Should we ban texting while driving?


You are 23 times more likely to have an accident if you are driving while you are texting…in tests performed by AAA the results show that driving performance while texting is similar to driving while drunk.

Matching Languages and True Love.

I just read an article by Kathleen Doheny that made me pause and reflect about the friends I have met over the years. She suggests that the next time you have a first date, forget about chemistry and common interests. What really matters, new research suggests, is whether your language styles match.

I have lived overseas so long I wonder how this applies to couples where even the languages themselves don’t match.

The kind of language style the researchers focused on was the use of such words as personal pronouns (I, his, their); articles (a, the); prepositions (in, under), and adverbs (very, rather) — the types of words most people don’t give much thought to.

But when this language style is in synch with someone else’s, well, the sparks might just fly, said study author James Pennebaker, the chair of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He and his colleagues evaluated the language style of men and women who were speed dating and found that the more it matched, the better. When speed daters picked their matches, they tended to go for those whose language style matched their own, he found.

“You are four times more likely to match and probably go on a date if your language style matching is even just above average,” he said.

In a second study, Pennebaker’s team looked at couples’ instant message exchanges and SMS and found that language style matching mattered there, too. Participants were age 19, on average, many of them living in different towns as they attended school.

“These are wonderful groups to study,” Pennebaker said. “They have notoriously unstable relationships.”

They had to be dating at least six months. “What we found is if their IMs were high in language style matching they were much more likely to be together three months later,” he said.

Those with the highest matching, he said, “were 50% more likely to be dating at follow-up.”

Some experts think you are attracted to a person and begin to talk like them. Others say when someone talks like you, you are attracted to them.

I think it may be a bit of both, and paying attention to the other person counts too. I have certainly heard the phrase, “Are you listening to me?” uttered to me in anger a few times in my life from a frustrated woman.

The new study shows that, “…the words we choose in everyday interactions are related to the success of our relationships, including whether the relationship progresses from a casual meeting to a romantic relationship and whether we resolve conflicts.”

Burst of Mobile Giving Adds Millions in Relief Funds

Old-fashioned television telethons can stretch on for hours. But the latest charity appeal is short enough for Twitter: “Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to @RedCross relief.”


In the aftermath of the earthquake many Americans are reaching for their cellphones to make a donation via text message. And plenty of them are then spreading the word to others on sites like Twitter.

The American Red Cross which is working with a mobile donations firm called mGive, said Thursday that it had raised more than $5 million this way.

“There is an enormous outpouring for this effort,” said Wendy Harman, social media manager at the Red Cross. “It’s such an easy way to give and pass around through social sites on the Web.”

The mobile donations are part of a larger surge of money flowing to the relief effort. The Red Cross said it had collected nearly $35 million as of Thursday night, surpassing the amounts it received in the same time period after Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami.

“When something like this happens, it’s incredibly frustrating because there isn’t much that we can do,” said Laura Fitton, a media consultant who has raised money for charity on Twitter. “It helps to be able to at least make a gesture, and that is what is catching on.”

The Red Cross expects that donations made through more established channels — writing a check or on the Web — will still far outweigh text-message giving. But the cellphone campaign may be reaching people who might not otherwise have made the effort to get involved.

Convenience is one factor in the campaign’s success. People simply send a designated word to a five- or six-digit number and then confirm that they want to give, and the donation is charged to their wireless bill. At the end of the month, the carriers transfer the contributions to a service provider like mGive, which passes them on to the charity.

Victoria’s Secret runs mobile campaign for new Chicago store

As part of a stealth push begun earlier this year nationwide, lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret is now running a mobile campaign to drive traffic to a new store opening this week in Chicago.

The mobile components comprise SMS and Bluetooth to direct foot traffic to the new Victoria’s Secret store opening Thursday, Oct. 22 on Chicago’s prestigious Michigan Avenue between Chicago and Superior streets.

Outdoor media including posters and billboards have different messages to encourage passersby to opt in to receive news, information and alerts as well as coupons for Victoria’s Secret merchandise. 
Victoria’s Secret is the nation’s leading maker and retailer of lingerie, melding technology, models and media to generate interest in its merchandise, store openings and events.

The campaign effort for Chicago includes outdoor, online and mobile media.

For example, one 48-inches-by-70-inches poster shows a statuesque Victoria’s Secret model wearing nothing but black lingerie and a come-hither look. The headline reads, “Victoria’s Secret Michigan Avenue between Chicago & Superior.” A line below says, “Now open.”

