National Wildlife Federation raising funds for Gulf oil spill via mobile.

The Mobile Giving Foundation is helping the National Wildlife Federation protect Gulf-region wildlife devastated by the recent BP oil spill.
Jim Manis, chairman and CEO of the Mobile Giving Foundation, Bellevue, WA said the Mobile Giving Foundation (MGF) is working with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to raise funds through a new mobile-giving campaign to benefit wildlife affected by the recent, ongoing British Petroleum (BP) oil spill.

Donors are encouraged to text the keyword WILDLIFE to the short code 20222 to make a micro-donation of $10 to the NWF Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund.

This is already one of the worst environmental disasters in the nation’s history. More than 210,000 gallons of oil per day are gushing into what is already a fragile and vulnerable ecosystem, threatening the coastline, the region’s fishing industry and 400-plus species of wildlife that are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

There is an urgent need for the general public to get involved to help preserve marine and wildlife habitats in the region.

The NWF is raising funds to enable its staff members in their collaboration with local and national nonprofits, the organization’s state affiliate network, and state and federal government agencies to help mobilize a meaningful volunteer response to this catastrophe.

There are two primary reasons why is mobile ideal to fulfill this strategy.

The immediacy with which people can make a difference with their donations. Additionally, the microdonation amount of $10 removes a lot of barriers to donor participation.

The oil spill news is very timely. Prospective donors can see a call-to-action and make a spontaneous gift to help.

The donation appears as a charge on a donor’s wireless carrier bill, and standard rates may apply. The process is fast, easy and secure, which promotes a very positive user experience.

Just [yesterday], the response to the announcement has been very strong. NWF will employ a mix of traditional print and broadcast public relations, Web communications, direct marketing and social networking.
As we saw with Haiti earthquake relief, social networks play a large role in spreading the word to the widest range of donors. So, NWF are getting out the word via Facebook, Twitter and the other popular social networks.

Mobile a great channel for nonprofits because the immediate response of donors is huge for nonprofit organizations.

Depending on the cause, call-to-action and other cobranding elements (e.g. celebrity spokesperson, sports or entertainment affiliations, etc.), nonprofits sometimes can raise organizationally transforming funds in a very short amount of time.

The MGF has worked hard to streamline the process of getting nonprofits onboard, vet our approved list of application service providers (ASPs) that offer the technical capabilities to nonprofits to enable mobile giving, and make the user experience as safe and easy as possible.

OK Green Minded Geeks…Charge Your iPhone With Solar Power

Now that summer is upon us, you’re likely to be spending more time outdoors and on the go, most likely with your smartphone in hand.

If an Apple iPhone is your weapon of choice, you might want to slip it into the Novothink Solar Surge, the only Apple-certified solar charger carrying case that doubles battery life by harvesting the sun’s rays.

You can also power up the lithium-ion battery by plugging it into computer via its bundled USB cable, ideal for a rainy day, but the premium price for this accessory is tied to its solar panel on the back of the case.

Available in multiple colors, for iPhone ($79.95) or second-generation iPod touch ($69.95), the durable Solar Surge also protects the device if banged around -– though the top of the device is exposed (instead of the case wrapped around the entire body). Also near the top is a small hole for attaching to a backpack or purse.

Just how much power does the sun provide? Only about 30 minutes of talk time (for 3G) or 60 minutes for 2G from two hours in the sun. We let the case drain to near empty before leaving it on a backyard patio, in direct sunlight, for a couple of hours before making some phone calls.
Similar to other chargers, such as the Mophie Juice Pack, the Solar Surge has four built-in LED lights on its back to let you know the status of the external battery. However, if the battery pack is charged, a fully-juiced Solar Surge provides roughly 4 hours of talk time for 3G, 8 hours of talk time for 2G, up to 6 hours of web surfing via WiFi, video playback up to 6 hours and audio playback up to 20 hours.

There is also optional Solar Planner software, a free app that estimates how much sun exposure you’ll need to maintain the battery level on your iPhone or iPod touch (by incorporating your city’s current weather).

Trouble Sleeping? Maybe It’s Your Laptop…or Xanga?

More than ever, consumer electronics — particularly laptops, smartphones and Apple’s new iPad — are shining bright light into our eyes until just moments before we doze off. In fact it is 1:30 AM and I am on Xanga writing this blog.

