MyScreen Mobile: An Eye for an Ad, Free Minutes in Return

For marketers, there’s nothing better than a marketing campaign that’s a cliche “win-win” situation. But despite the cliche, building a campaign that has enough winning on both sides to be a success is not as easy as it seems.

Enter Miami-based MyScreen Mobile, a company seeking to target customers with perks like free airtime in exchange for viewing mobile ads, coupons, and other deals. MyScreen is first rolling out the tech in Latin American countries like Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, but plans to release in the U.S. and Europe in 2010. The company’s idea is not new — in 2007, Blyk, a U.K-based company, ran a mobile virtual network operation that rewarded free cell phone minutes and text messages in return for viewing their ads.

MyScreen thinks it has the secret win-win sauce, but we’ll have to wait and see just how much the customers think they’re winning in exchange for having an ad pop up at the end of their every call. For marketers, having an ad pop up at the end of a call likely will mean higher engagement and larger click-through rates. For frutalistas seeking to get free minutes on their phones, targeted coupon deals may do well. But how big is that market, really?

Forrester Research’s Julie Ask told Brand Week that MyScreen’s idea isĀ  not new, and that “there has to be some value proposition” with U.S. wireless carriers already offering unlimited monthly cell phone plans, or pre-paid programs. She adds that younger age groups (under 35) are more inclined to trade advertising for free minutes, but not everyone is ready to exchange their eyeballs for more talk time.