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The phone is quickly advancing as a means of pushing out ad-sponsored content that mimics some of the popular mobile advertising features.

Greg Webster of VoodooVox, at ILM:08, debuted some of the new features of the company’s In-Call Media group, demonstrating additional marketing opportunities via on-hold messages, “pre-call” messages when using calling cards, and distribution over a network of telephone audio outlets such as 1-800-FREE-411, radio stations and major call centers. Many of the major functions include sending information to your mobile phone and being able to push a button to get extended information beyond a typical :09 message now utilized on the network. The ICM interface allows advertisers to set up their own campaign, direct it to specific states and even defined DMAs.

Two case studies clearly showed the power of this emerging media. One study involved the promotion of an event aimed at Hispanics by Food4Less, which utilized “pre-call” messages on calling cards used in identified Hispanic communities. The net result of this campaign was a 40 percent increase in awareness, a 15 percent increase in attendance and a 35 percent increase in new customers. Another approach used by Buena Vista International targeted radio station on-hold messages to promote a limited release movie aimed at teen girls.  The real aim of this new media approach is to take advantage of lost sales opportunities while customers are on hold with messages that are more relevant and appealing rather than simply playing “Muskrat Love” or “your call is important to us.” Much like mobile phone advertising, in-call media aims to provide a more intimate connection with customers to drive specific actions or to raise awareness. 

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