Text Messaging: The New Wheaties?

Now that U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has eight gold medals tucked under his Speedo, what do you think he’ll be endorsing? Wheaties, on whose cereal boxes Olympic medalists traditionally appear? Perhaps more of those Rosetta Stone language-learning kits? Maybe even the same cellular service he helped tout pre-Beijing?

That last one. Well, sorta. It’s not so much that he’ll be the spokesperson immediately identified with a certain carrier–it’s that he could become the face of a certain mobile technology: SMS.

During and soon after the Games, several news stories discussed Mr. Phelps’ main way of communicating with his almost-as-famous mom: Text-message. Debbie Phelps noted that, during her son’s Olympic training, SMS was the only way she could have an extended conversation with the lad. He in turn talked about having to teach her to text, and that she soon got the hang of it–even if she didn’t type perfectly, it was good enough to communicate clearly. (Maybe she would find  this whitepaperuseful.)

What a great endorsement for a simple communication platform that still, in some minds in the United States, seems to be the realm of youth! What middle-aged consumer can’t identify with wanting to stay in touch with their grown children, and do so in the way those “children” most want to be reached?

Texting is intimate, but it’s also something people can do while on the go, whether in the pool or running around town. So it’s a medium that can either be enjoyed in real-time or whenever is most convenient. That’s what makes SMS a great marketing platform for reaching consumers.

With Michael and Debbie Phelps’ inadvertent endorsement, just think of how many more consumers–especially older ones–are going to start texting in earnest. The audience for mobile marketers just got bigger.

Eydie Cubarrubia, Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm

“I’d rather you text me”

 

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