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By Nikki Baird, Managing Partner
Mobile Marketer released their top 10 mobile campaigns of the summer. It's an eclectic list, covering countries from the US to Italy to Turkey, and involve everything from simple text messages to apps to downloadable games and shared pictures and video to the use of 2D barcodes.
A short run-through of the campaign:
· General Mills / Wheaties Fuel - an SMS call to action in print and direct mail to launch Wheaties' new cereal, Fuel, evolving into a multi-media campaign. The SMS call to action also has email notification of new events, get health tips (from Men's Health, which is a strong partner), and get "behind the scenes" info on the involvement of the 5 headline athletes. Interesting notes: General Mills will only sell the cereal online at first, starting this month (September). Retail distribution doesn't begin until January. And TV advertising of the cereal will "eventually be added."
· Johnson & Johnson / Tylenol Sleep Tracker - a downloadable iPhone app that tracks how well you slept last night and offers sleep tips. Promoted primarily through mobile banner ads served up on other iPhone apps. Part of a larger campaign around "Getting Ready for Bed."
· CoverGirl / LashBlast Mascara (P&G) - a mobile micro site. Traffic is driven from ads on female oriented WAP sites. Women can sign up for tips delivered via SMS. The site was also promoted to CoverGirl VIP Text Club.
· Jaguar XF Mobile Banner Ad - a mobile ad placed within ESPN's Fantasy Football Draft Kit iPhone app. Clicking on the ad sends the consumer to a landing page, where they can enter their email address to receive a brochure on the new sports car (which also opts them in to future communications from Jaguar).
· Pepsi's MyScreen - Turkcell, Turkey's wireless carrier, tested MyScreen, where consumers can sign up, indicate their interests, and download an app that serves up full screen ads at the end of each call in return for free minutes. Pepsi and Visa both ran ads that enabled "hot keys" where people could click through to a mobile site or click to call a call center for more information. Turkcell was piloting the technology.
· Levi's & JCPenney - the two companies launched a new mobile component to their Tuition campaign. A "click to win" ad was placed within the Today Show iPhone app. Consumers can also enter to win through an SMS campaign.
· The New York Time's iPhone App / Siemens and Visa - interstitial ads that expand when you tilt the phone and change as you interact with them. Visa is partnering with 1-800-Flowers to offer 20% off flowers as part of their ad.
· Hugo Boss / Element Fragrance (P&G) - Italy - a mobile site, which received traffic from search and banner ads (mobile) on portal sites. Consumers could sign up to receive free samples.
· McDonald's McCafe Mocha mobile campaign - ads targeted to New York City Hispanics, offering for a limited time a free McCafe coffee drink. Mobile banner ads click through to a mobile site landing page where consumers can sign up for free SMS alerts related to the free drink offer and/or 2 local events.
· Pepsi's 2D Barcodes - for Pepsi Max - Quick Read (QR) codes on Pepsi cans in the UK, offering free download content, including pictures and phone wallpaper of a British model, with invites to share with friends. Content also included interviews, video, mobile games, and free concert tickets. The company reported that they had to do a lot of education of consumers on using the QR codes and phone cameras, and downloading an app to enable the QR's was also required.
What can retailers learn from these campaigns? Here are my initial impressions:
· They run the gamut from primarily SMS-based to full-on iPhone (or Blackberry) apps. But while this list represents an impressive variety in terms of moving beyond simple SMS campaigns and into an "immersive" mobile experience, few of the campaigns really took advantage of the mobile capabilities out there - only McDonalds did anything with geo-location information, and only The New York Times took advantage of more than just the wireless connection in leveraging what an iPhone can do, by playing with the tilt function. The take-away: the technology innovations of mobile are still ahead of what marketers are using regularly. There is still a lot of room for innovation here.
· Only one campaign actually kicked off or launched a bigger campaign. The rest of the list consisted either of one-off campaigns or bolt-ons to larger campaigns. And none of these campaigns yielded results at a level where a company could rely on a mobile campaign alone to drive measurable results (i.e., sales lift). However, the use and adoption and engagement numbers that some of these companies reported were pretty significant - not just in terms of initial engagement, but all the way through to the end of the call to action. The take-away: Mobile is still only a small part of an overall marketing strategy, and while its position in the campaign can vary, it vary rarely will play an exclusive role in a marketing campaign - it's part of a multi-media, mulit-channel approach to reaching consumers.
· The campaigns ran the gamut in calls to action, spanning everything from "sign up for more information," to "get stuff free," to "save money," to "win stuff." They also offered a wildly variable level of engagement, from Jaguar's banner ad and Turkcell's ad after the call, to Pepsi's games and downloadable content. The take-away: on the one hand, it demonstrates the flexibility out there that mobile can provide. You can be as simple as buying ad space, or as complex as building whole worlds, complete with custom content. In this way, mobile is not just another channel for reaching consumers. It is an entire other world in your pocket, and can potentially be an immersive experience all on its own. The down side - the "other hand" in this take-away - is that there is nothing simple about adding mobile to marketing campaigns. There's nothing simple about identifying and leveraging cross-media and cross-channel engagement points, let alone driving success in the mobile channel alone.
Will every campaign one day be as complex as Wheaties' or Pepsi's? No. Not every brand is looking for that level of engagement. However, could Jaguar have done so much more with their campaign? A free racing game where you can "test drive" their new car, for example? Sure, they could have done much more. But that, to me, sums up mobile marketing today. There are examples and opportunities out there, but there is still the potential to do so much more.
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