ABP Group, the dominant media house in eastern India, has recently, through a strategic tie-up with Yahoo!, made a foray into the domain of interactive short-code messaging services.
Said Sanjay Prasad, CEO, ABP TV, “Apart from the standard services common to all players, our focus will be on value-added services. For instance, auction of brand new items are being looked at as an important stream in our business model. We will aggressively build this service as a brand and not just an impersonal number.”
The brand name for the service, ‘Hey Ya’, its look and feel, and the launch communication created by Lowe Kolkata all suggest a strong youth skew. Confirmed Prasad, “Our core target group is the 15-35 age-group. Our brief to the agency has been to create advertising that is youthful, vibrant and interactive. After all, SMS being an impulsive usage, our service must always evoke excitement.”
“We want ‘Hey Ya’ to be a youth brand and not an SMS brand,” observed D K Guha, Vice-President, Lowe Kolkata. “We want to project ‘Hey Ya’ more as an attitude and will always seek to talk in the lingo of today’s youth.”
The remuneration structure for the agency is also quite novel. Apart from a fixed monthly retainer, the agency will get a monthly incentive based on the number of SMS messages
that ‘Hey Ya’ is able to attract.
The other two agencies which had pitched for this account were Rediffusion and JWT .
The ABP Group’s entry into the interactive promotional business is an attempt to leverage its huge readership to cash in on the burgeoning mobile phones market and the increasing usage of application SMS for entertainment and information services like mobile games, contests, news updates, cricket scores, ring-tones, astrology and so on.
Said Prasad, “As the ABP Group, through its various publications, commands a reach of 10 million readers, we believe that we are well poised to tap this huge base of consumers to whom the mobile is not just a phone but more a delivery platform. The initial response has been very encouraging.”
“Application SMS is all about interactivity. Thanks to the captive and otherwise expensive media space available with the group, it can really drive this segment. We can thus genuinely maintain interactivity and immediacy, the two things that drive the youth,” explained Guha.