The 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue includes a new mobile campaign powered by NellyMoser, Inc. Behind-the-scenes videos of the 19 different swimsuit model photo shoots can be launched from the magazine's pages using the Swimsuit Viewer App for iPhone, iPad and Android. Each video is launched by scanning one of the digitally watermarked photos using the Digimarc Discover Platform.
The SI Swimsuit Viewer 2012 app provides a branded mobile experience that enhances the print content and then brings viewers to the magazine's mobile site. Satellite TV company DirecTV is sponsoring the app and will feature cover model Kate Upton in a brief DirecTV ad at the end of each video.
The Digimarc Discover Platform enables smartphones and other sensor-equipped devices to access media content using built-in cameras and microphones. Each watermarked image includes a small yellow tag with an image of a video; the tag also appears on the front cover. A house ad inside the magazine explains the Digimarc and encourages readers to download it from the appropriate marketplace.
Sports Illustrated first connected video to the magazine in 2008, and the publisher likes to use cutting-edge technology, according to Roger Matus, NellyMoser EVP.
In January, NellyMoser released a study of the top 100 U.S. magazines, finding a 439 percent increase in action codes of all kinds from January through December. In that study, Digimarc tags accounted for less than 1 percent of all tags used.
Why not stick with something tested and accepted by consumers?
"They were quite concerned about putting something that would cover up part of the image. They wanted the photos to shine through," Matus says.
Two years ago, the swimsuit issue used JagTags to connect readers' mobile phones to video; last year, it was Microsoft Tags leading to videos hosted by NellyMoser. Matus could not disclose metrics from last year's videos.
The addition of the app ups the ante. Although many marketers worry about reducing response when consumers need to go to an app store to download an app before viewing content, Matus notes, "They feel their content is pretty compelling to the Sports Illustrated reader."
NellyMoser provides creative services, campaign programming, site hosting, and detailed analytics for the campaign. The platform includes a database of more than 100 characteristics for each of 6,500 mobile devices that allows it to serve the best video format for a particular device.
"When a device comes in, we look it up on the database and know exactly its resolution, the color depth, and the frame rate it can handle. We also know the performance of the mobile network," Matus explains.
NellyMoser is promoting the concept of Companion Apps, like the SI Swimsuit Viewer App, as an alternative to magazine apps that offer magazine content through an app.
"We're not duplicating the content of the magazine, we're enhancing it. That's a big deal for publishers. You still want the magazine at the center of the universe," Matus says.
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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