NBC’s Bravo network has been offering SMS/MMS engagements for some time now but not being a fan of that particular network I’ve never looked into what they were doing. During a conversation with a colleague about MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) I was told I could experience it for myself by sending WIVES to 27286 to start the sign-up process – one that turned out to be a bit painful – and begin receiving text and video messages – another often disappointing experience.
Naturally, I tried sending WIVES to the short code, presumably to engage with the Real Housewives television show (I’ve never watched it and never will, to be honest. From what I’ve seen it looks ridiculous.). However, nothing happened. Nothing at all. I got absolutely no response from my text message. Grrr. Committed, I went to bravo.com on my computer. (Mistake! That’s a scam site being run by RewardsFlow LLC who appears to be harvesting both email and mobile numbers. Likely one source of the growing problem with SMS spam) Eventually, I found www.bravotv.com/mobile, which had a form for mobile sign-up:
Entering my mobile number and clicking ‘Sign Up’ resulted in:
This appears broken and I got nothing on my phone.
The first one is Housewives Hub with instructions to text WIVES to 27286. But I already tried this and nothing happened! Fine. I tried again. This time it worked and I successfully signed up for ‘wifey gossip & news’ (yay?). Interestingly, the confirmation message said, “Sponsored by Sprint” at the end. I didn’t realize, however, that I was due to receive more than I was expecting.
The following day I received one message as expected. It was an offer to play a game to test my knowledge of ‘Camille Grammer’. I didn’t play. The other message was a surprise. You can see it below. I have since received them fairly regularly. It appears that when I signed up for WIVES I was also signed up for ‘The NOW Moment’ (apparently a play on Sprint’s NOW Network slogan). This was sneaky. Are these messages related to the WIVES stuff at all?
The one above says ‘Online Dating’. Are they trying to hook me up? A more recent message said, “Modeling Tips”. Always willing to give things a try I tapped the link. Here’s the result on my Nexus S on the Sprint network:
Uh. Hello? What is this? It looks like the details of a video file of some sort. No video played and there was no link to tap to watch a video. Was the video supposed to accompany the SMS (making it an MMS)? The irony is that the service is sponsored by Sprint and yet it doesn’t work on my Sprint device.
I’ve received three of these ‘NOW Network’ messages and all three do the same thing.
What could have saved this campaign?
Well, this isn’t so much a campaign as it is a regular part of the Bravo TV content offering, which is great, we all know mobile is here to stay.
I suspect the mobile offering from NBC/Universal is suffering from neglect. It appears that is has been awhile since anyone tested the program and processes across media (mobile vs. Web), across mobile operators, and on a multitude of devices. Testing is of course critical for any new efforts but is also vital to sustaining an ongoing program. Not to get too technical but shit happens and it always seems to happen when you’re not looking.
Bravo and Singlepoint (the mobile application provider in this case) really need to commit to scheduled, regular testing.