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.
December 12, 2013
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