What India can learn from the Philippines' Mobile Lions Grand Prix

exchange4media decodes what India can learn from the winning campaign – ‘Smart Public Affairs’, which has been created by DDB DM9 JaymeSyfu

e4m by Priyanka Nair
Updated: Jun 19, 2013 10:35 AM
What India can learn from the Philippines' Mobile Lions Grand Prix

The ‘Smart Public Affairs’ campaign, created by DDB DM9 JaymeSyfu for the Philippines-based mobile service provider Smart, walked away with the Grand Prix in Mobile Lions at Cannes Lions 2013.

The award has come as a surprise to many, given that the Philippines is yet to fully understand the sophisticated next generation mobile communication devices and communication technology platforms. On the other hand, the extensive usage of mobile phone communications has helped the Philippines earn the reputation of being the texting capital of the world.

In comparison, as per various media reports, India is considered the world’s second largest mobile phones market in terms of subscribers, with around 861.66 million mobile connections, and growing. While the march of technological advancements has been relentless, yet somewhere down the line is the apprehensiveness of not taking risks in the mobile marketing space.

The ‘Smart Public Affairs’ campaign has some valuable lessons for mobile marketers in India. exchange4media takes a look at the campaign and decodes how the communication strategy can help Indian marketers crack the mobile code...

Be simple, yet strategic
In developed countries, tablets and e-readers have replaced large and heavy textbooks. But for the public school students in the Philippine, even the cheapest model is worth more than what their families earn in an entire month. In fact, the only gadgets most of them own are one to two years old analog mobile phones, used mainly for texting.

The physical impact of carrying heavy books is becoming apparent in children. Kids as young as seven years often lug up to 22 school books on a daily basis, leaving them exhausted even before the first class begins. In several documented cases, kids have been found to be afflicted with scoliosis, a medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved from side to side. DDB DM9 JaymeSyfu, the AoR for Smart, analysed the problem and conceptualised a communication that was simple, yet strategic.

Be thoughtful...
Smart, in its next strategic step, took its mission to ‘make text light and easy’ further and introduced Smart TXTBKS. Over six months, the brand collaborated with textbook authors and publishers to refine official school texts into 160-character text messages. These were then programmed into the inboxes of thousands of inactive surplus SIM cards, which were then repackaged into brand new Smart TXTBKS. Thus, even the oldest analog phones were turned into a new kind of e-reader and old text SIM cards were transformed into a new brand of textbook.

Be impactful...
Smart then launched the product in partnership with schools that needed it most. As a result, with school bags 50 per cent lighter, attendance in schools went up to 95 per cent, while average test performance was 90 per cent during the implementation period. With petitions and pledges from schools and organisations in the education sector, TXTBKS is moving ahead, with plans underway for more subjects, grade levels and kits so that schools can reproduce as many TXTBKS as they need for free, which can be rolled out across the entire Philippines.

Watch the campaign video...

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