Thursday’s Musings

Nov 1, 2012

By: Vanessa Horwell, Chief Visibility Officer

The Fat Finger Effect
I read an article in the New York Times yesterday called “Advertising Relearned for Mobile” and came up with my own alternative… “The Fat Finger Effect.” Relying on the “fat finger effect,” can’t be sound mobile ad strategy. Never underestimate a company’s ability to find new ways to make even more money. Don’t believe me? Google it. If you do, you’ll find that Google is beginning to profit off business phone numbers embedded into ads. These “click to call” ads are gaining popularity and show that the heady Wild West days of early mobile advertising where it was more about miniaturizing desktop ads than thinking creatively is coming to an end.

The maturing mobile advertising environment is also an important reminder that sometimes the speed of technology’s progress is so great, that our gadgets outstrip, at least in the short term, our ability to be innovative in how to use them. From a PR perspective, it’s important to remind our clients that just because they have the ability to launch a mobile campaign doesn’t mean they have the creative ideas necessary to “make the magic work” — yet. Maybe we should all think a little before we leap?  What a novel idea!

Free Wi-Fi coming to an airline near you, complete with onboard entertainment? Could come to pass if Norwegian Air Shuttle has its way
Leave it to the Norwegians, historic leaders in long distance travel, (remember the Vikings) that they’d be the ones to break new ground when it comes to in-flight entertainment. Starting in January Norwegian Air Shuttle in partnership with Ink plans to begin offering a new service that includes free Wi-Fi on 68 of its planes, about 80% of the carrier’s fleet. According to a recent New York Times article:  “Passengers will have access to a range of content, including music, video and travel articles from the carrier’s in-flight magazine, on their smartphones, tablets or laptops.”

As someone who works closely with airline communications and technology firms, I found this development a welcoming breath of sea-level air. Some airlines view Wi-Fi as a monetized necessity, arguing that the technological restraints of in-flight Wi-Fi (read: cost) must be recouped. But Norwegian Air Shuttle, together with Ink, has taken a different approach. Their goal, as is all airlines’ goals, is to have passengers spend more money as they whittle away their flight time. But their entry into the mobile mall at 35,000ft has taken a different turn as they’ve made the service free, just as flyers have come to expect – when they’re on the ground at a Starbucks, McDonalds or anywhere else.  Smart thinking by Norwegian Air Shuttle and its partner in free in-flight Wi-Fi, Ink.


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