Brand Immersion-An SMS ConfessionAll right, I admit it, I did it.

I spent $1 to vote for my favorite Beauty And The Geek team via SMS. I also went online and voted – giving up such personal information as my email address and zip code for the privilege. Twice!

Fortunately, I was well-rewarded for my $1 and online endeavors. Jasmine and David (pictured) won on Tuesday!

I was happy as could be. Thanks in part to my text-message vote, and me going online twice, the more deserving team emerged triumphant and walked away with $250,000.

Yeah, maybe I was \”sucker,\” at least in the minds of non-fans of the TV show who probably can\’t understand the excitement. But a willing sucker.

And that\’s what brand immersion is all about. As Jeff Benjamin of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the advertising agency for Burger King, told me when I recently talked to him about BK\’s branded Xbox games, \”Consumers bought the advertising.\”

Beauty And The Geek marketers reaped more than just immersion branding with their strategy of having America vote to decide who has become \”more than just a beauty and a geek.\”

By letting voters send Choice A or B to a short code, and pay a buck each time they did, marketers generated revenue and gathered cell phone information. By letting them go online and vote for free, in exchange for certain demographic and personal information, they gathered names, addresses, zip codes, and email addresses.

This kind of has strategy already seen success, immersing consumers in brands with the possibility of using gathered information for future marketing campaigns.

American Idol – \”more than just a karaoke contest,\” if you will – saw record votes last spring, with 74 million cast in its most recent season to crown winner Jordin Sparks. Doritos\’ contest to have consumers create a new game for the Xbox spurned more than 2,000 idea entries from chip-crunching enthusiasts, and online voters chose Mike Boreland\’s Dorito\’s Dash Of Destruction, which features an angrily-hungry T-Rex.

True, Beauty And The Geek folks haven\’t yet sent me a confirmation SMS or email to allow me to double opt-in and receive future marketing messages. I\’m not even sure if they\’ve thought that far in advance.

But already, these guys have the makings of a pretty hefty database. If they\’re smart, they could further sort data by location, gender, age, or interest – and then send uber-targeted messages to consumers who opted in. Certainly a struggling network like the CW could use a few more revenue streams!

And those who voted willingly gave them that opportunity. That\’s what exemplifies why immersion branding – and targeted message marketing – is so effective.

Eydie Cubarrubia
Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
\”I\’d rather you text me\”