Copy on the outdoor ad reads, “Go to to vote for Chicago’s sexiest people and places (and get a free panty when you buy a bra).” The mobile callout reads: “Text CHICAGO to ANGEL (26435) for exclusive mobile offers and alerts.”

Texting that common short code returns this message: “UR signed up 4 Victoria’s Secret alerts! Look 4 offers & new product info. Up to 8 msg/mth. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for Help. Msg&Data rates may apply”.

These text messages will comprise alerts as well as special offers and coupons for consumers to redeem online or in-store.
Another poster of the same size and with the identical image and headline has copy that reads, “Activate Bluetooth outside our new Michigan Avenue store for free downloads and offers.”

Once consumers accept a Bluetooth invitation, they will get a jpeg visual coupon which they can show in the store and get access to a promotion. Plans may also call for a video.

The BlueZone is powered by 5th Finger, the San Francisco-based mobile marketing firm that is handling the Victoria’s Secret ongoing mobile programs nationwide as well as this new Chicago push.

In addition, the retailer is running another outdoor ad pushing Bluetooth downloads, this one with a sultry model in only lace panties. The headline reads, “Angel zone ahead. Activate Bluetooth for free downloads and offers.”

The Bluetooth effort is new for Victoria’s Secret. The text and Bluetooth effort are part of a national loyalty program run by Victoria’s Secret to build its opted-in mobile database.
The retailer is fast becoming adept at using other media to drive traffic to mobile and vice versa.

Visitors to the site at will see a video of Victoria’s Secret models sashaying down the ramp during a fashion show. Once the brief clip is over, the page settles to a shot of a model next to a calendar countdown.

The site’s homepage is headlined, “The wings have landed on Michigan Avenue.” Copy reads, “Take your pic in front of the wings and text or email to”

Next to that copy is a link to a legal page and also a box to upload pictures taken preferably with the mobile phone to the site.

Below that copy is an image of the store on 734 North Michigan Avenue. Clicking on the link takes consumers to another page with a larger graphic of the store as it would look. Copy touts the glamour and luxury on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile as well as the concierge, VIP fitting rooms, personal shopping and courier services.

A section on the same site allows visitors to sign up for email and mobile alerts. The SMS alerts require consumers to enter their first and last names and mobile number and check a box to signify opt in. The obligatory disclaimer with STOP for SMS opt out is mentioned.

Victoria’s Secret is also encouraging mobile signups through emails sent to its opted-in database of customers and prospects.

Angels sited
 The latest campaign comes five months after Victoria’s Secret launched a dedicated mobile Web site, with concurrent plans to target its mobile database of opted-in consumers with exclusive offers, event coverage and new product information.

Consumers can sign up for alerts on the mobile site at or text the keyword START to the short code 26435 (ANGEL).

All text message communication with consumers will include a link to the mobile site to drive consumers there.
The Victoria’s Secret mobile site features different categories and shopping bags.

Gift cards can be bought right from the mobile site. Consumers can also locate and map the closest Victoria’s Secret store to them.

What’s most impressive about the site is that women can actually browse and then buy products right from their mobile phones, with the same secure settings that the retailer’s Web site provides.

Of course, it helps to retain some of the same sass that is seen at Victoria’s Secret fashion shows. For example, the main menu on the mobile site offers visitors a list of the “Most Wanted Bras.”

Mobile Marketing, The Big Picture

Years from now, when the mobile phone really is the remote control for life, historians will best be in position to gauge the 2007-09 contributions of Steve Jobs and Apple’s iPhone.

One may argue that the iPhone did more for the advancement of mobile marketing than any other piece of hardware.

According to a recent survey from Crowd Science, 38 percent of smart phone owners who don’t own an Apple iPhone would “probably” or “definitely” switch when making their next purchase. That article isn’t looking to demystify the iPhone, but it does aim to highlight an important point: Despite the unbounded enthusiasm for the device and the mania surrounding its mobile applications, the iPhone represents only a small fraction of today’s opportunity for marketers.
As of the end of second-quarter 2009, Apple had sold “only” 26 million iPhones, according to Apple (I agree the number is incredibly impressive, but let me finish). What this means is that there are approximately 244 million mobile phone subscribers in the U.S. who are not using the iPhone, according to statistics provided by CTIA.

Translation: If you are dedicating a significant amount of your marketing budget and effort to targeting just 9 percent of your potential audience, you’re selling yourself short.