Now there’s growing concern that these glowing gadgets may actually fool our brains into thinking it’s daytime. Exposure can disturb sleep patterns and exacerbate insomnia, some sleep researchers said in interviews.

“Potentially, yes, if you’re using [the iPad or a laptop] close to bedtime … that light can be sufficiently stimulating to the brain to make it more awake and delay your ability to sleep,” said Phyllis Zee, a neuroscience professor at Northwestern University and director of the school’s Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology.

“And I think more importantly, it could also be sufficient to affect your circadian rhythm. This is the clock in your brain that determines when you sleep and when you wake up.”

Such concerns are not entirely new: One sleep researcher said Thomas Edison created these problems when he invented the light bulb. But they’ve been revived by the popularity of Apple’s new slate computer, the iPad, which many consumers say is good for reading at night in bed, when the brain thinks the environment should be dark.

Unlike paper books or e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle, which does not emit its own light, the iPad’s screen shines light directly into the reader’s eyes from a relatively close distance.

That makes the iPad and laptops more likely to disrupt sleep patterns than, say, a television sitting across the bedroom or a lamp that illuminates a paper book, both of which shoot far less light straight into the eye.

My mom always said don’t sit so close to the TV…I guess she was right.

Movie Tickets on Your Mobile by Fandango

Fandango has debuted a mobile ticketing program where consumers can get movie tickets sent as bar codes to their mobile devices.

The program is compatible with several mobile carriers and users do not need a smartphone to receive and redeem the mobile tickets. While currently available in eight markets, the program is rolling out to more than 100 screens in the Reading Cinemas circuit around the country, with more to come, according to the company.

“Let’s face it, most moviegoers are attached at the hip to their wireless devices, and more and more film fans are accessing movie and showtime information and ticketing through their phones – so we want to help them get to the movies as conveniently as possible,” said Ted Hong, chief marketing officer of Fandango, Los Angeles.
“While online is still the preferred way for moviegoers to find their showtimes and tickets, Fandango needs to be available on every device, wherever consumers are making their moviegoing decisions,” he said.

Fandango lets consumers buy tickets in advance, as well as read reviews and commentary and watch trailers.
This is not the Fandango’s first foray into mobile. The company has an iPhone and iPod touch application where consumers can get movie and theater listings, tap a movie poster to watch trailers and read fan ratings and reviews.

Consumers can buy the movie tickets via their mobile device and take their handset straight to the theater ticket-taker, who scans the phones’ bar code.

According to the Fandango, this allows the customer to bypass the box office windows and kiosks.

Oprah Launches Oprah Mobile

With the launch of Oprah Mobile, the daytime TV queen appears to be laying the groundwork for a bigger push into digital media in advance of the debut of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on cable TV next year.

The App, optimized for the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Palm Pre phones, offers a window into Oprah’s media empire — including clips and previews from “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” weekly polls, articles and photos from O, The Oprah Magazine and, and her Twitter updates.

Released by Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, the Oprah Mobile app sells for $1.99 in the App Store. A spokesperson for the studio said Monday the app may extend to OWN, though it’s not yet decided. But that seems like a pretty good bet, given the increased emphasis her forthcoming cable channel will place on digital distribution. Robert Tercek, president of digital media for OWN, said the project will build new media into programming from the ground up.
He also noted that OWN would carry over the core of a digital audience from past efforts like periodic live Web broadcasts of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Oprah Mobile would seem to fit that strategy to help cultivate a wider digital audience via smartphone users, which are estimated to make up as much as a quarter of all U.S. mobile subscribers.

Down the road, it’s not hard to envision a comparable Oprah app for the iPad to showcase her various properties and extend live programming and interactive features, including m-commerce, to mobile devices. Tercek last month waxed enthusiastic about the Apple tablet, pointing out the advantage it has over any competing gadget because it comes with the ability to run existing iPhone apps (which would now include Oprah Mobile).

Tercek will have to make sure Oprah doesn’t get too out in front of her audience — which he acknowledged isn’t exactly the early-adopter crowd — in embracing new mobile and digital tools. No need to worry about impressing Apple fanboys.

Offering Oprah Mobile for free instead of charging might’ve been a good way to start, for instance, but the new cable network’s creators will have to test different approaches and learn as they roll out Oprah 2.0.

