You get a new text message and, to your surprise, it tells you to report to your local Army recruitment centre - not a pleasant image in an era of international conflict. Welcome to the world of SMS advertising: 160 characters of marketing message delivered straight to your mobile phone.
Businesses are rapidly taking up the opportunities offered by this new channel and we can expect a rapid increase in the number of campaigns.
However, the EC wants to bring in new Europe-wide legislation banning the sending of SMS (or e-mail) marketing messages to people who have not expressly agreed to receive them. In addition, the Advertising Standards Authority has already ruled against the 'conscription' campaign mentioned above. But implementation of the EC's initiative may be a long way off, while the ASA relies on tip-offs. So next time your phone beeps, it may not be quite the message you were expecting.