brandtone-02Dublin headquartered mobile marketing company Brandtone has launched its operations in India with Mandeep Singh as its Managing Director, reports Campaign India. According to the report, the company currently has three employees in Delhi and Mumbai and is looking to expand.

This follows the recent deal with Unilever to handle the mobile marketing initiatives of all its brands in India, China, Indonesia and U.S.A. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. The company had previously partnered with Unilever for mobile campaigns in South Africa, Russia and Brazil. Unilever now plans to extend its mobile campaigns to other BRIC nations and emerging markets partnering with Brandtone. It is worth noting that Unilever Ventures was also a founding investor in the company.

Brandtone primarily uses the strategy of rewarding consumers with free mobile airtime for interacting with brands and sharing information through mobile phones. The company uses USSD, IVR and SMS based campaigns with target audiences The company in its release has said that it has teleco partnerships in all the markets it operates in, although there is currently no information on its Indian teleco partners.

Rewarding consumers with free airtime is not a new strategy in India. It has been employed by other websites and brands in the past. Websites like Freetalkie, Way2SMS, Amulyam, among others have been providing free phone credit to consumers for participating in promotion campaigns of different kinds by brands and advertisers.

The Mobile Marketing Association Forum (MMAF) had recently released numbers for mobile advertising in India, pegging spends at Rs 300 crore (USD 45 million), at present.

Interestingly, mobile marketing and advertising technology company Velti has decided to shut down its India, US and UK mobile marketing businesses and certain part of its US-based advertising businesses to affiliates of GSO Capital Partners LP, the credit division of the PE firm Blackstone. The sale is expected to close by end of 2013.