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Kim Dushinski

So does mobile marketing keep you up at night? Either figuring it out or being excited by the opportunities? Me too.

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Super Bowl XLVI had MOBILE commercials!


For four years in a row I have watched the Super Bowl commercials with a specific plan of action – to critique the ads that have a mobile call to action. I have sat ready to participate with my mobile phone by my side and for the past three years have been sorely disappointed. Pointing out the mobile misses has been the primary focus of my last three years’ past Super Bowl columns. (See links to all previous years’ critiques at the end of this article.)

Finally, this year I am able to actually discuss three different mobile direct response calls to action that I saw during the game. I feel a bit giddy that this is even possible. I was beginning to despair that no one would ever put a smart mobile marketing direct response call to action in a Super Bowl commercial.

This year there were three ways viewers could use their mobile devices to respond to a variety of ads: via mobile app, text message and QR code. Let’s dive in…

Mobile App Interaction with Ads

First up is the Shazam-Enabled line up of ads. Shazam, a mobile app that allows users to tag music (turn on the Shazam app and hit the tag button on their device while a song is playing) and discover more about the song, the artist and more has expanded their service to include TV. They are calling it Shazam for TV (TM) and it is a brilliant concept.

By placing a tiny Shazam logo on screen during a show or ad spot, users of the app will know it is Shazam-enable and tag it with their app. This will give the viewer additional interaction, information and contact with the show or ad.

Shazam had several companies that were participating in these mobile-responsive ads during the Super Bowl. For a variety of reasons (not knowing which ads were taggable, wanting to spend time with my friends and family who were at our house for the SuperBowl party and new ads coming on every 30 seconds) I was only able to participate in one of the interactive ads. Fortunately, the campaign overall was done brilliantly.

First, the commercial…
Camry Effect: “Connections”

Notice that the Shazam call to action was only on screen for only 4 seconds. This is not long enough. A person reaching for their beverage or grabbing another chicken wing could so easily miss this. I would highly suggest that advertisers keep the call to action on screen for the entire commercial.

That said, once I did tag this ad with Shazam I was in for a wonderful mobile-friendly experience. Notice that the landing page within the app is perfectly designed for mobile and has great stuff. Right up top is my chance to win the Camry. Then I have the link to create my story, which ties in with the commercial itself – real people’s stories with their Camrys. I love the option to see the 2012 Camry and especially the call to action to receive updates.

This is exactly the kind of direct response an advertiser wants – names and addresses of people who saw the ad and are IN THE MARKET for this car. Brilliant marketing.

I really wish I had known which ads were Shazam taggable and I would have tagged more. Just this morning I found the list of taggable ads inside the first tag I made of the game itself. Could have used that yesterday – or more Shazam logos in the ads.

The good news is that Shazam reported a record breaking response to the ads and I am thrilled for them, for mobile marketing as a whole and for smart marketers who are seeking ways to get direct response from these highly over priced commercials.

Text Message Opt In Campaign during Super Bowl

I am also thrilled to share the first text message opt in campaign I have seen in four years of waiting for one. The NFL has done mobile interaction in the past, but this year they really stepped it up.

Check out their ad…
NFL Perfect Challenge

You’ll have to click through and watch it. I cannot find it as embeddable anywhere. But don’t do it now or you might forget to come back. I put the link at the bottom of the page. For now, just check out these pictures of the text message call to action.

The NFL had the call to action showing in almost the entire commercial in the upper right hand corner and then gave it a nice voice over announcement. Super smart. This gave me time to notice there was a text opt in, grab my phone and send the opt in text while the commercial was still on.

Then, they very smartly repeated the call to action several times during the game in transition screens. Granted, this is a luxury most advertisers will not get – repetition. All the more reason to get it right the first time.

It did take 17 minutes for me to get my reply message and I am assuming it is because there was a terrific response.

The message I got was OK. Nothing wonderful.

Although it was clear and to the point. The action they wanted me to take was tap on that link. I did.

Thankfully the page I was sent to via the text message was mobile friendly and captured my information to be notified when the new fantasy football game is launched.

Oh, I really want to know how many people are on that notification list. Wish I could find a press release about how well this campaign went, but I am not finding it. Probably everyone at the NFL is taking a well deserved nap today.

Am also a bit curious if I am only on an email list or if they will also text me. That is a bit unclear as the opt-in communication (i.e. the fine print) was entirely unreadable on screen. My best guess is that it was only about building an email list since there was no mention of how many messages I would receive per month and not STOP messaging in that text message.

