Smart Medal

This is how we made the medal smart. Very smart.

Smart Medal

The new status quo of the age-old medal.


  • Webdevelopment
  • Social media management
  • Strategy & Creation
  • Digital design


- Concept & strategy
- UX & design
- iOS & Android app
- Marketing website
- Promotion strategy
- Social media activation & webcare

Disrupting the runner’s market by making medals smart

We should be allowed to dream big every now and then. During those times, we start every sentence “can’t we...?” And the best part is: now we know that we can!

Reinventing an age-old tradition, the marathon world record holder as our ambassador and disrupting our own professional field. In collaboration with NN Group, we give runners the most personal memento ever after their race.

Read about how the dumb medal evolved into an ecosystem within the IoT landscape. Wait, what? Now you want to know, don’t you?

By the way, in 2019 the Smart Medal was nominated for the Dutch Interactive Award '19 in the category Disrupter!

How does it work? 👇🏻

All right, in short: We put an NFC chip in our Smart Medal an actual, physical medal. Participants in the Zevenheuvelenloop - where the Smart Medal made its debut - scanned the chip in the medal with the free (iOS & Android) Smart Medal app on their phones. Runners could then tap through their own personal story and look back at their experience of the running event and their own achievement. To generate this story, we used all kinds of data sources including the race data which the BIB registers in your race number, like the weather, personal photography and e.g. audio. Every participant could then edit their own Running Story and (of course!) share it on social media.

Take a look.


It all started at the end of 2017, with a brainstorming lunch. There we were, with the questions: How can we innovate running event sponsorship? Where is the passion? After an hour, we decided that it’s the whole story behind the marathon. Not just the day itself, but all of the preparation and training. Everything you have to do to achieve your goal. To which Ruud, our Head of innovation and experience expert said: ‘That’s true, but all of this is contained in the medal you receive at the finish line. That medal represents it all’.

That brought us almost straight to the solution. We had to make the medal smart. We want to add content to it, so that you always carry your story with you. To make the medal even more valuable, so it doesn’t end up in a drawer somewhere. It’s connected, it’s rich, it’s disruptive. After extensive research on the Internet of Things landscape, NFC proved to be the best solution to this application, as it can be accessed on most smartphones. In 2019 we came to the conclusion that NCF is not the way to go, if we want to scale our product all over the world. The implementation of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) was our solution. This enables us to recognize medals after uploading a picture of the medal. Now we are definitely ready to conquer the world of running!

Get ready for the launch...

As NN Group quickly saw that this concept would take their running sponsorship to the next level, the project was fast-tracked.

It was immediately clear to us and to the NN Group that Eliud Kipchoge of the NN Running Team should be the poster boy for the Smart Medal launch. What we didn’t see coming was that he would then go on to run a world record at the Berlin Marathon. But he did, making the launch historic. This truly was ‘The Ultimate Running Story’.

The Smart Medal is our way of giving runners a personal, digital memento of their tremendous achievement.

— Remco Barbier, Head of Branding NN Group


With the Smart Medal app, we developed an ecosystem in which all medal-awarding sports competitions (and there are quite a few ;)) could add a Running Story to their event. The Smart Medal was first presented at the NN Zevenheuvelenloop on November 18, 2018. The Smart Medal app is in constant development, and we aim to introduce a new feature at every event. Everything to preserve the memory of the ultimate sports achievement, with technology.

Are you an organizer or sponsor of a (running) event and do you want to know more about the options our Smart Medal offers? Contact us or go to for more information!


Head of Innovation

From now on, medals can also be part of the Internet of Things, which is something our agency had long wished for. In the app, we created an ecosystem that lets you store all your medals and relive your achievements whenever you want.

Check it out!