Mobile Makers Target Rivals on Phones

Mobile-phone companies are experimenting with a new way to steal their rivals’ customers: the mobile insult to the device in hand.

Their new tactic involves mobile ads that appear when a person using a competitor’s phone or network launches an application or browses the Web on their phone. The basic message: Oh, you could do better than that thing.

Nokia Corp. recently targeted ads for its Nokia Twist device at users of the Motorola Inc.’s Razr phone. Razr users who surf the Web would be dealt an ad saying, “Are you really still rockin’ a flip phone?” It then suggests upgrading to a Twist, says Gene Keenan, creative director of mobile at Isobar, a digital marketing agency owned by Aegis Group PLC that worked on the campaign on behalf of Nokia.

In industry jargon, the tactic is called “intercept campaigning.”

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