April 16, 2007

PAPPU MAKES THE GRADE

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

I just got back from Mobile Monday Mumbai, where an enthusiastic audience of industry players, ad agencies, bankers and even a dentist were keen to explore the uptake of mobile ads. There are some 150 million mobile phone subscribers in India today and the number of cellphone users there is expected to triple within the next four years. Ignore this market base at your own peril!

The big topic of discussion at Mobile Monday was about how the value chain starts with content (yes, content is still king), integrates across media, requires effective campaign management and in the end must resonate with a company’s customers. (Thanks to Gopala Krishnan of mobile2win, Swaminathan of iContract and our own Lai Kok Fung for some excellent presentations.)

I’d like to share with you now three incredibly creative and successful mobile ad campaigns and then take a look at what’s required for a business to effectively use this new medium. All three examples below are being recognized at this week’s Venice Festival of Media (and I owe the festival’s website an acknowledgement for some of the background details cited below).

INDIA - CADBURY – “PAPPU HAS PASSED”
At any one time, nearly 20 million students take public exams in India. The results – anxiously awaited and vital for a pupil’s future – can now be accessed earlier than ever before, thanks to a mobile campaign implemented by Cadbury India, in collaboration with Reliance Infocom and Madison Media.

Instead of waiting for results to be posted on a college notice board or published in a newspaper, exam takers can now log onto a WAP platform, select the name of their exam and enter an identification number to find out their results.

If they’ve passed, they receive a message saying “Jab Pappu pass ho jaya,” which roughly translates to “Pappu has passed!” The mobile message links to a very successful TV ad campaign – which practically every student has seen – featuring a sympathetic 40 year old man named Pappu who finally passes his exams. Incidentally, Pappu also likes to give away Cadbury chocolates to his younger classmates.

More than 30 state exam boards have taken part in the campaign and Reliance says it has received 50 million hits.

KOREA – ADIDAS – COLOR CODES
In the run up to the World Cup, Agency W wanted to increase traffic to the +10 mobile site. (If you followed the Cup, you were bound to have seen one of the +10 TVCs.)

The ad agency built on a Japanese concept – mobile barcodes. When photographed by a phone, these black and white images direct users to a mobile site. In Korea, Agency W decided to up the ante. They created colourful circles placed in a seemingly random arrangement on a black background. These color codes were featured in outdoor ads, in print, on hangers in stores and even as part of the Adidas clothing label itself.

Seventeen thousand items of Color Code clothing were distributed throughout South Korea. The campaign increased traffic to the mobile site by 10 percent or 25,000 users.

UK – TEEN ROAD SAFETY (PSA)
British authorities created a unique public service announcement aimed at teenagers by recruiting members of the target audience – teens – to film a 30” ad on their mobile phones. The spot shows a group of friends hanging out by the side of the road, when one teen walks into traffic without looking first. He’s hit by a vehicle. The ad was distributed online, via mobiles, in cinemas and youth clubs. Within five days, nearly 30 percent of the targeted audience had seen the clip. And ninety percent of viewers said they would be more careful.

I don’t know about you, but I am struck by both the creativity of these campaigns as well as their impact. How can you join the list and like Pappu make the grade? What’s needed to implement a successful mobile marketing campaign? I think there are four pre-requisites:

1. Define Marketing Goals
Just like traditional campaigns, it will be easier to determine what mobile tactics work best—as well as what measurement criteria can be used to evaluate success – once you have clearly defined your goals. Are you trying to

* Increase brand awareness;
* Generate a customer opt-in database
* Drive visits to WAP sites
* Increase downloads or sales

2. Select the Right Marketing Partner – you have three choices:
(a) Interactive Agencies
If you want a full-service provider or don’t want the hassle of developing your own WAP site, this is the way to go. Most traditional ad agencies now have digital divisions. Other providers like Buongiorno and mobile2win can also host and develop your sites too.

(b) SMS Aggregators
These companies will help you obtain the short codes needed for SMS ad campaigns. Providers in Singapore include iPOP and mblogs. mobile2win can also help here.

(c) Mobile Advertising Networks
This is where companies like BuzzCity and services like myGamma come into play, by aggregating traffic from multiple sources and making campaign management easier.

You may choose to go with just one of these marketing providers or all of the above, depending on your needs.

3. Strategize. Determine the Right Marketing Tactics
As Cadbury, Adidas and the British authorities have demonstrated, we’re not just talking banners or SMS campaigns anymore. Options include functions to click and call (these are great for call centres / delivery services like Pizza Hut and McDonald’s), contests, coupons and landing page information. Be creative.

Each of these will deliver a different value and experience to your target consumer. Work with your mobile marketing partner to determine what’s best for you to achieve your specific goals and objectives. When choosing tactics, keep the following in mind:

* Will you need a WAP site?
* Define the promotions flow
* Provide Customer Support
* Campaign Reporting & Analysis

4. Look Beyond Operator Portals
There are only a limited number of telecom operator portals in each market – and users don’t stay on just one portal - so you need to look off-portal to extend the reach of a campaign. myGamma delivers a million ad impressions a day in India alone. It’s difficult to make a precise comparison as operators don’t release their figures, but we estimate our network reaches 30 percent of each operator’s traffic.


OK, so that’s my list. What do you think?


(Note: photo of Indian model holding a mobile phone is from Tribune India.)