So, my hats off to the NFL for smartly promoting their new Fantasy football game and using mobile to build their list.

QR Code Attempt

This last one causes me pain to mention because like the people who are only famous for being famous (folks who are married for 72 days as an example) this company will do anything for attention and I refuse to give it to them. So their name will not be mentioned by me and no link to their site will be forthcoming.

Likewise I am not going to embed their smarmy ad here on my site. But here is the screen capture.

Notice the tiny QR code on the lower left hand corner. Despite worries about what sort of nonsense might be put onto my phone from this company I quickly fired up my ScanLife app the second I saw the bar code and dashed toward the TV to get a scan. (Incidentally, my friends who were over for the game thought I was crazily trying to take a picture of the scantily clad women on screen by that point. Um, no.)

It simply didn’t work. And I have to say that usually whenever I get the ScanLife app anywhere near a functioning bar code, it works like a charm.

Just now when I was grabbing the screen capture for this post, I tried again and even in the calm environment of a frozen screen capture and unlimited time I could not make it work. Were you able to scan the code? If so, please let us all know in the comments what happened. Keep it PG rated please.

So, although they tried to get a mobile interactive response going with this code, which I applaud, they did not implement it successfully. Something I see quite often when it comes to QR codes. Quite possibly, a TV commercial is just not the right spot for a QR code.

Bottom Line: Successes and Failures

Thirty seconds goes by very fast and to compel a viewer to take action via mobile that fast you really need to do two things PERFECTLY – give them a compelling reason to do so and make it easy.

In this regard the QR code attempt failed completely. There was no reason given for scanning the code and it didn’t work once I tried. Sadly, they might as well not have tried this at all. Many in the Twitter stream (#sbads) seemed to think the same thing:

The Shazam taggable ads that did not include the Shazam logo failed as well because the vast majority of viewers had no idea there was even an action to be taken much less a compelling reason to do anything. You have to tell people what to do or they can’t do it. My best guess is that Shazam tried to get all their advertisers to understand this concept in advance of Super Bowl Sunday and were ignored or it was too late to get the logo in the ad. I am also guessing that it won’t take long for the smart marketers using Shazam to make their ads mobile interactive to figure it out.

The Camry ad mentioned above was a success. Winning a Camry is a pretty good reason to push a button on an app. It was easy to do (I didn’t have to leave my seat to do it) and it worked perfectly. The only thing this ad needed was the logo and the “Win a Camry” message on screen for longer. I also think that Shazam as a company could do a TON more pre-game marketing to get more people to download the app and be ready for all the fun mobile-interactive excitement.

The clear winner of Super Bowl XLVI Mobile Commercials was the NFL Fantasy Football campaign. Not only does text messaging work easily on virtually all mobile phones, but the ad gave a great reason to do it. The chance to win a million dollars is absolutely compelling. And the fact that the NFL repeated the call to action in additional mentions was perfect.

Three cheers for the NFL!

See my other Super Bowl columns here:

2009 Super Bowl Mobile Commercials
2010 Super Bowl Mobile Commercials
2011 Super Bowl Mobile Commercials
NFL Ad: The Perfect Challenge

Cute QR Code at Jamba Juice


Mobile Marketing in the Wild:

After school yesterday, my daughter and I went to Jamba Juice. I spotted a really cute QR Code on the wall. The giant strawberry with a QR Code embedded in it was calling out to me to scan it.

If you know me at all you know I am not a big fan of scannable codes. In fact, I have had my new Samsung Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch since November and have yet to even install a code reader app on it. The one on my Palm Pre was so painfully slow I never used it and when I did I wanted to bang my head against the wall.

I decided it was time to get one and start trying out some codes in the wild. After all, I do sign up for every text message campaign I see and, as you know, I learn a lot from these adventures in consuming mobile marketing.

Back at Jamba Juice, I snapped a couple photos of the poster for you guys to see. (My teen age daughter started pretending to not know me at this point.)

Then I headed to the Market to grab a “QR scanner” as recommended by the poster.

BTW, score 1 point for awesomeness in mobile marketing. Jamba Juice did a great thing by giving some direction on what to do with the code in case I didn’t already know.

They got a positive point also for having a cute QR Code. I mean, who really wants to look at a basic black and white one? Certainly not in giant size on the wall. And it wasn’t just the cute code either, they gave me compelling reasons to do it. As a Jamba Insider I could get “the latest scoop on juice concoctions and insider-only deals.” Giving a compelling reason is another positive point.

