When you gotta go, you gotta text.

SMS Not Just Bathroom HumorIn order to combat vandalism in public bathrooms, Finland – the mobile-savviest country in the world – is turning to SMS. According to Helsingin Sanomat, Finland\’s largest newspaper, the Road Administration there has developed a system in which the bladder-challenged must text the word OPEN to a short code listed on a bathroom stall. This will unlock said stall. The idea is that vandals will be less likely to deface a toilet if authorities have their phone numbers stored in a database and linked to that exact loo.

Hmm, could the same technology be used to regulate \”glory holes\”? Seriously, though, I think it\’s a brilliant idea – and one that could be leveraged by marketers in the future. Since these are public toilets alongside major highways, it\’s likely that many bathroom patrons will also be long-distance travelers. To add to government coffers (and perhaps relieve the Finnish citizenry of some of their infamous taxes) the database could be used by paying advertisers to market to hungry, weary road warriors. Here\’s how:

Since the cellular numbers will be stored in a database that links the phones to a particular bathroom, the location of the bathroom-user will be known. If the database is maintained with the right platform, it would be possible to immediately sort these numbers into the right database \”group\” according to bathroom locations. Thus, it could be possible to send the consumer mobile coupons for businesses that are close to that bathroom, like fast-food restaurants and hotels. Of course, consumers should be enticed to sign up for such coupons, instead of being sent the advertisements without their permission. As it stands, the Finnish are putting privacy over marketing opps – according to the newspaper, the phone numbers \”will be stored for a while, but not permanently.\”

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