Sunday, August 17, 2008

everyone's talking about it, but few are doing it properly

It was a week filled with mobile mania. There's a discernible pick up in the amount of discussion and deliberation around using mobile media as a new channel to market. After all there are more people in SA with mobile phones in their hands than there are PC’s, television sets and taxi’s combined. Admittedly I'm a bit of a mobile believer myself. Well its hard to ignore the sheer scale of the channel to market. We've just had great results from a recent MixIt campaign for our cellphone banking division and we've started testing Eyeballs Media a new mobile advertising channel. The app allows companies to advertise directly to customers through their mobile handsets. It's a very visual application and strictly opt-in for the customer, providing them the freedom of choice to consume advertising or not. It does have one particular drawback for me, and that is you have to have a symbian operating system on your phone to be able to download the app. If you're like me and have a Blackberry, then you're excluded. I'm assured by the Eyeballs team that discussions are underway with Blackberry to get around this. Despite this, I believe its worth giving it a crack as we will be able to directly measure its success or dare I say failure to deliver.
I also sat through a mobile marketing conference where the virtues of mobile were expounded. We were bombarded by lots of facts and figures. My experience at Cannes has spoilt me. The depth of knowledge and innovative delivery of mobile at the Cannes Advertising festival was of a far more superior quality than SA practitioners were able to deliver. However, there's no doubt the likes of of Joanne Scholtz from Group M, Gustav Praekel, Praekelt Consulting and Ian James from Ericcson had a lot of local insight to share. I have to say though my great disappointment was the presentation by Vodacom’s mobile head Rick Joubert. He hardsold his medium without shame, nor any creative use of mobile itself. Death by PowerPoint is hardly becoming from the country’s leading innovator in the mobile space.
At the end of day, I was assured my belief in the fourth screen is well founded and I also learned a cute new line from Paul Berney managing director of EMEA for the Mobile Marketing Association who said: “Mobile is like teenage sex, everyone is talking about it, but few are doing it properly.”

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