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By Rich Handley

Thinfilm, Bedford Offer Smart Hangtag for NFC Mobile Marketing

Thin Film Electronics ASA (Thinfilm), a provider of Near Field Communication (NFC)-based smart-packaging solutions using printed electronics, has announced a partnership with Bedford Industries, a manufacturer of product ties, closures and identification tags. The two companies will integrate Thinfilm's NFC SpeedTap technology into Bedford's ElastiTag hangtag product line, in order to deliver turnkey intelligent-packaging solutions to consumer brand companies of all sizes, as well as the broader fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market.

ElastiTag hangtags are designed to capture the attention of retail shoppers and drive consumer engagement at the point of sale, according to the two companies. The tags consist of a colorful elastomer loop attached to a custom-printed label, and come in a range of shapes and sizes to ensure compatibility with numerous product form-factors. As a marketing tool, the tags are used to promote special offers, launch new products and enhance a brand's identity. Customers using the ElastiTag product include Unilever (Dove), Procter & Gamble (Downey), Diageo (Baileys), Bayer (Coppertone), Nestlé, Colgate-Palmolive, L'Oreal, Method, Dole and Hershey's.

The integration of SpeedTap technology into the ElastiTag, the companies report, lowers the barrier-to-entry for NFC-based mobile-marketing solutions, offering brands of all sizes an intelligent packaging option supported by a cloud-based software platform that provides one-to-one marketing capabilities. In addition, the tags can be attached to virtually all types of primary packaging, thereby eliminating the need for more formal integration with a product and bringing NFC engagement functionality closer to the consumer.

According to the companies, the technology is uniquely identifiable and virtually impossible to clone, and can be read with the simple tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone. Once tapped, the tag wirelessly communicates with the cloud, allowing brands to connect directly with consumers to deliver product information and other relevant content. Key applications enabled by the SpeedTap's functionality include instant reordering, loyalty program integration, "how to" instructions, customer reviews, surveys and user registration.

Bedford is working to standardize manufacturing processes for integrating SpeedTap tags into the ElastiTag product on its production lines, and has developed technology that allows for high-speed, automated application of ElastiTags to a range of packages. Thinfilm and Bedford are now engaging a range of consumer brands to discuss the ElastiTag product.

"Many of the world's leading consumer packaged goods companies rely on Bedford's ElastiTag to help drive engagement with retail shoppers," said Davor Sutija, Thinfilm's CEO, in a prepared statement. "We're very excited about the role NFC SpeedTap technology is playing in creating a smart version of the ElastiTag product and look forward to bringing value to Bedford's existing and future CPG relationships."

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