Using Mobile Phones

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Specific examples of mobile phone campaigning:

  • Local Bluetooth action
    Use a physical activity on a street or at the beach to approach people’s mobile phones via Bluetooth. For this you either need a pimped PC or a particular device that sends out signals to the mobile phones of pedestrians passing by. If their Bluetooth function is activated, you can connect to their mobile phones. Different options for communication are possible: make certain games, songs, slogans, data or screensavers available to them. Alternatively, you can also chat with them. In order for people to recognise your stand and signal, draw attention to your stall with music or colourful decorative elements. You could even consider doing all of this with a moving person or vehicle (bike?) and, for example, pass along a beach.
  • Barcode action
    Another means for communication is a barcode placed in magazines, on websites or on street banners. Encourage people to photograph the barcode and MMS it with their phone. You then interact with these people by sending them back campaign elements or material; perhaps a free ticket to an invitation-only event with your top candidate, or a special campaign-related present.
  • Paying or donating with the mobile phone
    Mobile phones can also be used to donate money to a campaign or to pay for special campaign material. Talk to your operators to see what fees apply. Why not organise a ‘SMS-day’ on which you ask all supporters to send a SMS to a certain number and donate 3 euros?
  • Play mobile games
    Mobile phones are a fantastic, but technically more demanding, action. Toshiba ran a great example in 2009: a big live interactive screen formed a playground to which passers-by could connect and in which they could play by simply calling a special phone number and then steering their character on to the field using their phone keyboard. This type of action, again, is particularly interesting in locations where large numbers of people walk by – like shopping zones, or squares full of bars and restaurants. The more mainstream option is to make certain games or applications available for smartphones.
  • Advancing towards Web 2.0
    The most advanced elements of mobile phone campaigning connect with the broader internet and use smartphone where it provides extra value. One such channel is, in which the phone’s camera locates you via GPS and then provides information on the buildings or places that surround you. Why not add data concerning politically relevant or interesting places? Or send people on some sort of treasure hunt?
  • Use the phone’s camera
    A common use of smartphones these days involves photos being tweeted and shared with others. This can be particularly helpful when witnessing embarrassing or shameful moments of your opponent. However, it could also be used for competitions in which you would invite interested individuals or activists to take a picture of the most powerful image conveying your party’s or campaign’s message. You could also offer a poster wall of all activists/voters who post a portrait of themselves on your website together with a message or name.

Privacy warning
Whatever you do, pay attention to privacy. Never collect any data of phone users without their explicit consent.

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