South African Beer's Fantasy Football Wins Top Mobile Prize

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Want a view into how engaging and effective mobile marketing can be? Hint: think beyond banners and apps on smartphones and take a trip to Africa, Turkey and Ireland where creative is flowing and consumers are interacting. In the developing world, mobile is activation for real ideas that tie into larger campaigns.

I judged global mobile marketing campaigns from around the world for the GSMA, the biggest international conference for all things mobile held this week in Barcelona. Here's some of the best work:

1. Budweiser ties dynamic beer pricing in Ireland to a common smartphone activity: checking the weather.
Budweiser took on a huge challenge selling its brand in the suds-soaked Irish culture using the Bud Ice "Cold Index" campaign. Taking advantage of global warming and the fact that people with smartphones check weather insanely often, they built a dynamic pricing engine tied to a heat index. So the price of beer went down as the temperature went up. Every time someone checked their Bud Ice app in places like Galway, it told them what kind of discount they would get. If the temperature went above 18 degrees centigrade, they could show their phone to the nearest pubkeep, and the pour was on Bud. Game elements. Fundamental mobile functionality. Free stuff. User engagement. Bud iced the competition.

2. PepsiCo uses bottle caps and Burger King backs Monopoly Madness in Turkey.
A Pepsi campaign drove consumers to check bottle caps and can lids for unique SMS codes. The codes were then texted in to redeem prizes like free soccer content and ringback tones, and to build a database for future consumer engagement. This simple effort leveraged other media and had high value to customers. And because it was SMS, it reached the entire mobile population, not just those with smartphones, who tend to be the urban elite.

Also in Turkey, Burger King executed a Monopoly Madness promotion similar to what McDonald's does in the U.S. What Vodafone Turkey made distinct was that the rewards could be activated at the point of sale via mobile and were location-based. Burger King used every possible medium to alert consumers: TV, radio, billboards, digital screens over the counters -- even the burger trays. Consumers entered the old-fashioned way, using scratch cards, or through SMS. They generated a 10% hike in sales vs. the same time last year.

3. Samsung mobilizes Angry Birds.
Engage Mobile and Starcom MediaVest partnered with Angry Birds for the international launch of the Samsung Galaxy S II with a secret level of the game featuring Golden Eggs for consumers to find. They used mobile media -- the free version of Angry Birds generates a ton of ad impressions everywhere, from the U.K. to Indonesia, and served over 14MM rich media ads. They also seeded info to Facebook friends of Angry Birds -- 4 million flocked to the game -- to get the quasi-secret word out about looking for those eggs. The Samsung-branded Angry Birds level generated 1.6 million game plays, with an average of eight minutes play. In a global market overwhelmed with Android phones, this made the product stand out with a positive brand association. A 10% increase in both brand and awareness uplift led to a 4% rise in purchase intent.

4. South African Breweries taps into African passions with phone and football.
Carling Black Label from South African Breweries and mobile agency Brandtone created the ultimate fantasy football experience prior to a soccer match between the Orlando Pirates and the Kaizer Chiefs. Potential beer drinkers were encouraged to "Be the Coach" and create their own fantasy team. Participation was linked to purchase of Carling Black Label, where consumers would find a unique code on pack. They entered via a free USSD (another form of text messaging) to make a team selection. Each code let fans select a player in a preferred position. Each time a user played, they were asked a demographic/behavioral question that helped enrich a permissioned, profiled database. Participants then heard from the coaches of the teams via prerecorded messages. On game day, consumers could have their final say and vote via SMS for a player to be substituted. There were more than 11 million entries through USSD, and this effort won the top prize at the awards.

Kathryn Koegel is a media and marketing consultant and author of several Ad Age Insights trend reports on mobile marketing. She can be reached at [email protected]
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