I guess I should stop being surprised that advanced mobile phones have reached mainstream here in the U.S., but I still get amazed when I see stuff like Jamster ads on late-night TV and this new marketing campaign from Pontiac called Catch A G6. Take a camera phone pic of a G6, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org by this Friday and be entered into a contest to win a million dollars. I love it! (And the free ringtone isn't bad either.)
I did a search to see who else had written about this (to see how far behind this news I was) and USA did a story last week. They included a short list of other recent marketing campaigns like this:
Toyota. For its youth-oriented Scion brand, Toyota is considering relaunching its ScionSpy wireless photo contest. Toyota received more than 1,000 entries a year ago in the contest to shoot pictures of new Scion models, says Adrian Si, Toyota's interactive marketing manager.
Kodak. Along with Cingular Wireless, Kodak sponsored a "Share a Smile" photo contest last year for camera cell phone users. "We got some great entries," spokeswoman Liz Scanlon says.
Qwest. The telecom company hosted a scavenger hunt for five Washington state high schools. Students were set loose with camera cell phones, which they used to shoot pictures that could help solve a puzzle. The contest will be expanded to schools in other states this spring, Qwest spokeswoman Kathleen Lessman says.
Jane magazine. In a trial, readers who snapped cell phone photos of ads in the magazine last year received a return e-mail with more information and an offer for product samples or incentives. Three more magazines have signed up for a test, says Russ Gocht, CEO of Mobot, which created the service.
The thing that most people won't notice is the subtle branding of Virgin Mobile on the camera phone on Pontiac's website, and maybe in the TV commercial, I don't remember. It's obvious in the screen grab above, but it's not so big on the web page. They must have a team that's out there pushing new ways of mobile marketing, and promoting their brand at the same time. It's very smart.
I guess I'll have to swing by the Pontiac dealer on the way to work this morning... I'll do a "drive by shooting"... ;-)