Mobile. What do we do with this one word? We CAN do so much. Rather than go on, instead, I want to give some examples and highlight the cool factor of how mobile can add some out-of-the-box type thinking to an overall health and/or social marketing-related initiative.

(Granted, any initiative must go beyond cool, and must not be done solely for the cool factor. But, for creative juices, let’s show off some coolness.)


Organization(s): The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the University of Georgia’s New Media Institute
Objective: Get the word out about National HIV Testing Day

Cool Factor: Personal PSAs, 24 Hours, and Collaboration.

In one day, more than 20 students from 6 universities and five AIDS organizations hit the streets with only cellphone video cameras to produce 8 short video messages to encourage youth to be tested for HIV. (Personal PSAs are those shared via mobile and social networks, in addition to being user-generated.)


Organization(s): University of Auckland Clinical Trials Research Unit and Healthphone Solutions
Objective: Using Mobile SMS Technology to increase individual smoking cessation success.

Cool Factor: Txt2Quit. 480 Customized Text Messages. 26 Week Program.

This is a tested and research-based product produced to help individuals quit smoking. The program was presented at the Texting for Health Conference this past February, and hopes to provide the tool in multiple languages as well!


Organization(s): The 2007 Live Earth Concerts, The Ethical Reputation Index and LightSpeed Research
Objective: 1) Measure the effectiveness among 18-45 year olds of event sponsorship and advertising in real-time and 2) Measure this audience’s interest in green issues raised by the global concerts and sponsors.

Cool Factor: Mobile as a research tool.

The first example was using mobile to raise awareness and increase a call to action. The second example offered a product to those working to stop smoking. This example expands the uses of mobile by showing how it can be used as a medium to conduct research. In case your curious, the response rate was 20% and most notably, the research was done, fast, with results given that same day.


Organization(s): The Fair & Lovely Foundation and Hindustan Unilever Limited
Objective: Increase the visibilty and utilization of the Fair & Lovely Foundation’s scholarship program among women and girls in low-income groups in rural and urban India.

Cool Factor: Cost Effective. Wide Reaching. Full Approach.

All elements of mobile marketing were utilized in this campaign: an SMS Blast, SMS Shortcode (a code word/number individuals can respond to), interactive voice response, banner advertising, a microsite and the Lead Capturing Zone that induced the call to action for individuals to apply for the scholarship. As a result, over 44,000 student applied in 1.5 months and 2 million page impressions were gained from the banner advertising.


Organization(s): Macmillan Cancer Support
Objective: Provide an alternative route to collect donations for those not wanting to donate online via credit or debit card.

Cool Factor: Mobile as a fundraising channel.

For this organization and through this campaign, SMS donations was the most successful mechanism with 59% of donations being made through text.


Organization(s): Save the Children and Verizon Wireless
Objective: Provide lifesaving assistance during the natural disasters that occurred in China and Myanmar.

Cool Factor: Assists during times of emergency.

Individuals could text 4SAVE with the word ‘quake’ to donate to earthquake relief or the keyword ‘cycloce’ to contribute to the cyclone relief. Upon texting, a reply asking for confirmation will be sent and a $5 donation will be added to the person’s phone bill.


Organization(s): Major universities and colleges across the country.
Objective: Implement an emergency notification system for all the University campus community.

Cool Factor: Campus Alert System. Emergency Preparedness.

Across the country, universities and colleges are implementing emergency alert systems through mobile and email technology to prevent another Virginia Tech tragedy. It’ll be interesting to see how other systems and institutions implement a similar strategy.


Organization(s): mGive & Keep A Child Alive, mGive & the Washington Nationals, The MLB and the Children’s National Medical Center, mGive & The All-Star Game, Stand Up for Cancer, and Make a Wish Foundation
Objective: mGive & Keep A Child Alive: Move people to donate during Alicia Key ‘As I Am’ tour; mGive & the Washington Nationals: When the Nationals play the Houston Astros, fans will be asked to donate to the Children’s National Medical Center to fight pediatric diabetes through a mobile/text campaign; mGive & The All-Star Game, Stand Up for Cancer, and Make a Wish Foundation: fans will be asked to donate to these two non-profits during the All-Star game through a mobile program.

Cool Factor: Mobile Giving. Integrated Marketing.

Mobile giving is now becoming a trend. Through the Alicia Keys mobile campaign, over $40,000 was raised to support Keep a Child Alive. mGive itself is a social giving company that helps non-profits utilize mobile technology to increase their fundraising efforts. To see the latest campaigns (including combining broadcast television commercials with a mobile call to action), check out their blog. The Mobile Giving Foundation currently keeps a list of all 36 ongoing mobile giving campaigns.


Organization(s): The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Objective: Provide a home site for of CDC’s mobile information about hurricane preparedness and the flu season.

Cool Factor: Government Goes Mobile.

Due to the increasing amount of dangerous hurricane like Katrina, Gustav and Ike, the CDC recently created a mobile Web site to further assist during times of emergency. I see this site growing as the use of mobile increases, but it’s a great first step and a good role model for other government agencies.


Organization(s): Meir Panim (Network of Soup Kitchens in Israel)
Objective: Increase donations for the soup kitchens, while also communicating an individual’s impact on the cause.

Cool Factor: Shows Impact on the Spot.

Meir Panim ran an interactive campaign with banner advertisements asking individuals to ‘SMS for Lunch‘ a promotional interactive campaign: On their website a boy was featured, facing an empty plate. The site encouraged donations and once the system received the SMS, the banner changed to show a full plate of food with the boy smiling. Talk about realtime impact!



From these examples, we’ve seen how mobile technology can be used to:

  • Raise Awareness.
  • Provide a product.
  • Be an instrument for research.
  • Be cost-effective, fast, and provide results.
  • Be a fundraising tool.
  • Be creative.
  • Encourage mobile giving.
  • Extend a current campaign.
  • Be another medium to integrate into a marketing program.

What other mobile campaigns exist that you think have an extra dose of the cool factor?

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