- Tommy Hilfiger introduced this week a line of smart clothing that rewards you for wearing it.
- There’s even a Pokémon Go-style game you can play while you’re wearing them.
- It raises some privacy concerns, though Tommy Hilfiger says that the chips can be turned off.
This week, Tommy Hilfiger introduced Tommy Jeans XPLORE, a new line of clothes and accessories that all come bugged with “smart chip technology,” which tracks how often you wear them and where you go with them on.
There’s even an exclusive game, sort of like Pokémon Go, that you can use to earn rewards like gift cards and concert tickets.
“It’s all of your must-have Tommy Jeans favourites with smart chip technology,” the brand’s website reads.
The line includes both men and women’s style hoodies ($US99), jeans (about $US99), T-shirts ($US39), fanny packs ($US89.50) and a few other selections, all with the embedded chips. The app is free to download for iPhone and other iOS devices.
The company said in its announcement for the line that it hopes the chipped clothes and game will help create a “micro-community of brand ambassadors.” In essence, they’re rewarding you for wearing the products more often.
Reaction to this line hasn’t been universally positive.TechCrunch reporter Sarah Perez called the concept “ridiculous,” writing that while Tommy Hilfiger is known for experimenting with their products, she sees this particular use of tech as more of “a loyalty program requiring customers to overspend in order to join,” than an actual innovation.
How does it work?
According to Tommy Hilfiger, the clothes all contain a “smart tag” that connects up to a mobile app via Bluetooth. The app awards points for every time they wear the pants, and encourages players to collect virtual hearts based on their real-world locations. It’s much like Pokémon Go.
The game can only be played while the clothes are within Bluetooth range – so unless you always carry a full change of clothes with you, you’ll need to be wearing them.
The points you earn can be cashed in for gift cards, signed merchandise, tickets to Tommy Hilfiger runway shows, and other benefits, although it’s unclear exactly how the points-to-prizes conversion will work, exactly.
Wait, what about privacy?
Tommy Hilfiger representatives told Engadget that the chips are encrypted and can be turned off at any time. However, it did not specify how much personal customer data is being collected through the app, or what data is provided back to the company.
The company did not immediately respond to request for comment from Business Insider on this matter.
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