SMS Promotions on Merchandise Advertising

On a recent trip in Milan, McDonalds had a game going on where you registered via SMS. Using SMS to connect with customers is quite common in Europe and Asia, but still in its infancy here in the US. When looking at it though, it sparked the idea that SMS could really change the way merchandise promotions functioned. The simplest example would be the Coke rewards program. How much simpler would it be if they had a short code and all you had to do was send an SMS to their short code with the number on the bottom of the bottle cap. There system would then recognize your phone number, register you if you haven’t yet and track your points. I bet many more people would participate if they didn’t have to keep track of those bottle caps until they were near a computer!
My favorite merchandise promotion is McDonald’s Monopoly game. Since I was a kid I loved collecting the game pieces and hoping that I’d win one of the big prizes. I never did though, but still enjoyed it each year. Now that I have much cooler toys that use the Internet, I’d like to see a virtual version of the game where each game piece could be registered online or via SMS. This way, I wouldn’t have to keep track of the pieces.
The possibilities are endless and the customer connection is intimate. Provided you were exceptional about how you used and protected your customer’s mobile phone number, I think a lot of people would participate. The trick with all of this will be integrity. You need to state your rules right up front (like how many times you’ll contact the person if they give up their number and send a message to you). After that, you have a two way dialogue you’d never have had.

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