18 July 2004


What's next? Having spent most of my life in advertising, I am all for new ideas and channels - as long as they do not impose on people's privacy. I ran across this article on the Mobile Technology Weblog and thought about my own experience in London when I had forgotten to turn off bluetooth on my mobile.

  • July 16, 2004

" The Economist Bluejacks

According to Campaign (no link as it's old media) The Economist has been bluejacking in Asia

The opportunity to bluejack ( sending messages via Bluetooth technology to relevant mobile phones ) saw The Economist brand first approach people at the Asia Businessman Readership Survey in Singapore with the message "caffeine-free stimulant" as the delegates tucked into breakfast .

Similar tailored messages from the brand greeted mobile phone users at Media's advertising awards ceremony this year, as well as sports fans attending the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

While I think it's pretty cool as a novelty, using Bluetooth as an advertising channel like this is still irresponsible marketing - it's Bluespam, when all is said and done.

I'm sure no one was especially offended by this campaign, as it's new and the brand is "respectable". But if you take this to its logical conclusion, hundreds of advertisements could be sent daily to every phone with Bluetooth switched on. How uncool would that be?

Furthermore, once you've bought the basic equipment (a few hundred dollars), it's free to send messages, so it's a spammer's delight.

So, the channel will either be banned or consumers will switch Bluetooth off altogether, ruining a very promising communication channel for all kinds of things, other than just spamming.

I never thought we'd see The Economist tarnish itself with spamming. What will we see next "Ho.t L!ve Fore.cast.ing" or "Wanna BI.G 0ne? Gro.w bigg3r id.eas wiv The 'Conomist" subject lines in our emails?

Can anyone think of anymore? "

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