Then something happened that was not Jamba Juice’s fault, but it impacted their marketing efforts nonetheless. The App Market was not responding at the time. I couldn’t get to a QR scanner if I tried…and I was trying. Our juices came up, we had a few sips and my daughter waited for me semi-patiently for several minutes while I tried to download a scanner. No luck. We left without me scanning the strawberry code.

If I were a typical consumer, the story would have ended here and probably does many times for first time scanners around the country.

Instead I came home and after a bit headed back to the Market and downloaded the ScanLife Barcode & QR Reader app. I sent the photo of the poster to my email for me to download and get on this post. I scanned it from the email.

Now, here’s where Jamba Juice needed to make a bit of a change. The cute strawberry sent me to a full size website page to sign up for the insider program.

As you can see from this screen capture it was not legible for me. Yes, I was able to pinch and squeeze my way through the form filling in part, but I was annoyed.

If I was not trying to participate in this campaign to be able to report about it to you, I would have closed this illegible page without even hesitating. I don’t want to be an “insider” that bad.

Let me set this concept in stone here. The only device that can work a QR code is a mobile device. Any action that happens as a result of the code being scanned must be mobile centric. Period. The End. Do Not Pass Go.

The Jamba Juice cute strawberry code is almost a great campaign, but not quite because of the fact that the opt in page was not designed specifically to work on mobile.

Oh, and the fact that it has already been a day and half since I signed up and I have not received a welcome message via email or text yet.

I wonder if I am actually a “Jamba Insider” at all.

Additional Resources on QR Codes:

I highly recommend Roger Marquis’ site 2D Barcode Strategy for tons of great information about all kinds of 2d bar codes including QR Codes. And, if you are curious why I am not a big fan of QR Codes, you can read about that on my recent MobiBlueprint blog post, What’s all the fuss about QR Codes?. And, if you want to build and track your own QR codes, check out QR Stuff (affiliate link) – another excellent resource.


What a Load of BS, this is NOT Mobile Spam


If you know me at all you know how firm my stance is against mobile spam. I have been known to tell students in my courses and attendees at my speaking events, “Do not send mobile spam. If you do and I find out I will come kick you in the shins.” Yes, I have said those exact words and I mean them.

I have had heated, but friendly, dialogues with colleagues about how adamant I am that even being able to upload a list of cell phones which have (supposedly) been properly opted-in at another company is wrong. It is that “supposedly” part that gets me. What if they aren’t and consumers are being placed on a text message list without permission? That would be so wrong and it would be mobile spam in its purest form.

It is flat out safe to say that I am a huge opponent to any form of mobile spam.

Today’s article in Mobile Marketer reporting about a class action lawsuit against Twitter for violating SMS regulations has me fuming for an entirely different reason.

Two gentlemen, who I am assuming are the type of people who would sue a coffee place for serving too hot coffee or a knife company for selling sharp knives upon which they cut themselves due to their own negligence, have filed a class action lawsuit against Twitter.

The point of their complaint is the single message that Twitter sends when someone has successfully opted out of receiving SMS. The message simply confirms that the person has opted out and will receive no further messages from the Twitter account they had been following. Furthermore it gives information on how to opt out of all remaining SMS messages sent through Twitter.

In reality this confirmation message is helpful to the person who has opted out because now they know they will stop receiving messages from the individual account and if they want to take it a step further and unsubscribe from Twitter SMS all together they now know how. And can do it easily at that exact moment.

In this scenario Twitter did not send any message without permission. Twitter automatically and immediately opted people out of SMS messages upon request and even goes a step further to tell people how to opt-out all together.


Here’s why this bothers me so much. We have bigger issues to fight. Real mobile spam. The kind that is truly, horrible and wrong. Like the $9.99 my husband was charged for My Mobile Love Alerts. He did nothing but reply STOP to a message that came into him out of the blue. (And yes, I know it came in out of the blue because I happened to be sitting right next to him when it did.)

By the time we noticed the $9.99 was billed to his account Sprint had already paid the slimy excuse of a company (My Mobile Love, Short Code 34095, Phone 877-382-4750, Powered by Open Market) that did this and refused to take it off his bill.

Now, THAT is mobile spam. It is wrong and it must be stopped.

If we, thanks to the plaintiffs in this frivolous lawsuit, spend our energy fighting off opt-out confirmation messages sent to consumers who granted permission in the first place we are missing out on fighting the true spammers – like My Mobile Love, which should have been shut down by the carriers and Open Market long ago.

Hello, Open Market…reading this? Or maybe the opportunistic plaintiffs rallying against Twitter will take up this real case of mobile spam.