- Whiskey brand Jack Daniel's is partnering with contactless payment company FitPay for a promotion around the NBA All-Star Weekend on Feb. 16-18, according to a press release. The brands are sponsoring the Jack Daniel's "Blame it on the Game" VIP Party hosted by actor Jamie Foxx.
- FitPay, which makes payment technology for wearables, said the co-sponsorship is intended to publicize contactless payments for the sports and entertainment industries. Some guests to the invitation-only event, including professional athletes, celebrities and industry executives, will receive a Garmin Vívoactive 3 smartwatch with a Jack Daniel's watch face. The device is automatically loaded with the Garmin Pay contactless payment feature powered by FitPay.
- FitPay's platform uses tokenization, a payment security technology that replaces cardholders' account information with a unique digital identifier for secure contactless payment and authentication. Jack Daniel's is an official marketing partner of the NBA and the Women's National Basketball Association.
FitPay's promotion with Jack Daniel's during the NBA All-Star Weekend is a way for the maker of contactless payment technology to reach an audience of sports fans and exercise enthusiasts. These consumers might be interested in the making the switch to mobile payments done via a smartwatch, as many in the segment have already taken to wearing devices that track their daily steps, heart rate and other health-related metrics. While a whiskey maker might seem an unusual fit for such a partnership, Jack Daniel's brand messaging ultimately gels well with the FitPay platform, according to executives.
"The Jack Daniel's moto 'Live Freely' closely ties to how we think about payments — free from your wallet, free from your phone," Michael Orlando, president of Fit Pay, Inc. and COO of NXT-ID, said in a statement.
Garmin is well-known for fitness watches that help people track their exercise activities, but the company in November introduced Garmin Pay, which runs on FitPay, to link its smartwatches to MasterCard accounts. Visa capabilities were added the following month. This is just the latest example of brands leveraging wearable tech to bridge digital and offline worlds, while also likely driving mobile engagement for FitPay, Garmin and Jack Daniel's. Last week, Garmin and Wells Fargo announced that the bank's customers could use the Vívoactive 3 smartwatch to make purchases at select stores with payment terminals that accept payments using near-field communication technology.
The news comes as contactless payments continue to struggle to see mainstream traction in the U.S. Apple CEO Tim Cook this week told shareholders that mobile payments haven't taken off as quickly as he thought they would. He had predicted in October 2016 that Apple would "kill cash," but he sounded less confident of that feat this week, according to CNet. Apple has featured its payment service on the Apple Watch for several years and added Apple Pay Cash in December with the rollout of iOS 11.2.