UK brands go mobile

01 April 2011

LONDON: Major advertisers such as Coca-Cola, Domino's and Marks & Spencer are adopting a range of innovative mobile marketing tools to reach UK consumers.

Orange Shots, launched in February 2010, utilises the demographic data supplied by opt-in mobile subscribers, allowing clients to send specific customer groups tailored interactive SMS and MMS advertising.

An upgraded version of this platform will soon be introduced by Everything Everywhere - housing Orange and T-Mobile - promising greater options for shoppers and brands.

"We hope to expand the service beyond the youth audience to let advertisers target by behaviour as well," Clare Messenger, Everything Everywhere's head of mobile marketing, told New Media Age.

Thus far, individuals over the age of 24 years old have demonstrated a higher level of engagement than those under 20 years of age.

"This may be because they have more disposable income, so we'll be taking this into account when rolling out the service," Messenger said.

O2 More operates on a similar principle, and offers a location-based element, called You Are Here, attracting companies such as fast-food network Burger King.

The number of individuals registered with O2 More now surpasses 2.5m people, and the telecoms provider is optimistic about future growth in demand.

"Well over half the campaigns we're booking are location based, and this has helped people wake up to the possibilities of SMS," said Shaun Gregory, managing director of O2 Media.

Retailer Marks & Spencer has employed O2 More's location-based features, generating positive results, according to Kamlesh Raichura, head of customer relationship management at M&S.

"As the use of smartphones and technology develops, we'll be able to continue trialling new projects and integrate the SMS programme with the mobile web and other digital campaigns," he said.

Car rental company Streetcar has leveraged the same system, and Alistair Stewart, its digital marketing manager, suggested this channel possesses useful advantages.

"Using location-based mobile messaging has helped us get across one of our core messages: that one of our vehicles is always nearby," he said.

Soft drinks specialist Coca-Cola is pursuing a distinct approach with the Gimme Credit scheme, giving mobile subscribers money off their bills in exchange for entering an on-pack code.

"Coca-Cola wouldn't be interested in just buying a list of names and then sending out a load of messages," said Jude Brooks, Coca-Cola's interactive manager.

"If it's an opted-in list for people who want to receive messages then why not use it? SMS is good as a marketing tool but not necessarily as an advertising tool."

Elsewhere, pizza chain Domino's revealed that a direct model can yield measurable benefits.

"Obviously, it's not a channel for branding," said James Millett, Domino's multimedia manager.

"If we send an SMS to our customer base on a Friday night, it's as effective as any other digital channel when it comes to response rates. It's also a quicker way to get our message out."

Recent figures from trade body the Internet Advertising Bureau and business services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers showed mobile expenditure hit £83m ($134m; €94.2m) last year, up 116% annually.

This included £54.9m allocated to search, £23.7m covering display, £1.6m concerning messaging and £1.1m on pre-roll and post-roll video.

Insights group Informa Telecoms & Media has predicted that mobile messaging will be worth £43.8m in the UK by 2015.

Data sourced from New Media Age; additional content by Warc staff