Nike fans, guided by text messaging, will race through New York's streets in pursuit of a limited edition shoe.
Nike is launching a high-octane promotion in Manhattan that uses SMS to facilitate a street level, scavenger hunt-style race with a limited edition shoe as the prize. The contest, and an accompanying Web site, showcase Nike's new military-inspired urban hiking shoe, the Air Force-X MID.
"Operation 6453" challenges participants to find 16 Nike posters over a four-day period. Top finishers -- those who find the most posters the fastest -- will win the chance to buy a pre-release edition of the shoe, designed by New York street artist Stash. The individual who scores the most points will receive an unspecified "grand prize."
Those wishing to enter send a text message to short code #6453 or sign up via the game's Web site, where they can consult an online map showing the neighborhoods in which targets will appear. When a poster goes up, Nike transmits an SMS message alerting all players to its location. When someone discovers a poster, they text its unique code to short code 6453. A return message is then sent with a score tally; the fastest players earn the most points.
Runner-up hunters will be eligible to buy the upcoming shoe at a pre-launch event. Registration began last week and the four-day game begins May 13.
The "game on the streets" concept is enjoying a mini-boom. April saw the emergence of "Pac Manhattan," an urban game that makes use of New York's grid map to simulate the maze-based arcade classic. The game is facilitated by Wi-fi, GPS and cell phone technology.
Verizon Wireless is also using the street-level race concept to promote its products, by sponsoring Urban Challenge. The game engages contestants in a multiple-checkpoint race in a manner similar to Operation 6453. The sponsor provides camera and SMS-enabled phones for the event, and checkpoint clues are sent via text messaging.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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