The reality is that mobile marketing is not a one-hit wonder, but rather a robust pyramid comprised of several layers that individually and collectively can elevate a brand’s awareness and drive positive consumer action. At the bottom is SMS. According to CTIA, more than 160 million people in the U.S. are on a text plan and the average age of a “texter” is 38. Taking these numbers into account it should surprise no one to discover that SMS gives brands the greatest reach and taps into the behaviors and interests of hundreds of millions, all through a simple 160-character message. SMS is a proven mobile-marketing weapon that is driving brand awareness right now.
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As you move up the pyramid, the next layer introduces mobile Web/WAP sites. According to the Kelsey Group, there are 54.5 million mobile Internet users on a regular basis. Add to that the fact that more than 172 million phones are capable of browsing the Web and it’s easy to the see the value these sites can bring to a brand.

Moving up the pyramid, you come to the social networking tier. Did you know that in January alone, comScore reports more than 27 million people accessed a social networking site from their mobile phone? Furthermore, experts from CCS Insight recently released the results of “Report on Mobile Internet Usage, 2009,” which found that a third of young adults are regularly accessing Facebook and Twitter from their mobile phones. By creating a branded Facebook page, companies can connect with this audience, giving them a chance to engage with the brands they care about as well as other brand devotees, all from their mobile phone.

On the next tier of our pyramid resides the mobile banner ad. The banner has been a core component of online advertising campaigns for years and now is making its mark in the mobile world. One example is Wiley Publishing. As part of its mobile marketing campaign, the makers of the For Dummies series launched a series of banners ads that in about three months delivered more than 1.3 million impressions and produced a 1.4 percent click-through rate, which is four times that of the more traditional online component, according to Wiley. This superior click-through rate agrees with findings from Verizon Wireless, which at the 2009 Mobile Advertising Degree conference shared its experiences. Specifically, Verizon found its mobile banner ad click-though rates to be 2 percent, compared to the .3 percent achieved from the online counterparts.

The final layer of the mobile-marketing pyramid ironically brings us right back to where we started — the mobile application. While it’s true that the number of iPhone users pales in comparison to the total number of mobile users, the fact is that adoption is growing and the power and influence of these applications will undoubtedly follow suit. Add to that the emergence of the BlackBerry App Store, the Google Android Application Store and the upcoming releases of the Windows Marketplace for Mobile (the new application store for Windows Mobile) and it’s easy to see how mobile applications will become more pervasive and influential. In fact, Jupiter reports that revenues from mobile applications will top $25 billion by 2014.

The mobile phone may fit nicely into your pocket, but mobile marketing’s limits reach much farther. Whether your brand taps into one layer or all layers, the opportunities exist to drive your brand to new heights, and the iPhone is just part of the equation.

Want a Deeper Connection? Apps Are Where It’s At

Marketers are going beyond text alerts and mobile websites to offer richer, more-engaging experiences

Got time to kill?

Use your phone to catch up on the latest news from The New York Times while waiting in line at the grocery store, or in the service-free subway. Trade stocks while spending an afternoon in the park. Immediately find the best restaurants within a five-block radius while traveling in an unfamiliar city. Or pass the time doodling on a digital scribble pad during those late-evening conference calls.

All are examples of mobile applications that are making our lives more convenient and amusing by providing easy access to information and entertainment. In our busy lives, applications make us more efficient and make time pass more enjoyably.

And while many mobile marketers are focusing on creating SMS-text-alert programs with marginal impact and shallow mobile campaign sites, savvy marketers are realizing that mobile applications can be a great way to create significant lifts in brand affinity, brand recall and future purchase intent.

Providing this value creates deeper connections between brands and their customers. As the capabilities of mobile applications have become more advanced in the past year, brands and agencies have positioned themselves to create more-compelling user experiences on mobile devices. These branded applications, in turn, help enrich service offerings that handset manufacturers are already providing to customers, such as Apple’s App Store on iTunes and Nokia’s WidSets.

As a result, handset manufacturers are creating easier-to-use software-development kits which provide the infrastructure and tools developers need to create cool applications and easier means of distribution to provide brands and ad agencies with the tools needed to create richer, targeted experiences.

