I couldn’t help hum the Olymic theme, if only to drown out the anachonistic bagpipes being played during the march-of-athletes portion of Beijing’s opening cermonies. But the TV commentators suddenly caught my ear when I heard the words “text-messaging” and “contest.” Turns out that even among Olympic athletes, SMS marketing plays a big role.

Weightlifter Eva Maria Dimas carried her country’s flag during El Salvador’s entry into the Bird’s Nest stadium. While most flag-bearers are chosen according to their fame, popularity, or intriguing back story, Ms. Dimas won the honor thanks to an SMS contest. In a nationwhide text-messaging poll, she received a whopping 73 percent of her countrymen’s vote.

Details about the contest, unfortunately, are hard to come by. But likely it was either an Olympic or athletic organization in El Salvador that put on the SMS quiz–and the benefits likely reaped could also help sports groups in any country with their marketing endeavors.

If the El Salvadorans used the right platform, they could compile information from poll respondents. After someone texted their vote, contest organizers should have sent a reply SMS thanking them and asking if they wanted to receive further information related to sports–such as news alerts,ticket sales, and special merchandise offers. If the voter said yes, organizers could then (A) place the voter’s phone number in a database, and (B) ask for more information such as name, age, gender, and city of residence. Such data would be crucial for successful future targeted campaigns.

Heck, maybe Green Bay can rally its denizens by holding a poll on what they think should be done to Brett Favre for his defection. The only flag they’d allow him to wave would likely be one of surrender.

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