CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application claims the benefit of priority from U.S. application Ser. No. 12/183,791 filed on Jul. 31, 2008, which claims the benefit of priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/962,747 filed on Jul. 31, 2007. The preceding applications are incorporated herein by reference.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides in one aspect an innovative method of marketing and advertising utilizing an event-souvenir bracelet and card. The event-souvenir, bracelet and card provides packaging, a card containing stored data, an event-information packet and a wearable event-bracelet, (which can, for example, be ionized or plain silicone) offered to spectators and attendees of for profit and not-for-profit events that include, but are not limited to, sports, musical concerts, political, religious, entertainment, and fundraiser events.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Since the unprecedented success of the Lance Armstrong Foundation's use of the LIVESTRONG bracelet to raise millions of dollars for its fight against cancer many organizations have used a silicone bracelet to promote and advertise their own causes. The silicone bracelet's relatively inexpensive cost of production and its popularity among kids of all ages has made it the ‘perfect’ gift and marketing tool for fundraising and building awareness for organizations around the world. Due to the relatively low retail price of $1.00 for the LIVESTRONG bracelet the packaging for these types of fundraising bracelets have been typically made as cheaply as possible for a number of reasons. First, people that buy the bracelets usually know what they are buying and just tear open the packaging to put on the bracelets, paying little or no attention to the packaging. Furthermore, expensive packaging reduces the total amount of money raised from the fundraising endeavor of selling bracelets. Cheap, light weight packaging keeps costs of shipping low. There are also a number of organizations that utilize silicone bracelets without any packaging at all, letting the bracelet's message and design speak for itself.
Although others have used both ionized and plain silicone bracelets in the market place, the present invention in its first aspect is superior because it provides, at least in its preferred embodiments, one or more of the following advantages:
- A package, which is easy to open;
- A package which provides space to house essentially three products in one: an event bracelet, an event-informational packet and a money card;
- Value as a limited edition collectible souvenir;
- An opportunity to include additional information about the event in the packet;
- Room to include marketing and advertising products and information about their companies and reasons for supporting the event;
- Advertising for the event before, during and after the event itself.
For example, one type of event that lends itself to the event-souvenir bracelet and card is the professional golf tournament. PGA Tour golf tournaments attract approximately 250,000 spectators considered a highly sought-after target demographic by major brands in the software, financial, automotive and pharmaceutical industries. Sponsors and vendors at professional golf tournaments pay thousands of dollars for booths and foot prints at these events and compete fiercely for the attention of spectators in a variety of ways, which include offering free gifts, golf equipment and trips to exotic golf destinations. Fortune 500 companies including IBM, Coca-Cola and Microsoft pay millions of dollars annually to sponsor PGA Tour events (as in The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola) and millions more in promotion, entertaining clients and television and print advertisements.
One ideal tournament for the event-souvenir bracelet and card would be the US Open. Imagine entering the gates of arguably the most prestigious golf event in the world to be greeted by a smiling volunteer handing out beautifully designed, limited edition US Open ionized golf bracelets in a package that also includes a card pre-loaded with retrievable data constituting a gift card, or a stored value card, that can be used to make purchases at the pro-shop, online or at any of the corporate sponsors' retail locations. The tournament logo ionized bracelet is an ionized golf bracelet (a more comfortable and colorful alternative to copper magnetic bracelets) containing the name of the tournament, which in this case is the US Open, its location at Torrey Pines Golf Course, the club/event's logo and the 2008 date of the event. More simplistic designs may contain less information if desired or appropriate, as in the cases of tournaments with long names such as “The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola”. In some cases including the full tournament name, its logo, location and date may not fit on the bracelet or be legible for the average spectator.
The tournament logo bracelet is preferably, but not necessarily contained inside an easily opened packaging that does not require scissors or a knife to open. This type of two part, re-sealable and reusable packaging is sometimes known as ‘clam shell’ packaging.
A money card is also included inside the packaging. This may be a stored value card having, for example, a pre-determined value, such as between $10-25. Alternatively, the card could contain data identifying a previously established account external to the card, which can be accessed to make payments, as is done with most gift cards issued e.g. by retail stores. Alternatively or additionally the card could entitle the user to receive special discounts on apparel, food and equipment, or to become eligible to win prizes. The money card could have the tournament name or logos and/or the corporate logos of sponsors prominently displayed.
