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US Cellular in-venue SMS initiative results in 40,000 interactions

U.S. Cellular?s SMS initiative during Summerfest 2011 increased 37 percent from last year?s program at the music festival, resulting in 40,000 text messages sent.
Vibes powered the campaign for the wireless carrier. The program consisted of an SMS vote and a text-to-screen campaign. 

?For me, the thing that made this program different from before is participation,? said Alex Campbell, cofounder/CEO of Vibes, Chicago. ?We had a 51 percent increase in participation, so we started digging back into what made this happen.

?Bands today, especially the smaller ones have embraced the media and embraced social,? he said. ?Mobile is social.

?A year ago there was a social component, but it?s caught on now. If you want to get your band out there, this is showing what mobile and social can do together.?

Vibes is a mobile marketing and technology company aimed at enhancing the relationship between brands and consumers through mobile.

U.S. Cellular is a Chicago-based wireless carrier. 

At this year?s Emerging Artist Series at Summerfest, which is the nation?s largest music festival, fans participated in a text-to-screen program that prompted users to send text messages to short code 82875 in order to have their message displayed on a large monitor.

There was also the pix-to-screen service that allowed fans to have their mobile pictures uploaded to the screens by sending them to .

However, and most importantly, fans were given the opportunity to promote their favorite bands.

When fans walked by the U.S. Cellular Connection stage, large jumbotrons asked them to become involved in the SMS campaign that allowed them to vote for their favorite emerging artist every day of the 11-day festival.

Fans could vote for their favorite bands by sending a keyword related to the band to short code 73378.

In addition to the emerging artist vote and text-to-screen, U.S. Cellular customers were exposed to the carrier?s Tone Room Deluxe service, a bounce-back message service that is integrated with the text-to-screen program that allows fans to download ringtones and ring-back tones to their mobile devices. 

Text-to-screen participation increased 15 percent in the last year, while overall unique participation increased 51 percent from 2010 to 2011, with 840 participants involved in both the text-to-screen campaign and emerging artist vote.

?[The bands] are using social to promote themselves, and now social works,? Mr. Campbell said. ?This is a sign of social media being able to drive a difference in responses.

?You have marketers trying to get a word out with zero budget, and social made that work,? he said. ?Social has really caught on and people are paying attention and responding to it through mobile.?