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Playboy breaks location-based mobile initiative to engage trendsetters

Hugh Hefner?s adult entertainment brand Playboy Enterprises Inc. has unveiled Playboy Scout, a nightlife application enhanced with location-triggered content delivery.

Using Xtify Inc.?s geo-location push notification technology, Playboy Scout is available on Android phones nationwide and will soon be launched on other smartphone platforms. The Scout application presents Playboy?s audience with exclusive nightlife-oriented offers and information about events, clubs, and bars which have been reviewed and recommended by Playboy?s editors, and delivers push notifications to users when they are in proximity of venues of interest.

?Playboy has always been an authority in the nightlife space, with entertainment content that is even more relevant when unleashed from the confines of a computer or magazine,? said Paul Lee, managing director of new digital venturesa at Playboy Enterprises, Chicago. ?Playboy is leveraging its respected editorial content and expertise on new digital platforms to extend the Playboy brand in the nightlife arena.

?The mobile phone is the one device people have with them constantly, in their pocket or their purse,? he said. ?Brands not thinking about reaching their customers via the mobile device are going to get left behind?that said, mobile applications have to be continually relevant to the consumer or they'll cease to be used.

?Xtify's technology allows us to reach the consumer at the time and place in which the message we're sending is most relevant, and to easily send location-triggered notifications even when the app is closed on the consumer's phone.?

Playboy Enterprises is a media and lifestyle company that markets the brand through a wide range of media properties and licensing initiatives.

The company publishes Playboy magazine in the United States and abroad and creates content for distribution via television networks, Web sites, mobile platforms and radio.

Xtify is an ASP for mobile push and geotargeted messaging. The company leverages a patent-pending technology to provide marketers and publishers with a platform for delivering geo-relevant messages to mobile users.

Xtify's platform works worldwide on Google?s Android, Apple?s iOS and Research In Motion?s BlackBerry devices, with Microsoft?s Windows Mobile 7 and Nokia?s Symbian to come.

I?m not a Playboy, I just crush a lot
Playboy?s target demographic is males ages 18-34.

Xtify offers location-based push notification technology that lets publishers send notifications to their mobile audience even when the application is closed.

To access Playboy Scout, customers simply download the Scout application directly from the Android Market to their smartphones to begin receiving mobile alerts featuring content such as VIP access to Playboy events and venue reviews from Playboy?s editors.

Xtify?s geo-location platform lets Playboy?s Scout application alert customers about nightlife events and local points of interest without the customer needing to open the application.

The Playboy Scout application is now live in New York and Los Angeles with additional cities receiving the alert system throughout 2011.

City content will also be updated every few weeks as new locations are reviewed by Playboy?s editors.

Additionally, users will be alerted to special offers and perks in select cities nationwide.

There is no advertising in this application at this time.

Playboy has created the Scout application to give its audience timely, geolocation-based recommendations.

Scout is meant to assist in making nightlife entertainment decisions based on content, reviews and offers from Playboy.

The application does not need to be open for the user to receive geo-targeted recommendations from Playboy.

?Playboy had this treasure trove of content that was locked in their archives that has great relevance for people when they?re out and  about?lists of bars and nightclubs and other nightlife spots that are very relevant when you are sin a specific area,? said Josh Rochlin, CEO of Xtify Inc., New York. ?We have the location aspect, and Playboy has the content element.

?When a brand gets you to download an app, the majority can?t collect user data?brands and publishers spend all this money, but then they have to depend on consumers actually opening the app,? he said. ?With Xtify embedded into the app, the publisher is able to push a notification down to users without having their mobile number or email.

?It also keeps the app from getting lost in the shuffle.?

Mobile drives circulation
Playboy has also used mobile to drive subscriptions.

Per-Keys, SMS calls-to-actions featuring a keyword and a short code on subscription postcards, were used by Rotunno Circulation Management, which handled Playboy?s circulation.

The SMS portion was powered by The Horah Group?s Personalized Mobile LLC.

Per-Keys enable one-click ordering via SMS. Playboy postcards issue calls-to-action such as ?For faster service, text the keyword PB1 to the short code 55555.?

The response to Per-Keys was index .98 percent of control. At the same time Rotunno tested personalized URLs, or PURLs, which indexed to .89 percent of control.

Dick Goldsmith, president of The Horah Group?s Personalized Mobile LLC, Pleasantville, NY, said that the first time Per-Keys were out there, they did much better than the PURLs?nine percent better, in fact.

Those that texted in to subscribe got a text message in response such as: ?Thanks for your order. You?ll get your free DVD when you get your payment.?

Mr. Goldsmith said that the phone is closer than the wallet, especially with younger consumers. If they get an offer with a text-message response mechanism, they will be more likely to respond.

The reply message could also be pay-now number, click to a call center or a mobile Web site that is prepoplulated, so all consumers have to do is fill in their credit card number.

Per-keys are a link between print and mobile. Mr. Goldsmith said that QR codes are not for everyone yet, but everybody can text. He also claims that the cost of fulfillment is much less, because publishers do not have to pay the postage for the postcard.

Per-Keys can be used on last issue cover wraps for one-click renewals and also on renewal letters with an addition to the lasering already being done on these letters.

Per-Keys can be added to any marketing effort as an alternative response channel, and would be especially effective for magazines aimed at a younger audience.

?The challenge was to find a way to combine important mobile marketing tactics with magazine subscriber acquisition campaigns,? said Phyllis Rotunno, president of Rotunno Circulation Management LLC, New York. ?I tested Per-Keys to give consumers another easy and convenient way to order a subscription to Playboy magazine - via their mobile device.

?The per- keys system was unique in that it offered us the ability to assign a personalized code to each person on our prospect list allowing us to track exactly who was responding to the offer,? she said. ?Using per-keys also gave us an opportunity to contribute the opt-ins to the corporate database.

?The results of the initial test was encouraging and more testing of this innovative tactic would provide the necessary data needed to move forward with a rollout.?

Final Take