Possible additional inclusions inside the package are printed material with a description of the US Open, its history, and an overview of the course, in this case, Torrey Pines. It would also be appropriate and possible to include pairing sheets and an official US Open program inside the package that provides spectators to the golf course with vital information that may include local rules, course layout, safety, players' tee times, and advertising space.
Some of the benefits to corporate sponsors and marketers of utilizing the event souvenir bracelet and card for marketing and advertising purposes are listed below.
- Opportunity to integrate a brand name into a direct marketing system that places a valued souvenir and the company's message into the hands of target customers
- Activate the sponsorship
- Differentiation in a cluttered marketing environment
- New Customer Acquisition by allowing the card to be used to make purchases at the sponsor's stores away from the event venue.
- Increase Sales
- Bracelets become walking bill boards during and after the event
- Money cards incentivize targeted customers to try sponsors' goods and services
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention also provides, in a second aspect, a wearable band, such as a bracelet that includes a data storage and transmission device, such as an RFID chip, that enables the band to function as a wearable ticket and a contactless payment device. Although RFID chips have been proposed as payment devices, the prior art has not contemplated incorporation of an RFID chip in a wearable band, such as a bracelet, functioning as a contactless ticket and payment device. Although the preferred form of this aspect of the invention is a bracelet to be worn on the wrist, other forms of the band, such as a ring or a sweat band, or head band, are also contemplated and the term “wearable band” is used to encompass wrist bracelets, rings, sweat bands and head bands.
FIG. 1 is a front view of an event souvenir bracelet and card package.
FIG. 2 is a rear view of the bracelet and card package shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a side view of the package of FIG. 1 in a closed condition.
FIG. 4 is a side view of the package of FIG. 1 in a partially open condition.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 5 is a view of a wearable band embodying the second aspect of the invention.
An event souvenir bracelet and card package is shown in FIGS. 1-4. It comprises a transparent package 10. As best seen in FIG. 4, the package comprises two parts: a substantially flat, rectangular, lower part 12 hinged along one edge 14 to a rectangle upper part 16. The lower part 12 has a raised central portion 18 that mates with a complementary shaped raised central portion 20 of the upper part 16. A friction fit between the parts 12 and 16 holds the package closed as shown in FIG. 3. The upper part 16 also includes a raised cavity 22 that houses a bracelet 24. The upper part 18 has an aperture 26 allowing the package 10 to hang from a display. An event information packet 30 having a top page 32 showing the logo 34 of the event is placed inside the package 10 and the souvenir bracelet 24 is placed on the central portion 18 of the lower part 12 and is located in position within the raised cavity 22 of the upper part 16. The bracelet 24 is preferably a band of 100% silicone. A money card 38, best seen in FIG. 2, is provided within the package 10, beneath the packet 30, and visible from the rear of the package.
The event bracelet 24 has the name or recognizable logo of the event (not shown in FIGS. 3 and 4) either printed or debossed on its outside surface. The event bracelet may be multi-colored and may also have additional information, such as the date of the event or a sponsor's name or logo. The inside of the bracelet 24 may include, for example, the event or sponsor's website address or slogan. The event bracelet can be made from materials other than silicone.
The card 38 is a money card, such as a stored value card or a gift card. The manufacture and operation of stored value cards and gift cards is well known. In addition, the card 38 will be branded, as seen at 40 in FIG. 2, with the name of the event or its logos or the name or logo of a sponsor associated with the card which may be combined with the event sponsors' logos as well. Including the name or names of the sponsors not only tells the consumer who has provided the cards 38, but functions as a valuable advertising tool.
Depending on the event and the desire of the organizers and sponsors the event information packet 30
can range from one page to multiple pages that may include one or more of the following:
- A map with the layout of the event and directions to and from the event.
- A history and overview of the event.
- The mission and information about the organization that the event benefits.
- One or more event tickets and/or parking ticket(s).
- Information about the board, volunteers and sponsors of the event.
- An overview of the event including dates, locations and times.
- A request to support the event and/or the organization it is benefiting.
- A program for the event including additional information not addressed above.
- Sponsors' goods and services may be inserted into the event souvenir bracelets.
