Category Archives: MMS

Jack in the Box Serves Up Some Mobile Fails

For awhile now, I’ve been receiving messages on my phone from Jack in the Box. To be honest, they are probably my favorite of all the fast food burger shops – in spite of the fact that I worked there as a kid in high school (Anyone remember when they blew up  clown and changed to Monterey Jack?).

I was mildly excited when I learned that I could join their Secret Society of Cool People where I’d be “privy to top-secret stuff like coupons, new products, and [Jack's] favorite color (Kelly green).” Plus, I like the playful non-corporate language.

Disappointment came a month later.
And again the next month.
And pretty much every time therafter.

Here’s the most recent message, in two parts.

image: Jack In The Box MMS Msg part1image: Jack In The Box MMS Msg part2

The cool thing is they are sending pictures. The not so cool thing is that the pictures look like mini versions of a tray liner.

Here are the last 4 pictures they’ve sent:

(yes, they sent the Chipotle one twice)

My biggest disappointment is that there is never an offer (no coupon). What is the point of these? They are just ads. So after 3 months there has been no real benefit to being in Jack’s Secret Society.

FAIL.

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What could have saved this campaign?

There are a few places to focus to see where the problems lie.

1) Strategy. It’s hard to tell what sort of experience Jack wants us mobile users to have. They appear to be simply using mobile as an advertising media, implying that they only want to put their name and products in front of people. A really, really, bad strategy when using MMS or SMS, which are the most personal of mobile media. Rather, Jack should be true to their original promise of delivering coupons and other Secret Society stuff and providing a special VIP-like experience.

2) Execution. On the heels of a good strategy is the ability to track success. With Jack’s current approach there is little to track other than, perhaps, whether the messages are being delivered but not all mobile operators provide consistent delivery reports. If Jack can start driving store traffic by turning these ads into coupons then the ability to track will require an in-store process and potentially integration with their point-of-sale system; a worthwhile effort IMHO.

 

Sprint Fails in a NOW Moment

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:

image: Bravo Mobile Web Form

Entering my mobile number and clicking ‘Sign Up’ resulted in:

image: Bravo Web Form Submitted

This appears broken and I got nothing on my phone.

FAIL.

Looking around the page I noticed ‘mobile’ in one of the nav menus:image: Bravo Menu

Clicking ‘mobile’ I get to a page that lists out the “Mobile Clubs”:
image: Bravo Mobile RH

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?
image: NBC Bravo SMS

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:
image: NBC Bravo WAP page

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.

FAIL.

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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.

Guinness Tries Mobile With a JagTag

Jon and I were at The Trumpeter after work yesterday when, along with our pints we were offered an opportunity to “Take The Guinness Challenge This March” (It was July). The coasters under our beers (not Guinness, alas) were printed with this challenge along with instructions to “Take A Pic. Text It In.” and an image that looks a little like a QR Code or maybe a black and white version of a Microsoft Tag (the kind with dots).Image: Guinness JAGTAG Coaster

The details of the promotion say, “Feeling bold? Show us what you’ve got! Send us a photo of this JAGTAG.” My first thought was, if we’re all taking pictures of the same JAGTAG how will we show how bold we are? Not sure, but I continue reading. It appears that AT&T and Verizon customers can send the pic to a short code, 524824, but all others have to email it to Guinnessmarch@jagtag.com. “Look for a bold response, ” it says. Ok.

I’m on Sprint so I grab my phone and open a QR reader app. Oops! This isn’t a QR code. For this I need to open the camera. (I’ve become accustomed to seeing QR codes so opening I-nigma or some other reader has become almost second nature when I see promotions with little square data-matrix-looking images).  So I send a picture of the tag to the email address listed and wait. My Nexus S uses Gmail to send email so rather than wait for the mail to come in and send a notification to my phone I just switch over to the Gmail app.

I bailed out at this point and continued later that night from my computer; this is no longer a mobile experience.

The reply from Guinnessmarch to my picture is an email with a link to a video. It won’t play on my computer. Tapping the link on my phone, the video plays for 5-10 seconds and then stops and leaves me staring at a blank page. Backing up and trying again the video doesn’t even start. A bit of a fail there. During this process another email has come in from Guinnessmarch with the subject, “Bold question 1 of 2″ and saying, “Please text back the letter that matches your answer to receive a spot on the team. You are watching basketball and a guy near you is loudly rooting against your team: Do you:
a) Wager him a round
b) Quiet him with stats
c) Victory dance in his face
d) Focus harder on the game
e) Glare at him
f) Change seats

I reply with the letter “C”, the least likely that I would do – Victory dance in his face. A minute or so later I get another email. Subject: “Bold challenge question 2 of 2″  Message: “You prove your team loyalty by painting your:
a) Face.
b) Car.
c) House.
d) Spouse.
e) Boss.
f) Toenails.

