This is a great story but the title is misleading. Spam is something that is unsolicited(without permission). In every campaign that is mentioned in the article, the user GIVES THE BRAND PERMISSION to market to him. Calling this spam is inaccurate.
Another thing to consider. These examples show more games/prizes like interaction. When people get used to using the phone as a browser, the barcode or shortcode will deliver information about the product as well.
From RedHerring.com Is Cell Phone Spam A Reality?
It's a lengthy read and I highlighted the sentences of interest to me.
Brand-name companies have caught on to the interactive power of mobile phone marketing
Starting this month, Coke drinkers in Germany can use their cell phones to text message codes found under the caps of 800 million bottles created for the campaign this year. In return, Coca-Cola, with the help of mobile marketing company 12snap, will reply with a java-based cell phone game branded heavily with Coke’s logo.
Eventually, the distinctions between the fixed Internet and mobile models will blur. Any kind of ad you encounter on the Internet will be available over mobile.”
-Farid Yunus, Yankee Group
In Western Europe, London-based Flytxt recently offered what the company calls “the first video advertising campaign on the mobile portal.” Over the carrier 3’s service, subscribers can download a 30-second movie trailer clip to preview the film
Unlike Japan, South Korea, and Western Europe, most countries do not maintain the third-generation (3G) cellular infrastructure to carry the rich-media mobile marketing services But because of the low cost of simple text message campaigns—which can cost less than $0.01 per message—combined with the massive population size of emerging markets like China and India, big-name brands have started to look toward developing markets. (This is why searching using SMS imo will be big)
Enpocket, a New York City-based mobile content company with clients like Nike, Levi’s, and Intel, says that its biggest growth markets are India, China, Brazil, and Russia, along with the United States
12Snap will likely open an office in China sometime this year
According to Empower Interactive, a London-based company that provides data services to operators, 84 percent of European wireless users are open to the prospect of receiving SMS-promotions on their cell phones