Marketers are interested in reaching customers via mobile phone ads, but the medium has yet to catch fire because it's not clear how to serve such advertising to users in a position to act on it. Retailer North Face is trying a novel experiment -- using virtual perimeters created by ad company Placecast to transmit special offers and premiums to customers within a certain distance from an outlet. Customers who opt in to the service will receive updates when they are within the perimeter of one of a reported 1,000 geo-fences in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and New York.

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