- Jostens, the jeweler best known for making Super Bowl championship rings, introduced a line of class rings that interact with smartphones. The Champ DX Championship Ring is embedded with a near-field communications (NFC) chip to preserve video and photo highlights of a sports team's winning season, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The digital content in the ring can be accessed through a free mobile app that Jostens created with jewelry maker Galatea. Jostens piloted the technology last year with the Valley Christian High School Warriors football team from San Jose, California.
- Jostens is marketing the ring to high school and college teams whose fall seasons are wrapping up with championship games, per its announcement.
With its new offering, Jostens demonstrates how mementos like school memorabilia can be transformed into a richer multimedia experience that includes photos and video from a team's season. Such experiences are more likely to appeal to tech-savvy teens and young adults who have grown up sharing their experiences in messaging apps and on social media.
Smart rings are a sub-segment of the wearables market that includes smartwatches and fitness trackers. It's not clear how big the market is for smart rings, but companies are making them a part of their lineups of connected devices. Amazon in September introduced its Echo Loop smart ring that lets wearers interact with its Alexa virtual assistant. The ring was an experimental product offered to people on an invite-only basis.
While Jostens is more focused on a user experience application for NFC, other companies have incorporated the technology into their marketing efforts. Kraft Heinz, for example, in September packaged its Kraft Singles cheese sold at Walmart with NFC-powered labels. The technology let shoppers use their smartphones to get a coupon for a later purchase, see recipe suggestions and enter a contest to win gift cards.
California wine brand Böen in August equipped bottles with NFC technology to direct mobile users to a website with information about the brand. And in June, Pernod Ricard's Malibu brand of coconut-flavored rum similarly brought its NFC-equipped "connected bottle" to the U.S. for the first time after testing it in the U.K. and Germany.