P&G Launches SMS Effort for Crest, More to Follow

Procter & Gamble has introduced an SMS component to its Crest brand advertising. It’s the opening act of what looks to be a centralized push in the wireless space, which will eventually extend to other of its brands.

The mobile effort, for Crest Whitening Plus Scope Extreme Toothpaste, is part of a holistic campaign that includes TV, print, interactive and outdoor advertising. Print ads and collateral materials in bars and other establishments will be emblazoned with an SMS short code designed to instigate participation via the phone.

“The 18- to 34-year-old Gen Y consumer is engaged in this type of media,” said P&G spokeswoman Tonia Elrod. “They’re used to using their mobile phone and other devices to communicate with one another and learn about things. The consumer and where they’re receptive to marketing messages helped guide us to determine which media to use.”

Mobile marketing enabler Flytxt provided the messaging infrastructure for the campaign. Flytxt president Carsten Boers said the significant thing about the Crest campaign is that it’s launched “out of the center of P&G.”

“P&G engaged in mobile marketing in a big way about a year, year and a half ago, sending out a team to select vendors and [explore the opportunity],” Boers told ClickZ News.

“This is the first campaign that has spun out of that initiative,” he said. “They’ve identified that mobile is going to happen for them. They’ve got to get their heads around it, and get feedback back into the central organization. That’s quite different from how we’ve seen other companies engage in this in the past.”

The SMS component is driven by print ads and on-site collateral such as bar napkins and signs in restrooms. These encourage people to text the words “IQ Extreme” to the short code CREST (27378) and answer a series of quiz-like multiple choice questions directly from their handsets. Many of the questions have to do with dating and pick-up scenarios. One asks, “Tonight is destined to be special, what do you wear?”

The effort is compatible with all major U.S. wireless carriers.

In addition to the mobile channel, Crest will present its Irresistibility IQ” quiz online, and the brand’s TV advertising drives people to the Web site. Quiz participants will be eligible to win a variety of prizes, including CDs.

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