General Motors (GM) is using mobile marketing to create awareness about its car, the Chevrolet Aveo U-VA, and engage users by providing them opportunities to interact with the brand. It is also employing the power of mobiles to interact directly with the youth and draw them in for test drives.
The automobile company concluded the first phase of its SMS campaign in November and is now getting ready to initiate the next phase in January 2009. For this, it will use Affle’s mobile marketing service, SMS 2.0.
For the uninitiated, SMS 2.0 is a text messaging application for GPRS based mobiles. Users can download this free application from the mobile operator’s portal. Currently, the service is available only on Airtel and it is used by one million mobile users, as claimed by the company.
Once downloaded, SMS 2.0 allows users to compose and send messages in a similar way to the default SMS application which comes preloaded on mobiles. The difference is that it displays a banner ad at the bottom of the screen while composing or reading a message, and a full screen ad during the process of sending the message.
Ads displayed through SMS 2.0 are interactive and based on the user’s areas of interest, which can be specified while downloading the application., Affle has tied up with many content providers such as Indiatimes.com, ESPN, Reuters and MSN to serve to its subscribers branded content that is similar to banner ads at the bottom of the mobile screen.
The campaign was carried out for two weeks in November and it was targeted at 700,000 young males aged 20-35 years range. Affle used a mix of pure banner and contextual banner ads to drive the objectives of the campaign.
A U-VA banner ad was displayed at the bottom of the mobile screen while users composed their message using SMS 2.0. Once they sent the message, the banner ad was replaced by a full screen ad, which asked users to click a button for more options. The options included locating the nearest U-VA showroom, calling a dealer for a test drive and downloading a viral ad of the U-VA.
Apart from the banner ads, Affle also executed the campaign through contextual banner ads. As mentioned earlier, it serves ESPN sports related content to its members. The ESPN sports related content was served at the bottom of the mobile screen, which converted to a full screen content page when the user clicked on Send Message; at that time, a U-VA banner ad was served at the bottom of the ESPN sponsored content page, which asked users to click a button to explore more options for the U-VA, just like in a pure banner ad campaign.
In a scenario where Affle serves banner ads of a different brand along with the branded content, as happened in the case of the U-VA, the company (Affle) shares the revenue earned through the banner ads with the branded content provider, which in this case is ESPN.
Speaking to afaqs!, Gaurav Gupta, director, marketing, GM India, says, “We opted for the SMS 2.0 platform because it offers us the opportunity to engage users with the brand. Whenever a mobile user sends an SMS, he pays attention to the mobile screen while composing the message or when the sending process is in progress. So, that is the best time to engage users with the brand.”
Sankalp Mehrotra, director, business development, Affle, tells afaqs!, “About 500,000 pure banner ads and 200,000 contextual banner ads were served to users in the two weeks, and out of this, around 40,000 ads were clicked. More than 4,300 users requested test drives and 2,400 users contacted the company or called the dealers. Around 1,700 users downloaded the U-VA viral ad.”
Gupta reveals that the company is creating a mobile site for the U-VA brand and it is spending 6-7 per cent of the total marketing budget on digital activities.
Quasar Media handles the digital marketing activities of the Chevrolet U-VA.