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U2's Smart Use Of Text Messaging

From MediaPost's Online Spin: "This past weekend I was lucky enough to see U2 U2_5 play a sold-out show in San Jose. If you haven't seen U2 in the last few years, you need to do so immediately!...During the show, Bono dedicated some microphone time to the topic of human rights, and as part of their desire to raise awareness for this timely topic, they asked everyone to take out their cell phones and text message their names to the number 86483 to be added to a petition of people who pledge their support to improving human rights around the globe. Bono stated they were looking for 1 million names and when I looked around the arena I think it's realistic that they'll get it."

"The cell phone is now as ubiquitous, and as useful at a concert, as the lighter was in the '80s. What's more, 20 minutes later, the names of the people who had texted themselves was scrolled across the big screen hovering over the band, Phone_2 allowing the crowd to see their names in lights and tied forever in the image of their minds to that show. As one of the people who saw his name in lights, I can personally attest that the experience was fantastic and a one-of-a-kind feeling. It allowed me to connect with my inner rock star, if only for a brief moment. Of course, I could go on and on writing a review of a U2 concert, but as those of you know from reading what I write, this article is not about my obsessions with rock and roll; it's about human behavior and the implications these behaviors have on advertising."

"That night I witnessed just how integral the cell-phone has become and how second thought it is for people to text message. I only started texting heavily about six months ago, but I am now an addict. In our hectic, cluttered lives, texting allows you to say your peace, make a connection, and get back to what you were doing without all of the niceties....That night, after my name was scrolled for the world to see, I received four text messages from other people in the crowd who'd seen my name in lights and wanted to say 'Hi.'... Our society is moving in this direction of immediate response - quick and concise information sharing, and continuing to allow the audience to be in control of the experience..."

"...Seth Godin wrote about permission marketing more than six years ago and his idea is still central to where advertising is headed. Just because you build it, does not mean they will come. You can build it, and then ask me if I'm interested in it, and then I'll come. If you are developing text messaging campaigns, keep this rule of permission in mind and maybe you will be as effective as Bono and company...".

Cory Treffiletti is the senior vice president, managing director at Carat Interactive San Francisco.

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