Ford launched a new mobile campaign today. You can send a text to a short code and get the following response:

“The site can be viewed by entering into a mobile browser”

Honestly. Who wants that? I’ll tell you – NO ONE wants that.

This does nothing but get me angry at Ford for wasting $0.20 in texting fees and giving SMS apps a bad name.

I wonder if their marketing agency read this week’s Business Week article about Toyota’s push to become the largest car maker and their insanely well targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

And I wonder if they also read about T-Mobile becoming more draconian with their banning of third party apps on their mobile phones?

I’m guessing not.

Update: See comments for a response from a director at Mindshare.  Also, time to make concerted effort to not be an ass on my blog.



  1. Brian Bos says:

    This is quite a harsh response considering you’re basing your opinion on just a portion of the press release, and then commenting on it without experiencing the campaign dynamics your self.

    To set the record straight, when a consumer responds to the short code, what is returned is the URL embedded into the SMS ( which is clickable off to the mobile web site. It does not return “site can be viewed by entering” but an actionable link.

    Try it by texting “USA” to 4EDGE, and then provide a point-of-view.

    For Verizon users, only an Opt-in is returned, due to the fact that they strip SMS URLs; the carriers control what marketers can do in this medium, and the consumer experience varies based on what your carrier will allow.

    And for your T-Mobile comment – that only applies to third-party applications, such as JAVA Applets, not WAP sites.

  2. hoist2k says:

    Harsh, yes, a bit. I admit that. I was ornery in the morning.

    But In general, I stand by my point. I did try it on Verizon. I got the following response: “FORD: See The All-New 2007 Ford Edge! Visit

    The WAP site is definitely cool – with video and everything (can visit in a browser). But getting a link that I can’t follow or act on b/c I don’t have a $50/month data plan isn’t useful and frustrates me.

  3. Brian Bos says:

    Dear Hoist2k,

    I understand and share your frustration in not being able to take action on a Verizon phone, since that is also my personal carrier as well.

    Unfortunately developing marketing campaigns in this medium is still challenging, and at this time, it’s not possible to deliver a consistent experience to all consumers, because of varied carrier restrictions.

    Verizon and T-Mobile, in particular, have the most restrictions placed on what is possible on their services. As an example, Verizon does not allow video downloads outside of their V-Cast network, nor do they allow any third-party to deliver wallpapers or ring tones directly to their consumers. And as mentioned in my first post, they actually strip out the click-through (HREF) from any SMS that has an active link.

    Our marketing attempts in this medium are not meant to “ruin mobile’s reputation”, in fact, involvement by big brands like Ford will actually improve the consumer experience in the long term, as carriers begin to understand that they are actually the ones holding back the capabilities of the medium, not marketers. Additionally, as more big marketers embrace this medium, their involvement should, economically, lower carrier operating costs, which in turn should lower consumer data package costs, in order to produce more ad inventory and further grow the data parts of the business.

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