SMS plus IVR spawns mobile horror campaign

To create buzz for the premiere of horror flick Black Christmas, Impact Mobile leveraged the latest IVR techniques and launched one of the best planned viral campaigns to date.

Early last month, Toronto’s Impact Mobile launched an SMS-initiated call-back campaign – using IVR (interactive voice response) – to promote the Dec. 25 premiere of holiday-themed horror flick Black Christmas (a remake of the 1974 version). ‘The beauty of this,’ company president/CEO Gary Schwartz tells MiC, ‘is that it was a creative way of allowing consumers to become viral ambassadors by leveraging their mobiles.’

The campaign kicked off on Dec. 1 with call-to-action print ads that ran for two weeks in Sun publications across the country, plus a similar message that ran all month on Respondents were instructed to text to a short code to initiate a scary voice mail to friends’Billy,’ the movie’s main bad guy.

‘Hi, it’s me, Billy, I’m back this Christmas,’ he said in a threatening tone. ‘Your friend (whomever) thought you should know that I’ll be around, so watch out for me.’ With what’s described as an evil laugh, Billy then mentioned Black Christmas‘s opening date and advised recipients to ‘Help me tell your friends by texting their phone number to 34567.’ Then, with another evil cackle, he added ‘It’s going to be a bloody Christmas!’

Recipients of the voice mail then had the options of sending messages back to the senders, and/or forwarding them to other movie fans. Additionally, all participants in the IVR program received an SMS alert on Dec. 25th, the TVA Films-distributed movie’s opening day. The target demo for the initiative was horror-movie fans aged 18-34. Schwartz says it’s still too early to cite the number of participants, and that no specific response goal was set.