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Mobile

T-Mobile Partners with Major League Baseball, Hawks Opening Day Tickets

T-Mobile Major League Baseball PartnershipWhile scrolling through my Twitter feed this morning, the first thing to jump out at this Boston Red Sox fan (Did I just alienate half our readers? Hello? Are you still there?) was a promoted tweet from T-Mobile that read:

Intrigued, I followed the link to a sweepstakes-entrance Facebook page run by T-Mobile, which announces in the wireless provider’s familiar pink, white, and black: “T-Mobile takes the field as the official wireless partner of Major League Baseball.” At first, still in my early morning/longing-for-baseball-season stupor, I just scrolled down to check out the entrance form. A few sips of tea later, the PR-oriented part of my brain kicked in and said, “Wait, what?”

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Puma Combines Modern, Retro Technologies to Entice Customers

A rotary-style phone wasn’t the device that led to the unraveling of the David Petraeus ‘Spyfall’ affair, but talking the old-fashioned way certainly would have been a wiser choice than communicating by email.

The retro bright red phone shown here isn’t intended for illicit correspondence–it’s a platform designed by Puma to entertain and inform the brand’s customers at select retail locations worldwide.

Adam Petrick, Puma’s senior global head of brand management, explained how Puma sought to “make our stores more like our brand” during a presentation at the ANA Mobile Marketing conference on Wednesday in New York.

According to Petrick, Puma is an “irreverent challenger brand that makes high performance sports products” and retains underdog status when competing with giants like Nike and Adidas. Still, the company’s association with Olympic gold medal-winning Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has certainly aided its marketing efforts.

In order to gain traction in the retail realm, Petrick and Puma tried to “instill a sense of fun in our use of technology”. Here’s a sample of the company’s in-store gadgets and their attention-getting names:

Unsmart’ phones: According to Petrick, the classic red rotary phones like the one pictured above are simply there to “make customers smile”. When visitors pick up the receivers, they hear short audio clips on various topics (not clandestine messages or instructions to report to secret locations).

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Pulse News App Bets the Farm on Sponsored Content

In the era of brand journalism, we talk a lot about “editorial”, “earned” and “sponsored” content–and the respective value of each. Now, leading news app maker Pulse plans to turn the dominant revenue model on its head by relying exclusively on sponsored content for its advertising dollars.

It’s a bold move that reflects the growing influence of branded materials as the line between PR and editorial grows ever fainter.

The company’s primary rival, Flipboard, made headlines as the first app to bring “glossy print-style ads to the iPad”, and Pulse just made a big move in the opposite direction. Their explanation? Mobile is a brave new world for brands, and betting on the success of traditional banner-style promos would amount to “short-term thinking”—however tempting it might be in the moment.

The fact that big-name publishers began pulling their full-page ads from Flipboard this summer strengthens Pulse’s case, because the publishers who dropped out mentioned the downsides of sharing revenue with a third party and noted that they would make more money with traditional banner ads. They also believe that, by partnering with Flipboard, they are discouraging readers from using their own sites and apps.

Publishers who work with Pulse don’t just get increased exposure; they also get a cut of the ad revenue earned “if a sponsored post runs within their content feed or if they bring the advertiser to Pulse”. The fact that advertisers pay on a “cost-per-read basis” is undeniably appealing as well.

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Instagram Beats Twitter in Mobile Engagement

Hey, it made our apple look pretty cool.

Today’s social media engagement analysis by ComScore makes us think that Facebook’s Instagram purchase may have been far smarter than many thought at the time.

Turns out that American smartphone owners used Instagram more often, and for longer periods of time, than they used Twitter last month. What does this finding mean?

Well, it makes Instagram much more attractive to advertisers, because greater engagement means users are more likely to see ads—and pay attention to them. Instagram is currently “focused mainly on product development” and is “not pursuing marketing or advertising opportunities” at the time, but “this may change” soon. In light of this new report, advertisers will be lining up to hawk their wares on the photo app.

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Online and Mobile Dependence Reach New Extremes

Unlike SoHo in New York City and SoMa in San Francisco, NoMo and FoMo aren’t popular urban neighborhoods. They’re being used to describe phobias related to widespread reliance on mobile and social media. NoMoPhobia is the fear of being without mobile devices and FoMo is fear of missing out.

