Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mobile Marketing Gets Fired On The Apprentice

How is a text messaging campaign like the razor business?

The task on last night's The Apprentice, was to get as many people to text a keyword to a specific shortcode. Gillette is introducing a new 5 blade razor called Fusion, and Donald Trump wanted to see what kind of mobile marketing campaign could be created using text messaging (SMS).

I don't know if Mark Burnett or the mobile marketing company that was used realized the analogy here before hand, if so, kudos. I doubt it based on what they did with this opportunity.

A mobile marketing campaign is very similar to the razor/blade business model. You give away the razor and make money on the recurring blade sales. With a text messaging campaign, you must give the consumer something in order to get a him/her to initiate connection with a text message. The initiation of the text is called the "pull" part of mobile marketing.

By sending the initial text to Gillette, you have given them permission to "push" text ads promoting their products on a recurring basis (or when applicable). First you must get permission to do this.

Gillette gives away a free Fusion razor, but gains the ability to send targeted mobile ads to consumers after they have granted permission. The value of a qualified mobile lead and the ability to promote future products is worth far more than the cost of one Fusion razor.

I don't know if the blame lies on Trump or the contestants on why these mobile marketing campaigns failed. I'll give the contestants the benefit though, because I don't think they know the "rules" for a text message campaign. Gillette should have told Donald what they are though.

It was obvious there was no focus on the brand or getting the word out about Fusion. It was simply to try and get as many texts as possible. The problem with this is that Gillette couldn’t use these "leads" because one team didn't even tell people why they were sending a text!

The big disappointment came with the actual show and what HipCricket didn’t do.

Mark Burnett is a creative and talented guy. He was looking for a mobile marketing company that shares this type of creativity. He wants innovative thinking for the next way to promote his shows and advertisers on the show. Did he get it?

In the previous hour people had the chance to text to win a briefcase with $10k on the Deal Or No Deal show. What a perfect set up for ANOTHER text messaging campaign. Not only do you have the attention of millions of viewers Monday night, but they rerun the same show a few times during the next week on CNBC. Think of those eyeballs you have.

Gillette had the opportunity to reach millions of potential consumers last night, and after the first 5 minutes you never heard the word Fusion or Gillette. If the contestants couldn’t figure out how to promote the brand via mobile marketing campaign, then HipCricket should have.

Not only did they NOT promote a shortcode during this show, I had to pause my DVR to see what the number was. When I did text, I got a text back saying “Mobilise ur marketing +continuity programs with HipCricket”.

What? You’re promoting your mobile marketing service to an Apprentice viewer?

You had millions of eyes available for a creative text messaging campaign involving Gillette and you dropped the ball. There was NO interactivity with the viewer.

How much creativity does it take HipCricket to create a mobile marketing campaign that allows viewers to send a text to the shortcode giving them the ability to win a free Fusion. Run a little banner at the bottom “Text the word FUSION to 36617” to win a free Fusion.

After that banner, I would have had Donald or Mark Burnett in the next segment cut in an explain in a very brief way how to send a text message on a cell phone. Why? Make it so easy for people to send a text the next time. You will also be leaving your shortcode on the phone for the next campaign. It will also be your platform for future advertising campaigns.

Gillette has a family of products (shaving cream, after shave, blades etc) geared around the Fusion razor. They have spent a lot of money creating the razor and I’m sure they wanted some creativity in promoting it too.

Would Gillette have given away 100k free Fusion razors to get a few hundred thousand or million plus, qualified mobile leads? Did HipCricket ask if they could do something like this?

What I am trying to find out is what role did HipCricket play in promoting anything involving the mobile or Fusion last night? What value, if any did they add to the show via mobile marketing?

The point I am trying to make is that just because you have your own shortcode, doesn’t mean you qualify as a mobile marketing company. A good mobile marketing campaign involves creativity and brand awareness. I saw neither last night.

If I was The Donald I would have brought HipCricket into the boardroom and said “You’re Fired!”.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

tHIS WAS "but" UGLY.

usshortcodeswhois.com said...

