Bluetooth Enables British Cellphone Ad Invites

    August 22, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Users passing through London’s Heathrow Airport may get an invitation to view an ad on their cell phones.

High-end mobile phone owners, meet high-tech advertisers. That’s the focus of a Wall Street Journal story on a British advertising effort. One company, Filter UK, have been responsible for disturbing people who would otherwise be enjoying a few quiet moments in the first class lounge for Virgin Atlantic.

Another company called Maiden Group has been working on a similar initiative, but at English train stations now, with shopping malls to be covered at a later date. Their ads have featured red-hot rock act Coldplay, while Filter UK’s airport ads feature the new Range Rover Sport SUV.

A notification sent over Bluetooth asks users if they would like to view an advertisement. Accept, and a 30-second ad will play on the small screen. Refuse, and they won’t be bothered by other ads in the same series. There is no opt-out provision, as the concept of such ad delivery hasn’t yet been considered legally.

These ads won’t be going away anytime soon. The article cites a two-week test, where messages sent to 87,000 phones returned 13,000 acceptances. That’s around a 15 percent response rate. In the ad industry, where high single-digit responses set hearts aflutter, 15 percent may have people speed-dialing their cardiologists.

With people, especially the slavishly coveted 18-24 demographic, tuning out traditional advertising mediums like TV and newspapers, expect these efforts to grow in number and presence. Who knows just how widely and interactive future advertising efforts could reach?

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.