Mobile Marketing Can Work Well in the Recession

Due to the recessionary environment, consumers have been willing to forgo their favorite brands to cut household costs. Could mobile marketing offer a new access point for brand engagement and marketing opportunities.
With the economy reeling the consumer’s willingness to “trade down” to lower-priced brands over the past two years has been increasing. According to research by comScore a decline in loyalty to consumer goods brands is typically one of the byproducts of a recession as consumers give greater consideration to price.

“While every brand is different, some of the potential uses of mobile might be special offers and discounts sent via mobile, games and mobile apps,” said Andrew Lipsman, senior director of industry analysis at comScore, Reston, VA.

“There is also significant potential to leverage location-based services for highly targeted communications that could reach the consumer at or near the point of purchase.”

The study evaluated the change in brand loyalty within a number of consumer goods categories, including health and beauty aids, over-the-counter medications, apparel, food, household products and house wares.
As the economic downturn has continued, the percentage of shoppers who typically buy the brands they want most has steadily declined across the categories examined.

In March, less than 50 percent of shoppers reported purchasing the brand they want most.

In some categories, particularly CPG household products and house wares, consumers were already more likely to buy a brand they did not “want most” at the start of the recession. Higher ticket items have seen large increases in trading down possibly due to larger absolute savings on a single purchase.

Despite shifting consumer dynamics, research has repeatedly shown that premium brands that invest in marketing and promotion activities aimed at maintaining buying at preferred levels are able to minimize short-term erosion of share to less expensive brands and position themselves for a bounce-back

I think brands have only scratched the surface of what is possible using the mobile channel to drive increased consumer engagement and long term brand loyalty. Let’s see what improved mobile browsing and location based applications do for the market.

Dish Soap’s Long-Running Cause-Related Ad Campaign Timely in Light of Environmental Disaster

It’s not the kind of luck Procter & Gamble Co. was looking for, but its Dawn dish soap is one of the few brand beneficiaries of the massive Gulf Coast oil spill.
The promotion on has raised nearly $383,000 in donations so far.

Dawn launched a new ad for its wildlife rescue efforts on Earth Day and was still in the midst of a related promotional fundraiser just as the environmental catastrophe was unfolding. Earlier this week, it helped drive the point home further, shipping 1,000 bottles of Dawn to animal rescuers in the Gulf Coast, and plans to follow with another 1,000 by week’s end, said spokeswoman Susan Baba.

Lest P&G be accused of opportunism, the ads and donations are extensions of one of the company’s oldest cause-related marketing programs, now in its fourth decade, which got its original impetus from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Because of Dawn’s longstanding relationship with leading wildlife rescue organizations, the International Bird Rescue and Research Center and the Marine Mammal Center, it has access to the animal rescue efforts near the disaster site that few news organizations have, so it began sending news flashes about the first bird rescues today via its Facebook fan page with more than 140,000 fans, and Twitter account, a newer effort with under 200 followers.

Dawn hasn’t made any plans to increase weight behind its current ad from Publicis Groupe’s Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, showing an oil-soaked bird being washed with dish soap, Ms. Baba said, but is considering adding a tag related to the Gulf disaster and directing people to Dawn’s Facebook page for more information.

The brand was already in the home stretch of a promotion launched last summer in which it donates $1 for every specially marked bottle of dish soap registered at The site, from Barefoot Proximity, Cincinnati, a unit of Omnicom’s BBDO, lists nearly $383,000 in donations so far, broken down by state and Canadian province.

Dawn donates soap to aid cleanups following every oil spill, as well as routinely to help rescue organizations clean birds fouled by less-publicized cases of oil seepage inland, Ms. Baba said. But outside of smaller, less publicized spills in the San Francisco Bay and near South Africa in recent years, nothing has approached the attention brought by this case since the Exxon Valdez, she said. In all, over the years, Dawn has been used to aid in the rescue of more than 60,000 animals since the 1980s.

Besides being timely, the wildlife effort, which the brand has promoted through a variety of TV, print, coupon and digital programs over the decades, is an almost perfect fit with brand equity, Ms. Baba said.

“The beauty of the [organization partnerships] even outside this particular incident is that it allows us to really communicate our product benefit in a way that’s meaningful,” she said. “Dawn is all about tough on grease, mild on skin. Trying to balance those two benefits is sometimes challenging. When you talk about a bird that has a really sensitive internal system but is also covered in this tough grease, it’s a really clear way of articulating our benefit to consumers.”