What a Relief

When we heard about the devastating earthquake that took place in Haiti, most of us thought about how we could help those affected. Many look toward donating online or even calling in their donations, but, early on, what most consumers did not think about was donating via the device they carry with themselves at all times — the mobile phone. 

The American Red Cross recognized the importance of the mobile medium and worked directly with mGive-Mobile Accord to develop the text message mobile campaign where mobile users can text “Haiti” (90999) to submit their $10 donation. The campaign experienced immediate success and over only a two-week period raised close to $30 million, which goes toward aiding those impacted by the disaster.

Shortly after the text campaign was launched, leading mobile advertising players joined forces to further utilize the mobile medium. AdMob, Eyeblaster, Jumptap, Microsoft Advertising, Millennial Media, Ringleader Digital and other networks were approached by mGive-Mobile Accord to develop the mobile advertising campaign designed to broaden the reach of the American Red Cross Haiti relief efforts via the organization’s text messaging mobile campaign. 

While the campaigns will continue to run through February, the companies have already learned a great deal from them. What has been most evident is the power of the mobile medium for disaster relief efforts. What separates these campaigns from others previously developed? 

In this case, it starts with the companies involved. The collaboration of multiple companies in the mobile industry opened up a larger pool of consumers to target. Instead of placing banner ads on a specific number of publisher sites across one ad network, these companies were able to unite their efforts to place banner ads across several publisher sites. This resulted in a much larger pool of consumers that could be impacted by the message of these campaigns.

The companies involved also learned that their combined efforts led to faster implementation of the call to action-important, of course, for a crisis of this magnitude. The relationship built between the mobile advertising players and mGive-Mobile Accord will also go a long way toward rallying future support and will inevitably lead to future discussions on how to best utilize the mobile medium quickly and effectively.

The convenience of the mobile campaign cannot be underestimated. In this day and age, consumers are looking for the easiest and fastest way to accomplish a task. This is no different when it comes to charitable donations. The ease of use with these campaigns really helped to accomplish that high number of people texting their donations. Consumers could see either the banner ad on their phone, or any commercial discussing the text campaign, and immediately send the message. What was even more effective was how consumers did not have to enter any banking information. The $10 donation was automatically added to their monthly bill. 

The mobile campaign was far more successful than those involved had even dared to hope. It’s good to know that should disaster strike again, the mobile industry can effectively join forces and create campaigns aimed at helping those in need.

Bob Walczak is CEO of Ringleader Digital.