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James Parton Director Twilio

How can brands quickly deploy mobile marketing campaigns to take advantage of a short-term tactical opportunity, such as a flash sale?

James Parton, director of Europe at Twilio, uses three case studies to explain how to create magical user experiences with phone calls and text messages.

Brands are constantly seeking new and innovative ways of engaging potential customers. Advertising and, more recently, mobile apps have been the main tools of choice to this point in time. There are, however, an increasing number of agencies who have taken a step back, and sought to reduce complexity and remove barriers to participation.

When a seamless user experience and spontaneity is vital to engagement, forcing the user to download an app to participate is not the right answer. They may not have the time or the connectivity to download, install, and navigate your app which has taken months of development and cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Long-established technologies like phone calls or text messages can often be overlooked. However, an increasing number of agencies are using these ubiquitous mediums to open up universal engagement opportunities for their clients - mobile phone penetration in the UK has now reached 82 million, or 130% of the population, and virtually every one of those users is able to make and receive phone calls and text messages. 

Let it snow

When EE became lead sponsor of Make Hackney Sparkle – a programme of free Christmas entertainment in the borough - they approached Poke to create something that surprised and delighted residents and passers-by alike. Poke decided to forego the traditional seasonal decorations and instead focus on answering the question that Londoners ask each Christmas: “Will it snow?”

To make it all happen Poke first had to build some electronics to trigger the snow cannons. Creating Christmas magic is never easy (just ask Santa) but Poke used a hefty combination of Django, Twilio API, Foursquare API, Arduino, an EE 4G connection and five snow cannons situated on the roofs of Rivington street buildings. Those curious enough to engage with the campaign were rewarded with a lovely blast of ‘Let it Snow’ by Dean Martin, followed by a big surprise… their very own snow blizzard. All triggered by a simple phone call - accessible to all.

 

The campaign reached 199,500 people on Facebook and 118,964 people on twitter. Over 10,000 people watched the accompanying video on Vimeo.

Local environment

Hello Lamp Post was an experimental, city-wide platform for play, and ran in Bristol between July and August last year. Hello Lamp Post and the Playable City idea were an opportunity to rediscover your local environment, share your memories of the city and uncover the stories that other people leave behind. Hello Lamp Post encouraged you to look at the city with fresh eyes and engage with systems we take for granted. It was a chance to slow down, reflect and give yourself permission to play.

During the project more than 25,000 text messages were sent, ‘waking up’ 1,100 objects across Bristol. Lamp posts were the most popular category of object people “chatted” with, followed by post boxes, bus stops and parking meters.

Hello Lamp Post has been shortlisted in the Designs of the Year Awards and will be viewable at the Design Museum until August 25th 2014. 

0800 numbers

New research – conducted by YouGov – has found that mobile users are in the dark when it comes to the cost of making calls to 0800 numbers from their mobile phone, which are responsible for costing UK mobile consumers £600 million a year. UK mobile operator Three has now launched new plans that give new customers free access to 0800 numbers.

To help launch the new plans and encourage Three customers to call 0800 numbers,  Wieden+Kennedy created a selection of fun 0800 services for people to call and enjoy, including a Singing Dictionary line, a compliments line, a sympathy line, a nicknaming service and a 24-hour lullaby line. The campaign communicates the idea that 0800 numbers used to be expensive and boring, but Three has made them free and fun. The numbers were also whitelisted, meaning callers from any other mobile network could also enjoy them free of charge for a limited time.

These are just three examples of how innovative agencies are creating magical user experiences and increasing engagement by re-inventing well-loved and universal communication technologies. I can’t wait to see what you will build.