Parallel Worlds: Mobile Advertising in Asia Gets Personal

Manolo Almagro, Weekly Columnist

Since January 2010, I’ve been working with Out There Media, a leading mobile ad agency that is taking Asia by storm.  This trailblazing company brings with it some innovative, proven strategies where ads not only build awareness -but also create long-term engagements between customers and brands. This mode of dialogue driven advertising allows it, over time, to build more insightful, detailed customer behavior profiles that go well beyond age, sex, salary and geographic location.

M-advertising isn’t new in Asia. In fact mobile campaigns were pioneered in this region long before teenage girls in the US ever knew what texting was. Interesting enough, today’s regional brand marketing still uses mobile advertising like any other traditional media; either as a one-way message blasted out to subscribers (opted in or not) or as a back-channel for customers to “get more info” by sending a text to an SMS short code.

OTM’s new strategy consists of a social reward combined with an engagement variable. What’s that mean? Well, in emerging economies, post-paid mobile phone plans are not the norm. In this parallel world, the prepaid mobile SIMs are what the majority of the population uses. Simply put – Once a consumer opts-in to allow for mobile ads to be sent to their phone, they are rewarded for their participation via free calls/sms/mms credits. These mobile campaigns use clever ways to incite participation while simultaneously extracting personal brand preferences and other personal details from the opt’ed-in subscriber.

Out There Media will be officially launching its platform in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and, of course, my current location – Manila in Aug-Sept., 2010.

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