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Top 10 SMS campaigns of Q2

SMS is continually being used as a vessel to drive engagement and help marketers build up their databases. However, only a handful of companies such as Arby?s, Hooters and Starbucks are really using the medium in an effective way.

SMS is one of the best mediums out there to reach a large audience. The channel lets marketers not only reach those that have smartphones, but feature phones as well.

Here are the top 10 SMS campaigns of the second quarter, in alphabetical order. The initiatives were judged on creative, form of engagement and execution. Results for the campaigns were not provided.

American Eagle Outfitters
American Eagle Outfitters? aerie tapped SMS to boast its social presence.

Opted-in consumers were encouraged to ?Like? the brand?s Facebook page via an SMS message they received that also included a free shipping offer.

Consumers were encouraged to connect with the retailer on the social network in order to redeem the weekend-long offer.

The SMS message sent to opted-in consumers read, ?Whoa! 1,000,000 likes! A million thanks isn?t enough? be our friend on Facebook.?

When consumers ?Liked? aerie, they received a promo code for free shipping.

The promotion was a great way to build American Eagle Outfitter?s social presence.

Additionally, the company was able to reward its opted-in users with an incentive.

Arby?s recently used SMS to spread the word about its nationwide promotion to end childhood hunger.

The SMS campaign is part of the Arby?s Foundation partnership with Share Our Strengths No Kid Hungry campaign.

Additionally, the Arby?s Foundation set up a SMS program to educate consumers about nearby events.

Via the campaign, which is currently active through Aug. 15, users can text the keyword FOOD to the short code 877877.

This campaign is a great way for the fast food giant to raise awareness for a good cause.

Also, by asking users to opt-in, Arby?s is building a relationship with new and existing customers.

Restaurant chain Hooters of America has used SMS quite a bit over the past few years.

Recently, Hooters continued its SMS push to continue build its mobile database.
Through the new campaign, Hooters offered consumers a chance to win a trip to the destination of their choice.

The initiative was a good way to drive brand awareness, as well as encourage new opt-ins.

Offering an incentive is a great way to get new customers to opt-in.

Additionally, promoting the call-to-action through in-store signage and social networks is a great way to help spread the word out about it.

For its latest initiative JCPenney continued to prove that mobile plays a critical role in its marketing efforts.

For Easter, the department store chain ran a time-sensitive SMS campaign to promote its holiday products.

The message read, ?Listen up peeps!? and encouraged consumers to visit a JCPenney?s location for a one-day event to receive a free pair of bunny ears in the kid?s department.

JCPenney proved that it is important to send out time-sensitive messages.

Once consumers opt-in to an SMS program, it is important to continually reach them with relevant and personalized messages.

Jim Beam
Bourbon brand Jim Beam drove sweepstakes entries and charity donations using SMS.

The initiative was part of a bigger push to help the company build its partnership with nonprofit Operation Homefront.

As part of its Live Music Series across the country, Jim Beam encouraged users to enter to win a VIP trip to the final concert of the summer by opting-in to the company?s SMS program with a special keyword.

Consumers were asked to text the keyword LMSVIP to the short code 66937.

Consumers had the option to donate $5 to the cause by texting the keyword SALUTE to the short code 27722. The amount was then automatically added to a consumer?s carrier bill.

Lands? End
Lands? End recently used SMS to boast Mother?s Day sales.

The campaign aimed to remind consumers to buy a Mother?s Day gift and drove them to a mobile site to buy gift cards.

What was unique about the initiative was that Lands? End sent two different SMS messages leading up to Mother?s Day.

That way, it was a constant reminder for consumers.

The campaign showed that it is important for marketers to reach consumers no matter where they are.

Additionally, holidays present a big opportunity for marketers to send out SMS messages that are not only relevant, but feature an incentive such as a discount ? to help increase sales.

National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute enlisted SMS for a far-reaching program that targeted teens and young adults with messages designed to help them quit smoking.

The ongoing SMS program lets teens and young adults opt-in by texting the keyword QUIT to short code 47848.

An initiative such as this is a great way to drive sign-ups and help others as well.

By using SMS, NCI is able to help young teens and adults through their transition one text at a time.

Paramount Pictures
Movie studios are no strangers to mobile, especially mobile advertising. However, SMS is a different story and rarely used to promote new film releases.

Last month, Paramount Pictures drove engagement for its ?Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D? film by incorporating SMS into the marketing mix.

Consumers were encouraged to text the keyword KP3D to the short code 82442. From there, they were opted-in to receive SMS alerts with special content and information about the release.

Additionally, users received text messages from Paramount days leading up to the release of the film as a reminder to go and watch it.

San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers team has used SMS in the past to drive fan engagement. However, as technology continues to progress, marketers need to constantly update their efforts.

The team was smart to revamp its mobile messaging strategy with the goal of making it more interactive and enhancing the overall fan experience.

The interactive offerings include messaging that can be integrated with polls and trivia quizzes as well as providing direct links to Twitter and Facebook in a message.

Going into its upcoming season, the San Diego Chargers want to expand its efforts with a strategy more focused on retaining subscribers once they have signed up to receive alerts.

Arguably, Starbucks reigns the mobile space.

The coffee giant is constantly keeping its competitors on their toes and trying out different mediums to better engage customers.

Consumers were encouraged to text the keyword HAPPY to the short code 697289.

The campaign was a great way for Starbucks to keep its users in the know of any ongoing promotions.

By having consumers opt-in, Starbucks is also building a relationship with both new and existing customers.

From there, the coffee giant is able to send other relevant messages to engage consumers.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York