New wave ads through mobile


These are difficult times for advertisers. With people switching TV channels each time an ad comes on, advertisers are finding it hard to grab consumer attention. The mobile phone, they now reckon, could be where redemption lies.

Unlike magazines, PC’s or television, a phone has become a part of the user. With mobile phones, people can’t help but read messages.

The company ran a campaign for coke in Delhi a few months ago. Each time a consumer was in the vicinity of a Coke outlet, they received an SMS that contained a discount coupon on buying a bottle of Coke. The offer stood valid only if the option was exercised within a time frame. Apparently, it worked very well.

Then there are concepts like in game placements beings tested by brands like Kellogg’s. They created a game aimed at children and liberally sprinkled the interface with company logos and packets of cereals throughout. Castrol attempted something similar with a car racing game that is sponsored. These are similar to movie placement campaigns that advertisers have been milking for a long time.

Another model being toyed around with is pull-based instead of the more traditional push. Telecom Company Hutch tied up with nearly 400 retail outlets like restaurants, cinemas and airlines to line up special offers. These would be offered only to consumers who sent Hutch a text message. Hutch on its part allowed them to download discount coupons that could be redeemed at various retail outlets.

There is a downside to the medium though. People don’t take well to random spamming. There has to be some value exchange with consumers. If your campaign does not offer value, you might as well talk to yourself.

But that fear has done little to keep companies away from exploring the medium. A technology driven director of a marketing agency said his customers have already started setting aside ad budgets for the platform currently in the region of 3% of their total budget. He expects it will go up to 10% next year.

But the truth is mobile marketing has not grabbed the attention of large advertising agencies in the country yet. The main reason is that we don’t have the backend in place. Direct marketing works best when it is targeted to a particular type of consumer. Shaving cream advertisements to women cannot be sent and expect to get results through this medium. Until that ecosystem for targeted campaigns is evolved mobile campaigns will only appear as one-off tests