I missed the show, well, actually I have never seen the show, nor want to. Reality TV is just not for me.
I am glad to see your post about it though. Wow, they did a really, really, bad job. Obviously, all hipcricket did was pay their aggregrator for the non-premium messages. And they got free publicity - although unimpressive publicity
I think major part of the problem is that a one day text messaging initiative makes no sense, although you are right that piggy-backing on the previous show should have helped in this situation.
But really, this is Reality TV, this is not reality. So, get real!

Anonymous said...

Ryan Seacrest on American Idol does a better job of getting viewers to text in their votes.
Perhaps Ryan Seacrest should start
his own mobile marketing company.
There wasn't marketing last night.

Scott Shaffer said...

Gillette and Mark Burnett should be asked the question....

"Were you happy with the mobile marketing campaign that you were presented with last night?"

Anonymous said...

This was a contest between the contestants; not ever meant to be a professionally run campaign by a mobile marketing company! That's the point of the show, if you've ever watched it. Not to see how the contesstants implement a professionally designed task to see how they can exectute.
As the previous poster commented,
"get real". You're off base on this one PP.

Scott Shaffer said...

OK..so what value did HipCricket provide to the show besides a shortcode?

You mean to tell me HipCricket couldn't have implemented a text campaign during this show IN ADDITION to the contestant's ideas?

If you look at previous shows, The Apprentice uses the contestant's ideas for brand promotion AND they tell viewers to go to the corresponding website to participate in the promotion.

The show doesn't rely solely on the contestant's ideas for a marketing campaign, and they shouldn't.

"This is going to be a very cool show," said Wes Bray, President & COO of HipCricket.

Do you agree? Did you tell your friends about it?

Did you send a text message last night?


If I just got Mark Burnett as a client I wouldn't rely on Trump's contestants to show Gillette how creative a mobile marketing campaign should be.

If you spent millions to have your product placed on The Apprentice, wouldn't you utilize ALL ways to promote the brand?

Anonymous said...

Pondering Primate is taking a cheap shot by his evaluation of Hip Cricket.

They had no involvement in developing mobile strategy for the campaign. And that is the point of the show. Give the players a tool and see what they do with it. If Hip Cricket had orchestrated the mobile marketing, then what is the challenge to the contestants.

PP is way off base on this one, and should be fired!

Anonymous said...

Pondering Primate is taking a cheap shot by his evaluation of Hip Cricket.

They had no involvement in developing mobile strategy for the campaign. And that is the point of the show. Give the players a tool and see what they do with it. If Hip Cricket had orchestrated the mobile marketing, then what is the challenge to the contestants.

PP is way off base on this one, and should be fired!

Dean Collins said...

Scott, you're right on the money again.

As a mobile marketing professional it frustrates me seeing how far behind the USA is.

Your evaluation about STOP - WRONG WAY - GO BACK is good advice to anyone looking to get real traction in this space.

I hope someone forwards this to The Apprentice team and they call you 'into the boardroom' for some advice.

Cheers,
Dean

Scott Shaffer said...

There are two things you need to know.

The Apprentice contestants did their campaign months ago.

Including a text messaging campaign last night would not have influenced the results, or detracted from the show at all. It COULD HAVE done a great job of promoting FUSION and mobile marketing though.

IN ADDITION to the contestant's ideas, a mobile marketing company could have INCLUDED a professional, permission grantable text campaign on the show AT THE SAME TIME.

The Apprentice show is all about advertising and product placement.

I doubt the show's producers would have turned down the idea of including a text message campaign where viewers could win a free Fusion razor.

I could just hear Gillette execs saying "no we have enough advertising on this show already, we don't want any more".

If I am wrong and HipCricket did suggest these ideas to the show, I will apologize. If they didn't try to include an SMS campaign, I won't.

The Apprentice producer should be fired then.

Anonymous said...

Even The Donald gets all of the facts before saying "you"re fired".
You usually do too, PP.

Scott Shaffer said...

The only thing that is being questioned, is if the mobile marketing company had the ability/initiative to provide more than the shortcode for this task.

If I was a small mobile marketing company trying to compete with the big guys and wanted to get the attention of the brands and Mark Burnett, I would have suggested a creative, viral text campaign that would have worked in addition to the task.

Anonymous said...

