Can I Pay You to Love (...OK Like...OK Remember...) Me?

If a guy at the gas pump came up to you and offered to fill up 1/100th of your tank if you just heard his sales pitch for his store down the street what would you say? Given the price of gas today, it might not sound like a bad offer and you may even walk away liking the guy and even think of checking out his store.

Now imagine that every time you visit the pump, there are 100s of guys offering to do the same thing. You might say cool! Free Gas! But will you remember any of the guys whose sales pitch you had to sit through? Will you have the time to actually consider listening to these pitches just to get free gas?

Interestingly, these are exactly the media models the mobile industry is now pitching to the advertising industry and vice versa. Watch a video ad and we’ll pick up the bandwidth cost and even give your subscriber free minutes. Sounds good, right? But for whom?

Though the intentions may be good to kick start mobile commerce in this country, is it really doing any service to advertisers? How long before your brand’s ROI takes a dive and the novelty wears off? Is this really doing any good for customers? If watching clips get you free minutes, will you really watch them or just play them to collect? Does awareness really mean anything if saturation results in lower recall, zero engagement and mostly irrelevance?

I applaud the wireless guys for at least trying but I do think there’s a better way. One where relevance is personal and NOT based on just a previous action taken by the potential customer. Previous actions like selecting which clips I’ll watch doesn’t reveal intent or context.

Something better is coming though...I’ve got an idea or two in the general direction :)

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