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Clinique print advertising exposes mobile program to critical mass

Cosmetics giant Clinique used mobile to activate its print campaign within Bon-Ton Stores Inc.-owned Bergner?s weekly circular.

Vertis Communications is responsible for the effort. With the large reach that the circular has among Bergner?s customers, Clinique was able to build a sizeable mobile database for future marketing efforts.

?Integrating mobile into existing direct marketing print programs is highly effective and print, in many ways, becomes the enabler or the trigger to a mobile campaign,? said Oscar Padilla, director of interactive services at Vertis, Washington.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is a regional department store company based in York, PA, chiefly operating 280 department stores and 10 furniture galleries in 23 states throughout the United States.

Chains operated by Bon-Ton include Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's, Parisian and Younkers.

As part of its Free Seven-Piece Gift Set giveaway, Clinique added a mobile call to action that asked consumers to text the keyword GIFT to short code 266866 to sign up to receive exclusive text alerts for upcoming gift offers.

Here is a screen grab of the ad in the circular and the SMS component is circled in black:

Here is a close-up of the SMS component in the print advertisement:

Why mobile?
Vertis? strategy for proposing that Clinique add an SMS component to its traditional marketing has to do with the channel?s prominent role in consumers? lives today.

According to the CTIA, consumers exchanged more than 5 billion text messages per day, as of March 2010.

Text messaging is starting to play an even more important role than voice. According to Nielsen Mobile, the average consumer sends 584 messages versus using less than 200 voice minutes. 

Additionally, 95 percent of existing mobile contracts have SMS built into the agreement and more than 90 percent of text messages are opened and read compared to less than 40 percent of all email solicitations.

?Generally speaking, within the retail space I think that there is immediacy that retailers that are starting to take advantage of,? Mr. Padilla said. ?SMS has been around for a while but retailers have been slow to adopt it.

?The great thing about it is that brands are able to leverage their existing print assets such as store signage, POS material, circulars and such, and add a new dimension to it by exposing a call to action for mobile,? he said. 

With the Clinique program specifically, the CPG company was able to reach a critical mass through an existing, more traditional method of marketing ? the circular ? but made it a two-way conversation by letting consumers chime in by texting-in.

The mobile database that was built (as opposed to bought) is gold, since consumers actually confirmed they are interested in hearing from Clinique in the future.

Future programs have high potential redemption, since consumers have opted-in.

?We basically added an interactive component to their overall print strategy and increased their footprint of distribution,? Mr. Padilla said. ?We would not be able to get the distribution without the print component.

?Really the key to what we are doing is that we leverage all media,? he said.