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Mobile phones are a potential gold mine for advertisers, the most personal and intimate way to communicate and engage with subscribers more than 2 billion of them and counting worldwide.
Yet the advertisers' two-liner text pitches have largely fueled a growing hate club, with recipients quickly equating the messages with spam they abhor on desktops.
Now, thanks to improved technologies, advertisers believe they have struck upon the formula for getting their messages across without irking consumers. The development is important given the mobile handset's promise to be a "third screen" after the television and the desktop computer.
Several blue-chip brands like Nokia Corp. and McDonald's Corp. have been experimenting with interactive ads on cell phones, taking advantage of the device's ability to know where you are. Customers have the option of finding the nearest retail or restaurant outlet with the press of a key.
Others partner with search engines and e-mail services to slip in an ad or two, similar to how Google has mastered the use of e-mail and search keywords on the desktop to help determine which topics users find interesting and, in turn, what ads appear.