Making Brands Visible

On the second day of OMMA Global this Tuesday, we gathered some of the most experienced mobile marketers I know for the final main stage panel, which focused on smart phones and their marketing implications. For various takes on that panel, see the last blog entries from the show by our news team  and reporter Eric Sass' take in yesterday's OnlineMediaDaily.


Mssrs. Flanegan, Lewin, Schild, Wright and Kohli were too busy arguing (very insightfully, I thought) over brand effectiveness, scalability, and leveraging the unique properties of mobility for me to fit in half of the questions I had planned. For Webster Lewin, who moved last year from R/GA to communications firm MS&L, I specifically wanted to know how he was using the mobile channel to create more direct bonds with brands. He sent me a newly minted case study yesterday that provides a fascinating answer. Here is a great example of mobile technology helping to unearth a brand that we don't realize is under our very noses every day.

Underwriters Laboratory's ubiquitous but somewhat invisible UL mark is attached to most consumer devices, since it is the industry standard for safety-checking electronics equipment. For a campaign designed to raise consumer awareness of the UL mark and its home safety message for mothers, MS&L created a cross-platform campaign that used mobile technology as a key element in making the logo visible again.

The "Just Look for UL Sweepstakes" ran in print magazine spreads and business response cards, online banner ads, and an outreach to online influencers. People could enter the contest by snapping a phone cam image of a UL logo attached to any nearby electronics device. They could send the image via email or short code. Image recognition technology provider SnapTell was used to discern the UL label and enter the photos into a daily drawing for a digital camera and a grand prize of $10,000. The sweepstakes went on for five weeks and encouraged multiple entries as people could hunt and snap UL logos. The response messages went via email, which helped engage the users on the Web or encouraged smart phone users to click through on the mobile device.

The sweepstakes entry was available online as well, and in the end about 11% of the 85,400 unique entries came from phone cam submissions. Interestingly, MS&L says that the magazine business reply cards proved one of the most effective drivers of mobile entrants. Clear instructions and illustrations for how to send a phone pic of the UL mark were on the cards.

The campaign was targeting women, especially young mothers, in its print placements in People and OK! The natural connection to an otherwise technical (even geeky) brand identity was the safe home message, which the effort effectively aligned with the UL brand among key influencers. But the most interesting aspect of the campaign from a mobile perspective is how it leveraged an existing phone habit -- taking photos opportunistically with a cam -- and directed it to create a new habit: looking for the UL assurance label.

The campaign engaged the device and user on the simplest level: how people tend to use their phones in the wild, and how that behavior dove-tails with the presence of our brand in their lives. There is a cool seamlessness to this campaign across its goals, messaging and use of device. It clearly used mobile to make a point about the invisible ubiquity of the brand that no other medium could have made in quite the same way.

2 comments about "Making Brands Visible".
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  1. Jane Mcpherson from SpyderLynk, March 26, 2009 at 7:06 p.m.

    I am really excited to hear about this campaign because it demonstrates brands are on the cusp of embracing the opportunity to use their logo as an interactive device. SpyderLynk encodes brand logos to activate a wide range of solutions including content delivery, lead generation, promotional engagements and rewards programs. We have had success working on interactive logo programs for Crayola, Ford, AT&T, the Army National Guard, VPX Sports Nutrition, Dior, Arizona Toursim and Warner Brothers.

  2. Rick Iswalt from Global Employment Solutions, Inc., March 27, 2009 at 9:42 a.m.

    This only makes. Today's 'Consumer Nation' is largely mobile. We are checking our phones while in line at stores, while sitting in traffic (hopefully not moving), while at work, at restaurants, and even enroute to the bathroom. If a mobile ad is a. Attention Grabbing & b. Convenient: easy to respond to, you can move the masses. As mobile technology continues to evolve, and capabilities become more robust, the numbers reached will increase. By pairing mobile with online, you can stay in front of your market literally every waking moment.

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