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Orange steps up mobile ad activity

Orange UK made a brace of announcements this week in the advertising provision space, indicating that the firm is escalating its activities in this area.

On Tuesday the company revealed that it has selected US vendor PhoneSpots to deliver targeted listing information for the carrier’s 118 000 directory services offering.

This service connects a caller directly with the organisation they are trying to reach and offers the option of a text message backup containing the called party’s details.

Following implementation of PhoneSpots’ ‘context engine’ software, the text message will be automatically sent to users with both information on the party they’re trying to reach and advertising messages relevant to the query.

“Caller experience is paramount for Orange UK’s directory assistance business, so it’s critical that our callers find value in the content and advertising we deliver,” said Jon Cheetham, senior product manager for Orange UK.

“The PhoneSpots mobile advertising exchange enables us to strike the delicate balance between creating a premium caller experience and delivering successful advertising campaigns.”

Orange is also strengthening its advertising sales proposition and announced on Monday a restructure of its Advertising Sales Client Services team. The firm is launching an in-house creative unit designed to assist advertising clients with the production of copy for ads used across Orange’s mobile and fixed broadband services.

The carrier will offer advertising clients the services of one of a team of in-house journalists in the creation of ad copy and campaigns which, according to Courney Anderson, director of advertising sales, “adds real value to our offering and reinforces Orange’s commitment to outstanding customer services.”

The role that carriers should play in the mobile advertising value chain remains the subject of much debate, trial and error. The industry is not short on comment, as is made clear in a feature on mobile advertising in the June edition of Mobile Communications International.

Steven van Zanen of Acision said that there is no media buying agency that knows how to buy mobile. He argued that the operators have a role to play in education.

Patrick Parodi of mobile advertising firm Amobee stressed that operators should “split ad-serving from ad-selling,” and focus on getting the technology solutions in place first.

Russell Buckley of Admob argued that: “It doesn’t matter who sells and serves the advertising. The crucial thing is that the next phase of mobile is more demographic profiling. That’s what the advertisers want.”

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