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The Super Bowl is America’s most watched sports event every year. It was estimated that 111.3 million people watched the matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos in New York last weekend. Advertising prices match the high viewership, which started at $4 million for a single 30-second TV spot. This year however, another element was tested with personalized advertising based on physical location through an app called NFL Mobile, available on both Apple and Android platforms. The app worked through installed micro-location beacon network in New York’s Times Square as well as MetLife Stadium where the game was played that enabled fans to receive notifications and personalized ads during the big game.
The location-determining sensors work directly with the smartphone’s own geo-location program. These inexpensive transmitters (that roughly cost $5 each) were installed around Time Square and near retailers like Macy’s and American Eagle Outfitters. The beacons enabled customized delivery of various messages depending on the smartphone user’s location – in other words geo-targeted mobile advertising. For example, shoppers who walk through the door of one of 100 American Eagle stores with the technology will receive a welcome message on their smartphones, discount codes and even product recommendations. More specifically, shoppers will receive information on jeans when they are browsing through the denim department. It also alerts users with important information about their current location and where they are likely to head to. Last month, Qualcomm used the technology to alert fans about where to find the shortest concession lines at a Miami Dolphins game at Sun Life Stadium in Florida.
Manish Jha, the NFL’s general manager of mobile says, “The power of this is it really is able to connect the real world, the brick-and-mortar world, with the virtual world with a level of granularity that hasn’t existed before.” The idea is to make shopping more personalized and the buying process streamlined.
However, there is the factor that people receiving these notifications may find them invasive or bothersome. Robert Bowman, president and chief executive of MLB Advanced Media, the Internet arm of Major League Baseball, said stadiums were becoming “crucibles for technology.” But he said there was a bold line between gentle marketing pitches and obnoxious upselling. Bowman went so far as to call it “crass commercialism.”
Should it be proven to drive additional sales, this new way of mobile marketing can change the way retailers communicate with their customers. The sensors are relatively cheap, and the wealth of information gathered helps both users and marketers. We certainly hope this technology lives past the Super Bowl hype.
For the latest developments on this type of mobile marketing technology, follow us on Twitter @ARTEMIAComm.
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