Cellphones the new billboards

BOSTON - In an ad-saturated world, the cellphone screen is almost a pristine canvas.

But a number of companies are helping to transform the device that 220million people are loath to leave at home into a personal, pocket-sized billboard

"We're calling the phone 'the brand in your hand' - you're never more than a metre away from it, 24hours a day," said Fareena Sultan, associate professor of marketing at Northeastern University's College of Business Administration.

The challenge, Sultan said, would be to produce an advertisement for cellphones "that excites the person holding it".

Fuelled by faster wireless networks, more capable phones, and increasingly popular data services, the cellphone ad space is poised to grow, according to industry watchers, and a cluster of new companies have positioned themselves as the middlemen who bring brands to the tiny screen. - Boston Globe