Now that Time, Inc has been split from its former parent company Time Warner, there’s a renewed focus on content and the core brands of the company like Time, Entertainment Weekly and People magazines.
One of Time’s most well-known brands is Sports Illustrated. The iconic magazine is remembered for its annual swimsuit issue, the prestige of an athlete gracing the cover and, if you watched any television in the 1980’s, the free gifts designed to increase the publication’s subscription base.
Now with brands like Amazon expanding their market reach with the new Fire smartphone, Sports Illustrated is ready to relaunch one of its most iconic giveaways: the football-shaped phone. The challenge is that the number of homes with traditional landlines has dropped sharply over the last 10 years. Luckily, SI has a bold idea: a football-shaped phone with real “premium” leather laces and a screen that wraps around the whole football. There’s a built-in camera that will recognize a receiver when the ball has been thrown and provide a greeting when the phone senses it has been caught (the capacitive touch screen indicates a catch).
In the closed door, media-only demo the phone clearly said “Hello, Ochocinco” when thrown to Montreal Alouettes superstar Chad Johnson. In addition to traditional information like missed calls, text messages and a calculator, the ball will record the distance it was thrown and YAC. Admittedly, reading the sports scores as they scrolled around a regulation-sized football will take some time to adjust to, but with a target price of $0.00 with a 20-year subscription, the football cellphone may just fly with the average sports fan.