Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Phone that Owns the Media...Blyk

Today at the Canadian Marketing Association’s Digital Conference, there was quite a bit of buzz around the emerging Finnish mobile phone/media hybrid company called Blyk.

Two presentations touched on some interesting case studies from the company. Stacey Grant-Thompson, Vice-President, Strategic Projects, Rogers Wireless and Janet Kestin, Co-Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy and Mather gave marketers some compelling reasons to look twice at this emerging mobile platform.

What is it?

It’s a free mobile operator for young people, funded by advertising.

Brands pay Blyk to help them reach their fans while its members get interesting messages, cool stuff, free texts and voice minutes. Blyk users can top up their accounts once the free usage runs out with top up fees.

Users receive 6 sms/mms per day in exchange for 217 txts and 43 minutes of voice calls each month.


The company was founded in 2006 by former president of Nokia phones Pekka Ala-Pietilä and award winning film producer Antti Öhrling. Blyk entered the UK in mid-2007 and by April 2008 had already reached over 100,000 members. The company plans to go pan-European in 2009 potentially reaching 40 million young consumers.

Advertising Effectiveness

From a targeting standpoint, the model is fantastic. New members go through quite a lengthy registration process that includes a detailed questionnaire. The objective is to create highly relevant matches with potential advertisers. The transparency of the interaction is what drives the users to share a lot of personal data that even social networks are starting to lose grip on.

Stacey’s presentation showed some interesting McKinsey research that indicated a 26% lift in mobile advertising acceptance among consumers if there was a reward attached to it. For cash-strapped 16-24 year olds, it’s known that a phone registers highly in the reward category.

Big national brands like Boots, Penguin Publishing and L’Oreal that have experimented with the platform have seen tremendous results with average click through rates of 29% (ranges between 12 and 43%). Not bad, since the mobile advertising average CTR hovers around 3-6%.

Redefining Mobile Marketing

Janet from Ogilvy and Mather talked about a case study that involved a community of kids that were seriously under-performing in high school. The under-achievers were given free Blyk phones to motivate academic achievement.

1 million students received phones and were given points for attendance, grade improvements and homework. The school saw marked improvement and this pilot project is now being expanded to other communities in similar situations.

When the participating students were asked if the media proposition was a fair exchange, 71% said they were “cool” with it as long as it was relevant to their lives.

Blyk is a great example of a phone company that is thinking like a media company. Check this link to some great campaigns that have already been executed on the platform. Some of them clearly demonstrate how this new platform could turn mobile marketing on its head.

Add coupons and GPS triangulation and a whole new local media channel targeting 16-24 emerges...


sallreen said...

A mobile virtual network operator based in the UK, that has a novel business model, giving away free mobile phone service in exchange for users’ viewing MMS and SMS ads. While this “free service in exchange for ads” model has not worked well in the citywide Wi-Fi space and has never been tried in the cellular industry, Blyk claims they are doing very well.
Consumer Generated media

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Anonymous said...

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