Following up on my article about The Salvation Army’s digital initiatives for the “red kettle” season, the organization partnered with Seattle-based mobile media company Melodeo to launch a Christmas music iPhone application. The application allows users to pay $2.99 to unlimited access to holiday music and all proceeds will benefit the “Red Kettle” campaign.
ASA and LG go political with latest action sports event
ASA Entertainment continues with its streak of high-profile action sports events, partnering with LG Mobile Phones for the LG Action Sports World Championships in Seattle, from October 31 to November 2.
But this year, the sixth year of sponsorship for LG, the event has a political twist. LG partnered with youth voter initiative Declare Yourself, which has been ramping up its own partnerships leading up to the election on November 4.
At the LG Action Sports World Championship, which features action sports and musical performances from The Game, Pennywise, MxPx, and Hoobastank, LG is handing out t-shirts, hats, and skateboard decks with the Declare Yourself message to vote, said Denise Abbott, director of media relations for ASA. Declare Yourself videos will be played throughout the arena, and then posted online, and a text-messaging contest will also take place during the event.
The Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) and the Wal-Mart Foundation’s “Drive Smarter Challenge,” which helps the public reduce gas usage, has expanded into the Hispanic market and partnered with NASCAR, said Rozanne Weissman, director of communications and marketing for ASE.
PRWeek’s Ted McKenna originally covered the campaign in a May 16 article called “Nonprofits team up to help public reduce gas usage.”
“When we raised more money, our first priority was to do outreach to the Hispanic community,” Weissman said. The ASE signed with the Hispanic Communications Network in June and introduced Spanish-language PSAs and a song called “Driving and Saving” (”Manejando y Ahorrando”) song, in mp3 and ringtone versions this month. HCN, who worked pro bono on the campaign, also provided Spanish-language print columns with money-saving gas tips to send to Hispanic media. Consumers can also sign up to receive weekly money-saving tips in Spanish via text message.
NASCAR, the 19th partner in the Drive Smarter Challenge, is working with the campaign by including car care tips on its reality television show NASCAR Angels, featuring PSAs during the NASCAR Performance Live weekly radio show, and offering drivers like Sam Hornish, Jr., who hosts for the campaign.
PR from your cell
Last week, PR Newswire announced a new service offered through an exclusive partnership with Two Peas, a Web/mobile applications provider. Using its Total Information Pages (TIP), PRN is now offering TIP iPhone Press Releases, optimized press releases that are delivered directly to your iPhone.
I wrote an Inside Information story earlier this year that talked about why mobile campaigns are useful, but they’re still very much on the ground floor. PRN recognizes this and wanted to be an early adopter, prepared when mobile marketing, inevitably, takes off. Read more »
Warner uses cell phones to promote Madonna
Warner Music International collaborated with Verizon Wireless and Vodafone to promote Madonna’s album, which drops tomorrow, April 29, in the US. Verizon was behind an underground remix of the first single off of the album, “4 Minutes,” featuring Justin Timberlake and produced by Timbaland. The phone company also created an featuring Madonna, Timberlake, and Timbaland discussing the creation of the remix. The communications teams from Vodafone, Warner, and Verizon targeted international media and used social media to attract fans online.
Starting April 21, Verizon customers in the US and international Vodafone customers could download one track a day for seven days leading up to the release of the album. The exclusive “4 Minutes” remix was also available through the chosen phone companies and then fans could also enter to win tickets to the Material Girl’s opening performance of the tour at the Roseland Ballroom in New York on April 30.
Nokia and Spike Lee in New York
Although it took us a while to get in, several PRWeek staffers stopped by the Nokia Flagship store in New York last night to hear more about the partnership between the mobile phone supplier and renowned director Spike Lee. The presentation was in full swing when we arrived, but all we could do was watch from outside the glass doors, as they were filming Lee’s presentation right in front of the door. We were in good company, however, as Lee’s daughter was also stuck outside.
Once inside, the narrow, three-story Nokia store was packed with people enjoying cocktails and getting their pictures taken for the Nokia Productions Web site. We wandered upstairs to check out the high-end phones (with diamonds! And sapphires!), and watched the videos of Lee playing on the TV screen walls.
So, what exactly is this new partnership between Lee and Nokia? Lee was of no help, as he simply said the partnership was “Good!” when we directly asked him about it later in the evening. Basically, Nokia Productions and Lee plan to create a “social film” that will include clips from the public’s mobile phone-produced content. The public can submit original content in video, text, music, or image form online through Aug. 21, and the public can vote the top 10 in each category. Lee will choose a winner from each of the four categories, and will combine them for a multimedia film to debut in the fall.
Books going digital
reports that in addition to being able to watch videos, take pictures, listen to music, surf the Web, reserve tickets, and enter contests (what CAN’T you do on your mobile anymore??), publishers are now looking to expand the horizon of books into the digital world via the iPhone.
HarperCollins is giving readers access to view excerpts from more than a dozen books, such as Michael C. White’s Soul Catcher and Michael Korda’s Ike, a biography of President Eisenhower.
Reaching consumers on mobile devices and the Internet is increasingly important for publishers,” Brian Murray, president of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide, said in a statement that noted the publisher has some 10,000 titles already digitized.
I don’t know what new feature they’re going to create next for the iPhone. The possibilities seem endless…
Texting goes mainstream
According to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, text messaging is becoming popular among adults, providing many businesses with a mainstream marketing tool.
…growth is expected to continue through 2011, when six out of every 10 wireless users will be texting, according to JupiterResearch.
Although most of that growth is being fueled by the constant back-and-forth chatting of teens, there are plenty of ways adults are getting in on the action.
Consider: American Airlines is testing the idea of letting customers text-message complaints to the airline.
Travelocity and other travel sites alert travelers to flight changes with a text message.
AT&T sponsored the cell phone voting for American Idol, which resulted in 64.5 million text messages sent in 2006.
When the pop singer Fergie recently performed a private concert at the Verizon Wireless store in Southlake, Texas, the company sent tickets to its customers’ cell phones. Verizon customers had to show their phone to get in.
I receive text messages about college alumni events directly from the venue supporting a happy hour or dinner, and lately the venue has been sending me texts about promotional events or new bar openings.
Increased texting among younger generations and a new adult demographic also affects how sales reps at the phone companies pitch their products.
Lea Hilton, a data-solutions manager for Verizon, recently noticed the trend at a store in South Texas, where “winter Texans” descend from the North to temporarily escape the cold during their retirement years.
“The sales reps were at first hesitant to even talk about data features, because these guys were just wanting traditional voice phones,” Hilton said. “Some of the reps realized, ‘I may not want to fight the battle of teaching them how to send a message, but I do want to show them how to receive a message.’ They were teaching the customer how to open up picture messages sent from family members back home in Ohio.”
A shopaholic’s dream come true
WWD reports that clothing and home decorating retailer Urban Outfitters is trying out a system called UO TXT that will allow users to receive alerts and even shop via cell phone. I touched on this topic in a podcast (scroll down to PRWeek Q&As) interview with Richard Laermer, one of the authors of the book Punk Marketing: Get off Your Ass and Join the Revolution.
In response to my question about whether or not this sort of outreach would annoy people, he commented that one company has found success by only sending messages on things people really care about like movies and entertainment.
Certainly, you shouldn’t bombard people either. UO TXT will only be sending messages twice per month, which sort of makes me think that an e-mail twice per month would be just as effective. But, no doubt, our continued and growing reliance on cell phone communication will make text alerts more welcome and more useful as time goes on. The article also talks about one Michigan retailer that sends a text alert just before gas prices increase to give people a chance to catch the lower price. A welcome message indeed.