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Smart loads schoolbooks into SIM cards, wins big in Cannes Lions

Late last year, Smart Communications along with creative agency DM9JaymeSyfu took on an initiative called Smart Txtbks. This campaign uses mobile technology to literally lighten the load of public school students burdened by carrying heavy textbooks every day.

Private schools and universities have solved this problem by introducing tablets and e-Book readers in the school system. However, for public school students where the average monthly income of a family is not enough to pay for a tablet, the closest they have to such device is a basic mobile phone.


What Smart did with Smart Txtbks is convert textbooks and workbooks into SIM content that can be read by public school children using those affordable analog phones. They collaborated with book publishers to load materials into SIM cards and distributed them to several public schools all over the Philippines.

With this effort, students of participating public schools are now carrying bags that are 50% lighter than before resulting to a high 95% school attendance rate and 90% average test performance.

Smart Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto said Smart Txtbks shows how mobile technology, even “œlow-tech” analog phones, can help improve people’s lives.

This campaign also gave Smart Communications the country’s first ever Grand Prix at the recent 60th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the highest honor given by what is considered in the industry as the Oscars of advertising. They beat a hundred other entries in the mobile category which included submissions from Adidas, Google, McDonald’s, and Nike.

Merlee Jayme, partner and chief creative officer at DM9JaymeSyfu, said: “œOur happiness comes from the fact the country’s biggest telco got the biggest global award. Plus, you can’t help but feel elated when Rei Inamoto, the chief creative officer of AKQA and the Cannes jury president for the mobile category, said, “˜This Grand Prix may not be the sexiest and shiniest piece of work but it surely is the most beautiful idea I’ve ever seen.'”

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  • Griswold

    nice! congrats to smart. This is a good idea. pero, i wonder kung pano experience reading a full textbook sa isang phone na may 4 to 5 lines lang kaya idisplay. hahaha. baka super condensed version ng book ito.

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