- Business cards
Once the event-souvenir bracelet and card is packaged the product is ready to be hung at the retail level using the aperture 26 to hang the package 10. If the event-souvenir bracelet and card is utilized as a marketing tool, they may be handed out by volunteers, staff or corporate sponsors of the event to attendees as they walk into or leave the event. The event-souvenir bracelet and card may also, for example, be placed at areas of high traffic at the event, such as on tables or in a hospitality tent. If the event-souvenir bracelet and cards are offered for sale they will be available for purchase at retail stores onsite and at locations of retail partners (both bricks and mortar and online). Promoters of the event may also wish to use the event souvenir bracelet and cards as an invitation to the event or possibly as a thank you gift for attending the event, in which case they would be sent via mail or hand delivery to patrons of the event.
The event-souvenir bracelet and card package may also contain sponsors' samples or promotions including, but not limited to coupons, stickers, sweepstakes, music downloads (iTunes) and drug samples (Cialis).
The souvenir bracelet could be used beyond the context of events to entail historical or iconic people and places that may include, but is not limited to famous athletes and hotel resorts. An example of this alternative concept would be souvenir bracelets celebrating and promoting the famous golf resort Pebble Beach, Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck and athletes like Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Schumacher, Roger Federer and Kobe Bryant.
Event souvenir bracelets do not have to be marketed or sold solely at the event, but may be promoted and offered for sale before, during and after the event.
The event souvenir bracelet could be used as a marketing tool via a variety of distribution outlets including but not limited retail, online, direct mail and at locations other than the event's actual location.
A financial institution could utilize this invention to send prospective and current clients event souvenir bracelet and gift cards with applications and information about signing up for new credit or debit cards in conjunction with or in lieu of including a pre-loaded gift card.
In a second aspect of the present invention, the event bracelet itself contains a device that enables data to be stored and retrieved, transforming the bracelet into a near field communication device and allowing it to function as a wearable ticket and as a payment device, obviating the need for a separate card. Preferably, the information is stored on the bracelet by means of a contactless device receiving and transmitting data by, for example, radio frequency, such as the passive RFID chip devices developed by Texas Instruments. An antenna could be printed on the exterior of the bracelet using, for example, conductive inkjet technology developed by Carclo PLC and others.
FIG. 5 shows the bracelet 101. An RFID chip device 103 (shown in phantom in FIG. 5) is housed within the bracelet 101. The device 103 in the bracelet 101 can be arranged to function as a stored value card, as a gift card, or as a debit or credit card linked to an established account at a financial institution. It can also allow the bracelet to function as a ticket for entry to a concert or other event, or to a particular seat or area, such as at a VIP enclosure, within the event.
The bracelet itself, because of the encoded data, can function as a proof of purchase and as a wearable ‘ticket’ that allows the wearer to enter and exit the event or restricted areas in the event. The use of Near-Field communication technology, such as an RFID chip allows the organizer of an event to scan people for admittance quickly and conveniently, much reducing the time taken to process people arriving for an event.
If the event is located at a hotel or resort the event bracelet or card if one is provided may also function as a room key.
If appropriate data is stored on the bracelet, the wearer is able to charge food, drinks and other goods and services offered for sale at the event either to a pre-established account, or based on a particular “value” initially stored in the device. Such stored-value and gift card technology is well understood.
Preferably, additional value may be added to the bracelet at the event. The wearer of the bracelet is able to purchase the additional value at the event and add that value to the bracelet. Value can be added to the bracelet either directly, in the case of a stored value card, or preferably by adding money to an account maintained at a financial institution, or by a provider of the bracelet, to which the chip in the bracelet connects.
When the bracelet includes an RFID insert, the bracelet may also function as a tracking device for children, the physically or mentally disabled and senior citizens attending the event who may suffer from a disease such as Alzheimer's.
The bracelet can be printed or debossed with a name or logo, 105 in FIG. 5, and serve as a wearable souvenir ticket, pass or identification device for amusement parks, cruise lines, or resorts.
Bracelets can be pre-purchased before the event, for example by ordering on-line or over the telephone. The purchaser can use a pre-existing debit or credit card to purchase the bracelet. After establishing an association between the bracelet and a debit or credit card, the bracelet can be used to make purchases that are charged directly to the card. Value can be added to the bracelet before the event on-line, or by phone, using a hand-held device with near-field communications capabilities, such as the device provided by Nokia, or at terminals or kiosks at the event.