiing in both slopestyle and superpipe, and live concerts from artists such as Alkaline Trio and Common.

The Winter Dew Tour is affiliated with the Alliance of Action Sports.

Mountain Dew is the tour title partner, while Toyota is the event title partner. In addition to Nike 6.0, other Dew Tour sponsors include Ball Park Alpha Dawgs, Verizon Wireless, Wendy's and Sony Playstation.

"We've worked with Nike for a long time, their past experience in mobile was more of a text-to-get campaign," Mr. Bannon said. "The action of consumers taking pictures, sending them to a short code and getting a response is more effective.

"There's recognition of the Jagtag [2D bar code] itself," he said. "There's no fine print involved -- it's like a stop sign -- you know what you're supposed to do."

Taow Productions' list of clients includes many large international brands.

Jagtag is a non-invasive, consumer-initiated "pull" mobile media that transforms a marketer's physical marketing properties into on-demand, interactive media.

MMS technology provides device ID, which enables Jagtag to optimize video returns across carriers and handsets.

Over the next few weeks, Jagtag is launching its first print and in-venue programs.

"The biggest issue around 2D bar codes is that they usually require the consumer to download an application prior to use," said Dudley Fitzpatrick, CEO of Jagtag Inc., Princeton, NJ. "It's always been a barrier to trial and a barrier to reach, betting on false consumer behavior, that they'll take the time to download an app.

"Jagtag went after solving that issue to bring brands meaningful reach," he said.

He cites statistics that 40 percent of U.S. mobile phone users are sending multimedia or picture messages -- MMS -- while 20 percent are accessing the mobile Web.

"With our system, every camera phone works instantly, and people are habitually taking and sending pictures with their mobile phones," Mr. Fitzpatrick said. "We're not sending people to the Internet without a data plan, which can be expensive -- 70 to 75 percent of people with a camera phone, have a picture messaging plan.

"We understand the technology requirements of the different handsets, so we can send multimedia messages and make sure that it looks its best and actually plays on that phone," he said. "It's a wildly engaging media.

"We give you the best of what a smartphone can handle -- WAP links -- and the best of what a standard feature phone can handle -- MMS."