Thursday, June 14, 2007

Txt Savvy

Even if you don't know what "short code" means when you hear it, chances are you'll recognize one when you see it. From billboards and soda bottles, TV commercials to American Idol, marketers are beginning to incorporate them into campaigns to trigger immediate reactions from consumers. They provide a convenient way to vote on different topics, get information on nearby businesses (I can't function without Google SMS), download ringtones/games and look up real-time sports scores.

Short codes are essentially shortened telephone numbers, which are obviously easier to remember. Both five and six digit codes are acceptable, and all of them are managed by the Common Short Code Administration.

Until now, there has been very little extension of short code usage into the apparel industry. Reactee, a company based out of San Francisco, aims to "bridge the gap between the physical world, mobile communications and the Internet." The product works in the following way:

1) You select a personalized slogan and keyword
2) Reactee prints your shirt
3) When people text your custom keyword to the short code 41411, they are texted back with the message that you previously set online

The options are endless- consumers can choose to spread environmental messages, provide updates on their favorite music and restaurants, or ask life's more difficult questions (an example I saw said "Can $1 change the world?"). It is far more dynamic than a classifieds ad and more interactive than a blog entry.

Ultimately, this is a fun platform for everyday people to engage those around them. While the internet provides similar engagement and encourages exploration (via Twitter, Facebook News Feeds, MySpace posts) the Reactee team alluded to this product's ability to bridge those existing gaps in the so-called "real" world.

My customized message will most likely combine my favorite things: cupcakes, media, churros and snow globes.

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