Limitless opportunities

Widgetvine, brand, The opportunities will become limitless. Brands that leverage the full power of mobile applications will be able to integrate features directly with a mobile phone’s contact list, embedded GPS, camera and other native capabilities. That’s the big difference between building an application for an operating system and a device and building a mobile website. Additionally, because mobile applications can take great advantage of a phone’s memory and processor, they will provide better data-streaming capabilities for users to consume high-fidelity content.

When creating branded mobile applications, the goal should be to provide true service and utility to consumers, not to inundate them with disruptive marketing messages.

One strong example is the recently launched AOL Radio for the iPhone. This free download from Apple’s App Store allows users to easily discover music by getting access to more than 200 radio stations and 25 genres streamed directly to their phones.

Just imagine you are a huge New York Knicks fan, and you are traveling for business in Portland but you can’t wait until you get home to hear fan reaction to the Knicks’ latest trade. Well, thanks to the burgeoning world of mobile applications, now you can crack open your iPhone, launch your AOL Radio application and tune in to your favorite New York sports radio station, 660 WFAN, as if you were still walking the streets of Brooklyn.

And even though this mobile application doesn’t directly affect any commerce sales for AOL, continued engagement with it can generate increases in brand affinity, brand recall and future purchase intent for AOL’s new and existing consumers.

Another great example of branded mobile applications is Widgetvine, created by the Vodafone research and development group and based on the Nokia Web Run-Time platform.

Widgetvine is a suite of mobile widgets (aka applications) available for free download on any S60 Nokia device, and they serve as an invaluable tool for Vodafone consumers and Nokia-device owners. The various widgets allow users to stay up-to-date on the latest news, buy movie tickets, or check departure and arrival times for different airlines.

As the mobile-application world grows, handset manufacturers and wireless carriers will play instrumental roles in driving the growth, creation and adoption of mobile applications. Just recently in the U.S., T-Mobile announced plans to open an iPhone-like app store for every phone on its network. Like the handset manufacturers, wireless carriers see mobile applications not just as a great service offering for consumers but also as a huge opportunity for additional revenue streams. As a result, wireless carriers are also working to clear the runway for mobile applications to take off.

Overall, this is fantastic news for brands and ad agencies looking to strengthen their brand presences and relevance through mobile applications. But in order for agencies to be successful, they’ll need to start staffing up with designers and developers who are equipped to create the next generation of relevant mobile marketing vis-à-vis service-oriented mobile applications.

The consumers are waiting.

Getting an ‘Eagle Eye’ Film Experience Via Mobile Marketing.

In “Eagle Eye,” the Dreamworks/Paramount Pictures thriller set for release this weekend, the lead characters are driven to extreme acts by a mysterious woman who contacts them via their mobile phones.
So what better way to promote the movie than through a mobile-marketing campaign?

The effort, created by Millennial Media for Paramount, follows the movie’s plot, without giving too much away, and drives consumers to opt in for voice, text and mobile-web messages similar to what “Eagle Eye” protagonists Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) and Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) experience.

Eric Eller, senior VP-marketing at Millennial, said his definition of a great mobile campaign is one that creates compelling content that is easy to share with others and links to the consumer mobile experience. Thanks to the content of the movie, the last parameter was a given.

“In this case it was easier than usual, and it’s even more interesting because we could bring into play all the ways people use mobile phones — calling, text and mobile web,” he said.

All will be revealed…The first message the user receives is a call, voiced by the same mysterious woman in the movie, warning that “you’ve been activated” and that the line is no longer secure. Other warnings and hints come via text messages, interactive voice response and SMS. The upshot of all this builds to hype the movie, when “all will be revealed on Sept. 26.”

There was also a sweepstakes for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card from Circuit City for those who opt in.

Millennial placed mobile banner ads across its network at a wide variety of websites, including the homepages for Major League Baseball, CBS News, TV Guide and Weatherbug, to drive consumers to opt into the campaign. Consumers can join by inputting their phone numbers right into a box on the banner.

“This groundbreaking campaign is an excellent example of how advertisers can creatively use today’s mobile technologies to connect their content to consumers,” said Michael Rosenberg, manager of national advertising at Paramount, in a release. “We are delivering a highly distinctive theatrical marketing vehicle which brings the ‘Eagle Eye’ film experience to its consumers in a new and exciting way.”

This mobile campaign marked the seventh time Paramount tapped Millennial for theatrical or home-entertainment releases. It is also the latest in a series of aggressive marketing pushes for the anticipated blockbuster that includes not only outdoor, radio, print and TV, but also digital marketing, including well-received alternate-reality game “Eagle Eye Freefall.”