A recent New York Times article focused on ‘internet use disorder,’ defined as those who are unable to disengage from online activity. While this hasn’t officially been classified yet as a mental condition, it’s being studied further.

In the meantime, media and tech companies have conducted their own studies and are using the results to coin unofficial terms for the public’s electronic addictions.

NoMoPhobia/Fear of being out of mobile contact. Being separated from one’s mobile device is a well chronicled domestic and international concern, as evidenced by different surveys conducted in the U.S. and the U.K.

In a recent T-Mobile survey, U.S. respondents were given the choice of going without mobile phones or other critical belongings. For many, mobile phones won out. Specifically, rather than being without their cell phones, 29 percent would rather be without cash and 25 percent would rather be without their credit cards. (These numbers will likely increase as more mobile apps enable financial transactions.) Interestingly, eleven percent would rather leave home without their pants than their mobile phones.

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Pitching Pointers from Mobile Media Mavens

As mobile’s momentum continues, the pace of articles, conferences and new apps has intensified. At PCNY’s event on Tuesday, panelists discussed the maze of mobile options. Editors and reporters covering the mobile beat at GigaOM, Mashable, TechCrunch, SAI Tools (Silicon Valley Insider), and Ad Age offered pitching guidance and brand overviews, since most have undergone major changes recently.

Company size, funding, marketing budgets, Silicon Valley vs. Alley location, and product uniqueness all matter for mobile stories. Startups often don’t make the cut unless they’re well funded, and it’s a tough sell if you’re just another app.

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‘Skepticism’ Is One of RIM’s Many Problems

Research in Motion has got 99 problems and satisfying demand ain’t one. (Ha… groan.) Bloomberg reports that weak sales are leaving BlackBerrys and PlayBook tablets in warehouses to collect dust, the value of that inventory reaching $1 billion last quarter. Layoffs are in the offing. Losses are coming. They’ve hired JPMorgan and Royal Bank of Canada to reassess its strategy. Maybe they can do something about this.

Yesterday, trading on RIM stock was halted while CEO Thorsten Heins delivered some bad news. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that RIM is having a very hard time keeping up with Apple and the other competition.  The company is promising a new strategy, but an underlying issue the company has to overcome may be more insidious than the already huge business obstacles: “skepticism.”

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T-Mobile Gets Racy With Its Spokeswoman

Since her debut in 2010, we’ve gotten to know T-Mobile’s spokeswoman Carly Foulkes as the effervescent, pink-wearing promoter of T-Mobile goodness. For the latest ads, T-Mobile has turned her into a biker chick, doing away with the floaty dresses and putting her in a leather outfit and helmet.

T-Mobile’s SVP of brand, advertising, and comms tells Mashable that the ad is meant to convey the company’s status as a “challenger brand.”

“The makeover from the girl-next-door to an edgier, more tech-savvy and spirited Carly is synonymous with the evolution of the T-Mobile brand,” he says.

Jezebel, who isn’t a fan of the Foulkes to begin with, isn’t buying it.

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Facebook’s Instagram Acquisition Opens Doors in Mobile

According to GigaOm (a story that was mentioned during our chat with GalleyCat’s Jason Boog this morning), bringing the two companies together is sending some people elsewhere. But for the most part, this acquisition was a way for both Facebook and Instagram to add to their dominance.

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Three Tips for Getting Your Mobile Promotions Started

The world has gone mobile and the worlds of PR and marketing are racing to do a bit of catching up. As the lines between marketing disciplines blur, so do the lines between when and how people are logging on to the Web. They’re on their computers and watching TV at the same time. Or watching TV and tweeting from their mobile devices during the commercials.

In today’s guest post, Zach Hoffman, founder and CEO of Internet marketing company exults talks about how marketers and PR pros can make their mobile campaigns resonate with an ever-growing audience. Exults was rebranded this year, and Hoffman has more than 15 years of experience in the Internet marketing space.

According to Hoffman, by taking three basic factors into account, you can jump start your mobile efforts.

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