SI Banking on Barcodes For Swimsuit Issue

Sports Illustrated is planning a big promotional push for its forthcoming iconic swimsuit issue. For the annual release, SI will employ mobile barcodes to entice prospective buyers and readers with exclusive, advance photos.

The January 25th issue of Sports Illustrated will unveil the barcodes – along with other publications similarly owned by Time Inc – in order to help hype the Swimsuit Issue, which hits newsstands February 9th.

The barcodes will also be featured on everything from New York City subway ads to Las Vegas hotel room keys. Covering as much territory as possible, Sports Illustrated is hoping customers will be motivated to use their handset to photograph the barcodes in order to receive the aforementioned “exclusive photos” that highlight a fresh crop of new models making their debut in the Swimsuit Issue.

Charlie Saunders, executive director of integrated marketing for the SI Group, says: “I don’t know that [the swimsuit issue] needs promotion, but we like to drum up excitement about it.”

Last year, SI’s Swimsuit Issue was a rousing success, selling better than four million copies. The publication’s new mobile marketing endeavor will likely help drive sales of the 2010 issue even higher.