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International: More big marketers move to mobile phone ads

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International: More big marketers move to mobile phone ads

The mobile phone appears to be making headway as an advertising delivery system as growing numbers of major marketers launch summer campaigns designed for the “third screen”.

Along with McDonald’s, marketers, including Masterfoods, Timex, Coca-Cola Co, Heineken and Johnson & Johnson, are readying promotions that encompass everything from mobile games to ring-tone giveaways and text-in trivia contests and sweepstakes.

Mobile elements have already become an integral part of the mix for movie marketers, with most film sites now including a “mobile” link. Fans of Batman Begins can fight evil in Gotham, a mobile game, enter a text-messaging sweepstakes or buy ring tones or wallpaper; the Bewitched site offers 12 ring tones, including Samantha’s signature sound.

It has been slower to develop on the package-goods side, but marketers who tested the waters last year are now poised for a bigger plunge. Masterfoods is running a contest with a promotion code on 60 million Starburst packages in which about half the responses have come via text messages.

Nestle ran a “Grab. Gulp. Win!” promotion for Nesquik placed on 40 million bottles of ready-to-drink flavoured milk and milkshakes offering text-in giveaways ranging from a gaming house party to music downloads. Kraft Foods is said to be planning a text-messaging promotion involving a raft of products; currently Kraft’s Oscar Mayer is giving away free ring tones of its ad jingle.

Concerts and games

Coca-Cola was exploring mobile games with developer Jamdat, said Doug Rollins, senior interactive brand manager at the Atlanta marketer, while Heineken is using the short code “green” to allow consumers to text in updates and win giveaways in connection with its sponsorship of the AmsterJam concert scheduled for August 20 at Randall’s Island in New York City.

Fresh off a successful co-promotion with the House of Blues, McDonald’s is launching a Hispanic-targeted music promotion called LoMcXimo, with an on-pack text-messaging code and a reference to text messaging as a response mechanism in supporting TV ads, an executive familiar with the programme said.

Even TV commercial pioneer Timex plans a fall text-messaging campaign touting the “new face of Timex” with a text-messaging vote on preferred watch faces.

Trip to optometrist

Some marketers have gone farther. In an innovative use of text messaging, Johnson & Johnson will target patients awaiting eye examinations in the doctor’s office with a point-of-sale poster asking patients to text in the code “MYEYE.” About 15 minutes later, when the marketer estimates the patient will be in the doctor’s office, it will ping a reminder to the patient’s phone to ask for the J&J lens brand. The marketer declined to comment on the promotion.

“Mobile is no longer a new media – it has been tested and there is a protocol” for developing campaigns, said Nihal Mehta, president and co-founder of ipsh!, a San Francisco based mobile-marketing technology firm.

Where are the agencies?

That’s not to say there aren’t hurdles. An executive with one prominent package-goods firm acknowledged that mobile marketing was becoming more mainstream, but said that brands were having trouble finding the resources to help them in the mobile space. “Brands want to go to the agencies and the agencies should be out there. They’re not, because they don’t see the scale.”



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