Aiming to drive young people to theaters for the June 24 launch of the "Transformers" movie, Paramount Pictures ran SMS ads over ChaCha, an ad-supported mobile system where people text in random questions to live operators. The campaign increased by 27 percent "unaided brand awareness" of the picture, said those involved.
ChaCha VP of Marketing Susan Marshall said the pitch for "Transformers" was included in text messages sent to ChaCha users after they posed their questions. "People would ask us questions about anything, like 'What should I do this weekend?'" Marshall said. "The response would include an ad that would say 'Your answer is coming. For fun this weekend, reply r-e-v-e-n-g-e.' Then we sent back a full ad describing the "Transformers" movie." The response included a link to a WAP-enabled mobile Web page for the film.
Marshall said the campaign was one of the company's most successful so far. She noted the ChaCha service, being focused on 12- to 24-year-old mobile users, is ideally suited to entertainment advertising. She said ChaCha, founded about 18 months ago, has about 5 million unique users and has answered about 150 million questions since it went live. The company's other advertisers include IKEA, the US Navy, Coca-Cola and McDonalds, Marshall said.
Ads are sold by a direct sales force based in New York City. Former Yahoo director of agency sales Rob Wilk is ChaCha's VP of sales, having joined the company in February.
In addition to increasing by 27 percent the number of people who could recall the film, the Transformers campaign also increased by 10 percent the number of people who said they would go to see the movie. At the WAP site, users with more advanced mobile devices were able to get story and character information, video downloads, tickets, show times, profiles and mobile alerts.
According to ChaCha, respondents age 19 to 24 responded best to the campaign with increases across all metrics and males 18 to 34 "showed a huge 58 percentage point increase in mobile ad awareness. ChaCha CEO Scott Jones, in a statement, said the most common way to look up movie times is on the Internet, but "about 20 percent of respondents to the "Transformers" campaign reported using text message-based services instead."
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