Shazam offers brands the opportunity to engage with audio

There’s more than one way to get a response on mobile from advertising. We’ve seen SMS widely used – over 30% of people in the UK have responded by SMS, we’ve seen great MMS campaigns. There’s also visual response. Brands keep plugging away at QR, and new image recognition technologies will take this forward. But what about audio as a response mechanism?

Last year Shazam, the music tagging software, tied up with Faithless in the UK to allow TV viewers to tag their ad taking them to their concert ticket buying page. Take That did something similar with their first single release from their new album. But it’s not just music acts, Shazam has now created tie-in’s with Honda on their video channel, and Strabucks. Both brands had a gamification element, where the tagging was used as part of a discover or treasure-hunt. In the case of Starbucks that was with SCVNGR.  Future brand tie-ins will include Paramount Pictures, P&G and Progressive insurance.

Shazam’s brand friendly approach means well may well see some exciting examples of audio-based consumer engagement.

More on Shazam’s brand offering here.

Gowalla Promotes Farmers’ Markets

Whilst their main SoLo competitor, Foursquare is doing a good job at connecting with brands, Gowalla is working with  have taken a socially responsible approach to their social network. Make Time for Change is an initiative supported by Fridgidaire and organic food enthusiast, Jennifer Garner. Users are encouraged to share information and tips about local farmers markets. In return, for each tip, Fridgidaire will donate $1 to Save The Children’s CHANGE campaign to provide nutritional food to African Children.

Social Location campaigns to drive for social responsibility and brand charity donations have been seen previously in Foursquare (CNN’s Healthy Eating Badge) and Facebook Places (Argos’ Teenage Cancer Trust donations).

More here on the Gowalla/Fridgidaire campaign

Sears Uses SCVNGR to Drive In-Store Location

The US retailer is using the social location game, SCVNGR to drive sales in their footwear and fitness departments. Using a specially developed version of the game, they are encouraging their customers to check-in and try on items at various locations in their stores. Users can also upload photos. In return Sears are offering ‘players’ discounts of up to 20% on purchases and loyalty points. The app certainly ticks a lot of the boxes on getting customer engagement through mobile. It will be interesting to see how this initiative works out.

I Can’t Believe it’s not Better!

OK, bad grammer but the title is an excuse for a pun on the marketing failure of the brand ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’. They have produced a series of iPhone ads linking to a non-mobile optimised site. The banners were placed in the app What To Expect, and links to their standard, multi-column formatted website. iPhone users would have to zoom in to read the text. It seems that some brands still don’t get the point of optimising for mobile.

AXA Creates QR Codes with Paint Pots

I have been somewhat damning of QR codes in the past. In principle I like them, but outside of Japan, most consumers aren’t interested. Marketers tend to think that the very code itself is interesting enough to create engagement. Generally that just isn’t the case. However, AXA Belgium have done something with QR that I believe is genuinely exciting enough to interest people. They have created a giant QR code using different coloured paint pots (the lids are effectively the pixels) and stuck them on a billboard. This is from the same company that previously did the ‘cracked pavement’ magazine and iPhone ad. Their theme is all about making 2011 their year of innovation; not a bad start. The only issue I have is that the QR simply goes to a mobile site and the URL is shown beneath it. Surely such an innovative use of QR should have a more innovative call to action?

New £10 Tariff Gives Boost to Comic Relief Mobile Donations

Mobile Interactive Group has announced that this year’s comic relief raised over £15 million via text donations. The company ran the campaign in conjunction with Harvest Media Group on behalf of the charity. Comic relief has pioneered SMS donations and was the first charity to not pay VAT on them, as well as receiving 100% payout from the operators. Previously the maximum text donation was £5, but a new £10 SMS charge allowed the 4 million plus mobile donors to give more money.

Comic Relief is the UK charity which has seen by far the greatest success with text donations. This is largely due to their high profile TV event.

More on the donations here.

A new look for New Look

Another week and another brand gets in on the mobile-retail act. This week it’s high street brand, New Look with their fully transactional mobile site. Designed and developed by MIG, the site was developed for speed and ease of navigation on mobile. In fact it ticks all the boxes on how to build a mobile retail site: one click purchase for registered users (and a fast registration process if you’re not a user), clear simple menus and social media integration to ‘like’ products.  For a clean, simple yet functional site, retailers would not go too far wrong in taking a leaf out of New Look’s book.

You can see the site by pointing your mobile phone to