In a sign that the medium is gaining momentum, AT&T Wireless has joined forces with McDonald's and Kellogg's to market the two via text messaging in two separate campaigns.
The Kellogg's and McDonald's text messaging projects are among the first U.S. campaigns involving major companies, though such campaigns are common overseas. Interestingly, though the technology now exists for such campaigns to run across carriers, only AT&T Wireless subscribers will be able to participate via text messaging.
McDonald's will print Olympic trivia games on 250 million of its to-go bags. AT&T Wireless subscribers can answer the trivia questions via their cell phones to test their Olympic IQs. The promotion, launching now, will run through September. AT&T Wireless is a 2004 U.S. Olympic Team sponsor.
The Kellogg's deal involves text messaging promotions on 80 million cereal and snack boxes. On some boxes, a sweepstakes promotion will appear. On others, a Cartoon Network Text Messaging Trivia Game. Unlike the McDonald's promotion, non-subscribers can take part, but only via the Internet. A&T Wireless subscribers can text up to 15 sweepstakes entries a day in the sweepstakes, which also runs through September.
"Usually, the call to action for a packaged goods sweepstakes is to cut out the UPC code and mail it in," said Jeremy Pemble, AT&T spokesman. "The real value AT&T brings is that instant response you can do on a wireless phone." Pemble said that this approach is prevalent in Europe, where "you'd be hard-pressed to find a soda can or bag of chips without a call to action involving a text messaging code."
Pemble said, "We're now getting to the point where we're seeing these trends come over here. And it's not just with some small company. We're doing this in a large quantity with two of the most well-respected companies in their industries."
With this project, AT&T Wireless is building on its success with "American Idol." AT&T Wireless subscribers sent millions of text messages to the show, including fan mail, sweepstakes entries, votes and trivia game interactions, via their cell phones.
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