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Mobile Marketing Snakes on a Plane

Yesterday I received an unexpected message on my cell phone. It was actor Samuel L. Jackson shouting in my ear demanding me to go see Snakes on a Plane, the new movie he's starring in that's about—what else—snakes on a plane. He made a point of telling me to catch it on its opening day, August 18, with my home girl Melissa.

I was a bit astonished that Jackson knew Melissa, or even knew that I worked in media, spent an inordinate amount of time on the Internet, and am so very into my hair. My surprise only lasted until I actually visited the Snakes on a Plane Web site, where I found that I could create one of these extremely personal cell phone messages myself.

From what I've read, this has been a successful advertising campaign for New Line Cinema. Over 1.5 million calls were placed during the first week the program launched. In partnering with VariTalk, a company employing cell phone viral marketing to garner the attention of consumers who have become harder to reach through traditional forms of marketing, the film company has been able to extend the Internet hype already surrounding the film.

Mobile music company Mixxer has also felt the snake bite with the launch of Snakes on a Phone, an Internet site enabling users to download and share ringtones, video clips, screensavers and user-generated content for free.

All of this reminds me of a recent FC Now post, where Tonya Garcia wrote about traditional media moving into the realm of real-world experiences that bring brands to life and create memorable impressions. She points to a recent Fast Company article that discusses advertising campaigns placed in urinals, above electic outlets at airports, and in parking lots. She also highlighted that US Airways would begin advertising on its barf bags.

And like her, I too wonder, when do these forms of advertising "cross the line from innovative to ill conceived or invasive?"

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