I’m tempted to reply with d) but decide to go with f) Toenails. I reply with the word, “toenails”. Several minutes later I get a message that says, “We’re sorry, we could not read a JAGTAG in the image you sent. Please send us a picture with an in-focus JAGTAG in the center of the frame. ” Grrrr. I didn’t send an image. This is a fail as far as I go. I should be able to enter the letter or the single word. Fine. I reply with the letter “F” and receive an email saying,
“You have earned the position of:
Team GUINNESS Shooting Guard
You will take a bold outside shot at a beauty on the dance floor, or make an
inside move on a friend of a friend.  Now shoot for a bolder brew – GUINNESS.
Your player badge will be sent to you shortly.  Download and post it on
Facebook, or use as wallpaper on your phone or computer.
Get more info at www.Facebook.com/GuinnessUS.  Now step up and order a
GUINNESS!”

I then received another email with this 176px by 144px (QCIF? Really?) image. Pretty small for my computer.

Guinness BadgeIt’s over. Finally.

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What could have saved this campaign?

There were quite a few rough spots in this campaign. Let’s start with the use of a JagTag. There is absolutely no reason to over-complicate this promotion by using a JagTag. Thinking about all the steps required to take a picture and send it and then how only some can use MMS and others need to use email it is a curiosity Guinness US even went through with the promotion. They could have simply used SMS or even a QR code, “Text MARCH to 524824″ They clearly already have the shortcode and with SMS you reach many more people with a much more consistent experience. I suspect someone from JagTag was just out pitching their wares and no one was giving Guinness any strategic guidance.

Now to the video. Video is a nice addition to the mobile experience. That is, when it works. In this case Guinness was using a downloaded .3gp video rather than a hosted, streamed video (i.e., YouTube.com). This makes sense in some ways because more phones can play a .3gp video than can stream video. But, the video didn’t play on my phone – a problem that could likely have been resolved through additional handset testing. In addition, had they detected that I was trying to access the video using my computer they might have sent a format more compatible with the desktop.

Reebok Fails with MMS

From Madeline Moy

I have discovered that my LG enV Touch phone can’t read QR codes or Microsoft Tags. However, it does take great photos.

So when I saw a Reebok EasyTone ad in “Shape” magazine that involved taking a photo of a “SnapTag” and sending it to an e-mail address or phone number, I thought, cool, I can finally participate in one of these mobile campaigns.image:Reebok in Shape

The directions next to the tag said: “Snap a picture of the Reebok EasyTone logo and send it to reebok@snaptag.mobi or 949.331.8147. You will receive an exclusive workout video from Reebok and automatically be entered to win a collection of Reebok gear.”

I took a photo of the SnapTag and sent it to the e-mail address. Nothing happened. I took another picture, and I sent it to the phone number. This time I got an immediate response. Unfortunately it said, “We are unable to read the image you sent. If it looks fuzzy to you it is fuzzy to us. Send another photo of the logo with the ring. Std Msg rates apply.”

The photo I sent didn’t look fuzzy to me, but I went ahead and took another photo. I sent it, and I received an SMS message with just a YouTube URL.  I couldn’t click on the link from my phone so I tried to access it on my computer, but all I got was a page that said, “The video you requested is not available.”

FAIL.

At this point I gave up. I had known that I probably wouldn’t have been able to watch the Reebok video on my phone, but it was disappointing not to be able to even access them using a computer. And I was put off by the tone of the text messages I received. They weren’t friendly or helpful and seemed to blame me for not being able to use my phone properly.

Kelly: I also tried this campaign sending the image to the email address I received an email response with subject=”Reebok” (that’s it?) and the body of the message was just a YouTube link. Was I entered to win a collection of Reebok gear or not? It doesn’t say. The video was a huge let-down. Some actress giving a light endorsement of Reebok EasyTone shoes. All this work for an infomercial? Sheesh.

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What could have saved this campaign?
It was not with clear understanding that Reebok picked a technique that didn’t require a smartphone. That is, the SnapTag only requires a phone with a camera and MMS abilities – far more phones that just smartphones. The problem, of course, is that the payoff was a YouTube video (and ONLY a video), which is the domain of smartphones almost exclusively.
1) The return SMS should have included a statement about being included in the contest as well as an easy link to type into a browser for those who can’t watch YouTube videos. Better yet, bypass YouTube and use a mobile streaming service, which works on far more devices.
2) The video needed to offer more; more entertainment, more information, even just a more exclusive, behind-the-scenes feel to it as promised.

Kelly