Chicago’s Field Museum Goes Mobile

By Oct 01, 2009

Ever feel the urge to chuck the cubicle life, swap your Blackberry for a blue beard, and swash and buckle around the Spanish Main? Visitors to the “Real Pirates” exhibit at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History can literally hear the call of the pirate life by texting to a short code. ■ The exhibit documents the history of the Whydah, a British slave ship turned to piracy in the 18th century; it opened in May and runs through October. As part of its first-ever SMS campaign, the Field Museum and agency DDB Chicago called on LNS Mobile to extend engagement with the event beyond its walls using mobile. Opt-in users can get pirate quizzes, a treasure hunt Q&A, and downloadable free ringtones such as a call to “answer yer phone, ye scalawag!” ■ The campaign drew more than 1,200 unique opt-ins by mid-August, sent more than 7,500 text messages, and delivered thousands of recorded calls featuring pirate voices wishing friends happy birthday or inviting them to join the crew. ■ “The Field as an institution was not necessarily engaged with mobile, and for their first effort, I think this has been great,” says David Spear, LNS’ EVP of business development. “It really opens their eyes to a technology they can leverage for future exhibits.”
— Brian Quinton


WiFi Workaround: Don’t be so sure how many of your Web visitors come to your site from standard PCs. Some of those touches may be from an iPhone via WiFi rather than AT&T’s overburdened 3G network.

According to San Francisco-based WiFi provider Meraki, 32% of the devices logged into its WiFi network were from Apple, up from 14% in June 2008.

Much of that growth came from the new iPhone and iPod Touch devices, which can work over WiFi. But Intel-based devices (read Windows laptops) were down to 19% of the access points this year, from 24% in June 2008.

Likely conclusion: People are getting around wireless carriers’ slowing 3G networks by using their iPhone to log onto WiFi. Blackberry and Nokia devices were also up for Meraki.

Why care? Because even if you don’t show lots of incoming Web traffic from mobile carriers, your site may be getting viewed by plenty of mobile phone users. And marketers who don’t factor those third-screen visitors into their Web design are risking turning away visits — and sales.
— Brian Quinton

Got a mobile marketing tip to share? Contact Brian Quinton at brian.quinton@penton.com