THMBNLS – the World’s First Interactive Made-for-Mobile Drama (Incentivated ) | MMA Global

THMBNLS – the World’s First Interactive Made-for-Mobile Drama (Incentivated )

June 1, 2009
Submitted by Incentivated

THMBNLS – the world’s first interactive made-for-mobile drama /
Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) / Central Office of Information (COI)

Incentivated (mobile agency)

Incentivated developed a groundbreaking campaign... in partnership with 20:20 London. The world's first interactive mobile drama delivered an engaging experience for media-wary teenagers at no cost to them, raising awareness of sexual health issues as part of the 'Want Respect? Use a condom' campaign. The 22-part drama, broadcast weekly to teens' mobiles, incorporates subtle safe sex messages. PR, mobile and online advertising drove sign-ups, supported by a dedicated website,, with additional multimedia content. Zero-rated data charges were
negotiated with operators, and pioneering use of advanced targeted mobile technology, such as audio personalisation, helped build the dialogue with the audience.

January 2009 saw the launch of the UK's first interactive mobile drama THMBNLS, part of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) wider Want Respect? Use a condom campaign.

Targeted at sexually active 16-19 year olds, Want Respect? Use a condom aims to reduce the levels of teenage pregnancy and the incidence of sexually transmitted infections in young adults by associating condom use with respect.

DCSF was seeking an innovative way to deliver an engaging, interactive experience for media-wary teenagers at no cost to them, raising awareness of sexual health issues. The opportunity for teenagers to interact with the campaign was important to stimulate debate around safe sex within the target market.

Working in partnership with 20:20 London and i-Level, Incentivated developed a groundbreaking campaign - the world’s first interactive made for mobile drama. A 22-part drama following the lives of six teenagers, incorporating subtle safe sex messages relevant to young people, broadcast to teens’ mobiles every Friday at 7pm.

Mobile advertising, PR and online advertising directed teenagers to register at On the site visitors view a trailer and subscribe to weekly 60-second episodes exclusively on mobile. With mobile phone penetration and use of text as a means of communication particularly high among the target group, mobile was an ideal means of engagement.

Interactivity formed the core of the Thmbnls campaign strategy – with extensive personalisation to engage the audience. Viewers can interact with the show, and episodes are personalised. Their names feature in the plot, on posters and graffiti in the drama, and appear in characters’ mobile phone books. Weekly SMS reminders and voice messages from the characters are available. Viewers also vote on issues and dilemmas faced by characters in the drama to direct the future story line via a text response.

Pioneering use of advanced mobile technology, such as on-the-fly mobile video personalisation with interactive voice response, helped to build and maintain a dialogue with the target audience.

This campaign represented a world first in its truly innovative use of targeted mobile technology, and was unchartered territory for COI.

To view the mobile site, please visit, or alternatively



Zero-rated network charges were negotiated with all of the major UK mobile operators to ensure the campaign was free to the end user. This included all SMS alerts and WAP browsing sessions for all payment plans – a campaign first for the UK.

Thmbnls reached its target market in a personal, direct and appropriate way. The opportunity to interact with the characters and influence the plotline via their mobile phones engaged the audience, and prompted discussion of related sexual health issues. Technically, the campaign succeeded in integrating several strands of new, advanced mobile technology.

As an unprecedented campaign, particularly experimental for COI, Thmbnls provided an innovative, engaging experience for its target audience, raising awareness of safe sex. A further measure of the campaign’s effectiveness will be the reduced cost to the NHS of teen pregnancy which stands at £63m each year.

Emma Cowan, Senior Interactive Media Manager at COI commented: “It's a really exciting project as it enables us to reach the audience in a powerful and personal way. Because it's unchartered territory, it's been challenging to work with so many parties and agencies to ensure that it's free to the user, as well as get the word out to the audience to get them to sign up.”

Peter Riley, Creative Director of 20:20 London, the advertising agency behind the idea says, “Thmbnls is cutting-edge, realistic and relevant to young people. Viewers can personally interact with the characters and the issues they're facing in a way that's not been achieved before now. This is taking mobile broadcast to a whole new level.”

Please contact Robert Thurner, Incentivated 0845 130 3985, Mobile 07793 804419

Incentivated works with global brands to help them communicate with customers instantly and easily via their mobile phones. We develop and manage mobile marketing campaigns and services on local, national and international levels. Patented technology, developed by Incentivated, allows our clients to reach people in all corners of the world and in many languages, using text messaging and the mobile internet.

We believe the mobile phone is an intensely private medium. Respecting this principle, our campaigns provide information that consumers find useful and welcome.

Founded in 2001, Incentivated's fast growing client base includes British Airways, Hilton Group, Carphone Warehouse, OneTel, Scottish Power and Macmillan Cancer Support.

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