GroupMe, the group messaging and conference calling service riding a wave of buzz after the South by Southwest festivcal, today unveiled a brand-engagement initiative with such names as Bon Jovi and the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.
GroupMe is pretty simple. Users can set up personalized groups of friends from their contact list and then sent text messages to them all, or launch a multi-line conference call. The new initiative lets brands set up a "suggested topic" within the app. This means users can opt to join the Bon Jovi "topic" and set up a message group of like-minded friends.
The result is twofold. Users can use the app to message each other about Bon Jovi (or whatever) topics, while Bon Jovi can then use the platform to send out messages to anyone who signed up to the custom topic.
This can include news, special offers, etc. It's similar to following an artist on Twitter, but through a collection of smaller fan sub-groups.
Other brands participating in the launch include Oxygen Media (home of such shows as "Bad Girls Club," and the upcoming "The World According to Paris"), and MTV (which will use it to promote "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew").
No details yet on how Bon Jovi or Bonnaroo plan to use the new feature. But expect a lot more music-related uses coming soon. Founder Jared Hecht says GroupMe was created for him and his friends to better stay in touch at Phish concerts, so music-partnerships is a top-of-mind issue for the startup team. At SXSW, it processed more than 2 million messages among attendees. On average, the service today distributes more than 1 million messages a day.