Consider this: Eighty percent of U.S. consumers have one, and 60 percent of them take it to bed. The mobile phone is the first mass medium that's personal, always on, always with you, and even has a built-in payment channel. Most marketers have been slow to realize the potential of the mobile device as a powerful "pull" platform. Here are six examples that are ahead of the trend.
>i-mode FeliCa. Big in Japan right now, the service turns wireless handsets into convenient swipe tools, serving as e-money, a credit card, a ticket, or even a house or office key. The service works by combining NTT DoCoMo's mobile Internet service, i-mode, and Sony's contactless IC chip technology, dubbed FeliCa.
>Google SMS. Google SMS enables consumers to send queries regarding movie showtimes, dictionary definitions, phone book listings, and product prices as text messages from their mobile devices. Consumers text queries to 46645 (GOOGL on most devices), and Google texts back the reply.
>Bacardi Radio. Blue Star recently created a new Java application to stream a Bacardi radio station to mobiles via General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). Bacardi B-Live Radio is a 24-hour station broadcasting the hottest new dance music from around the world. The application also offers the ability to promote additional Bacardi events and products to ensure that listeners stay ahead of the game and find out about the latest B-Bar events first.
>Nokia Music Recommenders. Nokia recently joined forces with 40 internationally influential independent music stores from around the world to provide unique and customizable music recommendations across 12 genres. The premise is to keep music enthusiasts in touch with the latest tracks and help them discover new artists.
Once registered for this free service, subscribers can also receive an instant playlist of free 30-second samples tailored to their tastes and purchase tracks to play on a PC or mobile device.
>MyCasting. Orb has increased the reach of its MyCasting streaming service, enabling users to view videos from YouTube, Google, and other popular Internet sites over a mobile phone. Consumers also have the ability to record TV programs remotely using Orb's digital video recorder function and then stream those programs to their mobile device.
>Orange Wednesdays. Orange, Europe's biggest consumer wireless provider, runs what it considers its most successful promotion ever: "Orange Wednesdays." Orange customers text the word "film" to the number 241 to receive a text code. The code allows the customer a two-for-one ticket at almost any movie theater on any Wednesday.
Written by Ben Richards, a senior strategist, and curated by Paul Woolmington, principal, at Naked Communications. (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)