WAP, There It Is

Copywriters, are you up for a real challenge? Try filling the one-and-a-half-inch screen provided by most WAP technology with brilliant and persuasive copy.

Is being a wireless wordsmith the ultimate achievement of the content craftsperson? Read on, friend. Something tells me that WAP writing is only for the bravest — and perhaps most brazen — among us.

In his fascinating and insightful November 16 presentation at the ClickZ B2C Email Strategies Conference in Long Beach, California, Sean Carton remarked that the wireless world’s incredibly puny screens don’t give copywriters much space for compelling content. Plus, there’s the pesky problem of pushing messages to folks who may not want to be interrupted with “an urgent message from your local latte shop.”

Should any of this deter the fearless writer from testing his or her chops on Finland’s finest portables? I’ll let my fellow keyboard craftsfolk decide. But if you do opt for the world of wireless, I’ve got some admittedly tongue-in-cheek ideas for pushing content to an unsuspecting mobile world. So, here goes, spam concerns be damned…

Try WAP Burma-Shave. In the 1940s and ’50s, Burma-Shave billboards amused travelers with continuous postings along long stretches of highway. Imagine the possibilities of ringing your target market with a string of messages, say at two- or three-minute intervals. Just think, tomorrow morning, we could all be awakened to four consecutive calls proclaiming: Look cool and together/No matter what the weather/See what the hip have on/At gap.com. (Apologies to my favorite pants provider, which, to my knowledge, has not taken me up on this dynamite marketing idea.)

UZ PL8 SPK. Ever drive the LA freeways trying to unravel the hieroglyphics posted on vanity license plates? Ever cause a five-car pileup, having just discerned that the Toyota in front of you is A QT & UR NOT? Imagine the delight (well, and perhaps some irritation) of receiving a message such as RU REDE 2 WAP? Hey, it’s clever and makes frightfully efficient use of screen real estate.

Make ’em message you. Thank you, WAP world, for making the simple task of entering names into your cell phone’s address directory a day-long project. Now, imagine how thrilled your audience will be if you make keying in whole sentences the only way of opting out. In other words, you keep transmitting those pithy lines until the recipient is able to hunt and peck the words, “Leave me alone.” Talk about your relationship-building tactics. Oh, the possibilities…

Send messages at the point of purchase. We’re now able to find the closest coffee house by consulting our PDAs (according to Carton, the dang thing knows where you are in any major city and can point you in the right direction). So, how about sending a gentle reminder when the consumer approaches the grocery store (Got Milk?), the mall (Got those black pumps that are to die for?), or even the voting booth (Got it straight on where to punch?).

Forget words altogether. Maybe that little square of gray and black real estate was never meant for actual words. How about simply messaging out your logo every now and then? This should provide great vindication for all those organizations frittering away time and dollars in the pursuit of ornate logo designs instead of concentrating on the message.

Refer to an attachment. We all love to receive emails requiring us to open an unknown attachment from an unknown source. There’s that sense of danger, that sense of, well, potentially blowing all your data at the stroke of the keyboard. Knowing how much folks love attachments, surely, technicians can rig up a method of creating those pesky little packets in the wireless world.

Enough? I suspect there are plenty of other irritating, spammy things we can do with this new technology. Please, just don’t let me know about them. I’d rather be writing useful copy I’m assured people want to access. Sorry WAPers, don’t message me, and I won’t message you.

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