Claro Grabs Millions of Add-on Dollars Via Mobile in Brazil

ESL program translates big-time in South America

Brands looking to target mobile-happy Brazilians may want to take a page out of Claro’s playbook. The Latin American telecom’s “Claro Línguas Muda sua Vida” (Change Your Life) campaign has drawn millions of users in the last several months into an English-language learning program that costs $1.99 a week.

Part of Latin American telecom powerhouse América Móvil, Claro is simply text-messaging its 63.5 million mobile customers with the language-learning add-on. The brand began testing the SMS strategy last August with the help of mobile marketing company Velti, and they claim to have created 18 million brand interactions in an effort that will run into this summer. 

"Interactions," in this case, mean when consumers answered Claro's invitation to take a short quiz that introduced them to the "Línguas Muda sua Vida" program. Those who responded by texting "yes" were then sent one daily English lesson on varying subjects on their cell phones. Some 650,000 monthly users have been plopping over two bucks a week for the learning program. 

At the same time, consumers have been incentivized to accept the offer with a $1,000 daily cash prize as well as weekly and monthly give-aways.

Marketers for the brand, however, believe the $1.99 offer's exclusivity to mobile has been key to the success of the initiative. According to recent eMarketer data, Brazil is experiencing a cell phone/smartphone usage explosion. Fully 61 percent of Brazilians use their phones to browse the Internet, versus 46 percent of U.S. consumers. 

Meanwhile, digital-minded agencies, platforms and brands have been zeroing in on Brazil, which will see an increased profile next year while hosting the World Cup. And in 2016, the South American nation will be home to the Summer Olympics.