"What I am trying to find out is what role did HipCricket play in promoting anything involving the mobile or Fusion last night? What value, if any did they add to the show via mobile marketing?"

Wouldn't it have been prudent to find that information out before lambasting HipCricket?

Scott Shaffer said...

From the press release dated March 6, 2006..BEFORE the show aired.

"This is going to be a very cool show," said Wes Bray, President & COO of HipCricket.

That's my beef.

A company with an emerging technology application that I discuss daily(and have provided numerous ideas for), saying that, knowing full well what the show included.

I have a different version of "cool".

Anonymous said...

I like the way you're raising hell today! It's a disapppointment to me when I see zero comments associated with your many fine posts. Just like on the show in question, who was responsible for such a boring, lackluster plan? Lackluster creativity? Lackluster coordination? Maybe everybody in this case including Gillette.and its agency.

Anonymous said...

This is the faulty assumption (from your blog comment): "I would have suggested a creative, viral text campaign that would have worked in addition to the task."

Assuming that they didn't; and haven't found out first what actually transpired.

Anonymous said...

If Gillette does not want to run the campaign as pitched, HipCricket cannot do anything about it.

The campaign was pitched by HipCricket to both Gillette AND their ad agency (who loved it, from what I understand).

However, Gillette was not interesteed in doing the promotion.

Anonymous said...

Previous poster: How do you know that to be the case??? Are you an insider? Pretty sure you can't/won't say...

OTAir.com said...

I was pleased to see text message marketing get some attention on The Apprentice. However, as a die-hard fan of the show who has seen every episode, now in the fifth season, and as the co-founder of a mobile marketing and media company, I must say that last night's show was a HUGE disappointment. I'm with you 100%, Scott.

The show focused way too much on the conflict within the teams rather than the task at hand. Unfortunately, the series has been slowly drifting in that direction. If last night's show was two seasons ago, you would've seen some team interactions, but you would have also seen them meet with the Gillette execs to find out what they wanted conveyed, you would have seen them discuss how to setup and make text messaging campaigns work, you would have seen then actually plan and execute their text message campaign, and you would have received a better indication of results. That was when the show was hot, and ratings were up there. If it keeps at this pace, Trump will soon follow Stewart out the door. Heck, last night's show went to boardroom only 30 mins into the show!

Even though this was taped, Gillette should have made sure that the short code campaign was kept alive through and beyond last night's airing. Viewers should have been able to text message either of the two keywords and receive a free sample of the Fusion or a good discount coupon.

Scott Shaffer said...

This poster said..

"The campaign was pitched by HipCricket to both Gillette AND their ad agency (who loved it, from what I understand).

However, Gillette was not interested in doing the promotion"

I find this VERY hard to believe. So Gillette paying for this show, and knowing what the task involved, elected NOT to use a text campaign that was presented from this mobile marketing company?

Have you seen how much print advertising Gillette does for this product?

This mobile marketing company could have said "place a shortcode and the keyword Fusion" on your ads to start a MM campaign.

The only way I will believe that Gillette turned down any text messaging ideas is if/when the MM company says so.

Scott Shaffer said...

otair you make a great point about where the show has gone.

Apprentice contestants used to interview the brand/company executives before they attempted their task.

This allowed the brand to get even more exposure and contestants would have a better idea of what the brand was trying to accomplish.

In my opinion, this would have been a crucial part of this task. Mobile marketing isn't the same as print or Internet advertising.

Yahoo, Lamborghini, Sam's Club, Tide, Zathura, Papa Johns are a few that come to mind.

To include a "send a text to ##### with keyword for a free Fusion or shaving cream sample" would have been a no-brainer of a pitch AND catch.

Anonymous said...

PP "The only way I will believe that Gillette turned down any text messaging ideas is if/when the MM company says so. "

You can send HipCricket an email (to COO) and they will tell you that, too.

Scott Shaffer said...

I have a couple emails out awaiting answers to these questions.

I will post all info I receive when possible.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen HIP CRICKET's WEBSITE? It should have been a sure sign to anyone that this company is clueless and has ZERO creativity or ideas. Technology is only as valuable as the people behind it to make it work! Unreal. Why would a show like THE APPRENTICE use such a lame ass company??