Start-up spotlight

Moblin makes the most of marketing on mobile

7-year-old firm has offered cash, sponsored beer-pouring competitions and developed a dating app

Screenshot of a Moblin-produced game for Carlsberg beer (photo credit: Courtesy)
Screenshot of a Moblin-produced game for Carlsberg beer (photo credit: Courtesy)

To stand out from all the marketing noise around them, companies have to be more audacious than ever to get the attention of customers. One even gave away money.

That was the idea of Israeli marketing and mobile app developer Moblin when it did a campaign for Doritos here in Israel several years ago, said Moblin CEO Omri Argaman.

“When you bought a bag of chips, you got a special code that you texted to a phone number, to find out if you won a prize,” said Argaman. “You could also enter the code at a website. The next morning, winners got a code they were supposed to take and enter at a special Bank Hapoalim ATM machine. When they entered the code, they got a prize — up to NIS 500. It was one of our best promotions ever.”

Argaman has a lot of other campaigns under his belt as well. Since 2006, when Moblin was first established, the company has run dozens of marketing campaigns all over the world. In its latest, Moblin worked with Coca Cola to flash the names of drivers on billboards throughout Israel as part of Coke’s campaign with names of individuals on the labels.

“We had an app that we offered for iPhones and Android devices,” said Argaman. “Each sign had a special connector, and we had a database of a few thousand names. You put your name in the app, and when you passed by one of our Coca Cola digital billboards, it would flash your name onto a digital image of a bottle of Coke.”

Mobile devices allow for new marketing possibilities because of features like GPS chips, and Moblin apps take full advantage of them. In a campaign two years ago, the company developed a mobile dating app to introduce European beer brand Leffe to Israel. The Leffe Matchmaker app offered suggestions of restaurants, pubs and cafes where people could meet, and included mobile coupons offering 50 percent discounts off Leffe at selected venues. Each venue had a “Leffe MatchMaker” sticker on the window to signal that the mobile coupon could be redeemed there. Within the venues, QR codes were used to encourage users to download the app by scanning the code.

Mobin’s most ambitious campaign was perhaps the one it ran for Carlsberg, which offered, the company said, “a true 360 degree experience.” An iPad game was created to increase identification with the brand, in which players had to pour as many perfect glasses of Carlsberg as they could within 60 seconds. But the app wasn’t available in the app store; the only way one could play was when a Carlsberg rep offered a pub patron the opportunity to play it on a “special” iPad, using Bluetooth to send messages out on devices of people within a 100-meter radius of the iPad.

Meanwhile, Moblin also developed a Facebook app of the game, with winners getting a coupon, sent by SMS, that they could redeem at a nearby pub for a Carlsberg. In addition, it designed a mobile minisite with a “touch” gimmick to pour a virtual beer, which sent users to a page where they could see the location of the 80 bars participating including a map, navigation ability and a link to Facebook. “It was a true 360 degree mobile activity,” said Argaman, utilizing iPads, Facebook, a mobile couponing service, Bluetooth, and even QR codes (which, when read by a device, qualified a consumer for prizes like T-shirts, etc.).

Aragaman expects Moblin to continue growing.

“More companies than ever realize that they need a presence on mobile devices, as their use continues to grow. Budgets for cellular ad campaigns are growing, and methods to ensure success are becoming more important than ever. There is a great demand for new and innovative tools to reach consumers.”

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