The Mobile Marketing Mix

Chris Younger, principal and director of strategy for Ayzenberg, moderated a panel discussion on the subject of being iconic. He was joined by panelists Maria Pacheco, senior director of marketing, mobile, for Dreamworks Animation; Bill Rehbock, general manager of content marketing for Nvidia; Marcus Gners, COO of Lifesum; and Fabien-Pierre Nicolas, senior marketing director for App Annie.

Starting off, Chris Younger queried the panelists on the rapid evolution of mobile devices and wearable tech, and where they thought it might be headed. “What is mobile ” Gners replied. “You have the rapid development of the Internet of Things. Everything is going really fast, it’s exponential not linear. The technology means you will have a much more intimate relationship with your users.” The smartphone and the wearable devices we’re seeing have tremendous computing power, but equally important are the fact that they are with us every day and that they contain sensors to track not only what we’re doing but important data on our physical status as well.

The technology changes have meant changes in marketing as well. “What we’re seeing that the key currency in mobile gaming is time,” said Nicolas. “We’re seeing three to five hours of usage – up to a quarter of a person’s time per day is with their phone. Yet the share of media dollars on mobile is still very small. The brands are losing the battle of engagement with the consumer, especially consumers who are under thirty years old.”

Younger followed up by wondering how well apps built by brands have performed. “Apps built for a brand generally haven’t reached their goals,” said Nicolas, if they are built primarily for promotional purposes rather than providing real utility or value to consumers. He cited the Starbucks app as one that people have responded well to because it’s useful. But we’ll see better results soon, Nicolas feels. “The future is coming from Japan,” Nicolas said. “Puzzle & Dragons did a billion dollars in revenue last year, and is on track to do more than that this year. You saw brands like DC Comics partnering with them to get access to the audience. I think that might be more the future than building stand-alone apps.”

Partnerships might be another way to pursue getting brands to audiences, Younger noted, and the panelists agreed. “When we’re trying to think of what kind of app might be relevant to the next movie we’re coming out with, we’ll think about the genre and go to the app store and look at the top titles,” said Pacheco. “We don’t just want to throw out a light app – we’re charged with revenue generation. We reach out to developers who have already made really successful games, and have a conversation with them. We launched Turbo in May of 2013, and we recently hit 50 million downloads. Before the movie even opened we had 12 million downloads.” Pacheco noted that they had a very productive marketing partnership with Verizon, including an eight week racing contest based around the app.

‘If You Make A Movie And There Aren’t Brands In It, It Doesn’t Look Real’ To Lorenzo Di Bonaventura

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura is a busy guy. The producer of one of the biggest branded entertainment franchise in Hollywood, Transformers, named a number of upcoming projects he’s now working on, from Kidnap with Halle Berry to GI Joe 3. His next challenge: creating content specifically for a mobile screen.

“Fundamentally, you’re working against what we do when you watch on a small screen,” says Di Bonaventura. “For a movie-maker, scale is the biggest issue.”

Lorenzo relates a personal anecdote echoed through [a]list summit: Mobile Marketing: when it comes to kids, the best and most-used screen is also incidentally the smallest one.

“I look at the consumption patterns of my children’s peer group,” said Di Bonaventura, as he joked that this tendency is frustrating from a movie maker’s perspective. He works to tell stories on a big screen, although he is currently working in the digital space, “experimenting with what sticks across the board.”

When it comes to working with brand placement in films and creating branded franchises, Di Bonaventura has tremendous experience having worked closely with numerous brands and creating well-known transmedia franchises.

“If you make a movie and there’s no brand names in it, it doesn’t look real to me,” he says. To Di Bonaventura, working with brands isn’t as antithetical to creating great movies as some working in movies may believe. “Look around the room. I see a lot of brand names,” he goes on to say. “Find a way to maximize the brand form.”

Recently, Di Bonaventura worked with ride-sharing service Uber to create a promotion for Transformers. What he observed happening is that the promotion, while inherently mobile and social, worked in a way to expand into a form of traditional display advertising too.

For the near future, Di Bonaventura sees leveraging major influencer audiences as a key move for traditional movie-makers in a mutually beneficial relationship: “These YouTube stars have real audiences and we would be foolish not to include them in our movies.”

The State Of Entertainment Marketing

Jim Louderback, managing director of Boomfeeder, moderated a panel of industry luminaries to discuss the state of entertainment marketing. He was joined by Kristian Segerstrale, COO of Super Evil Megacorp; Peter Levin, president of interactive ventures and games, Lionsgate; Andrew Stalbow, co-founder and CEO of Seriously; Andy Hess, evangelist for Epic Games; and T.J. Marchetti, CMO of Awesomeness TV.

Jim Louderback asked the panelists to define mobile – what is it “I think mobile is changing, it’s very rapidly becoming the primary consumption platform for gaming. It’s also shifting how we are thinking about marketing and our audiences,” said Segerstrale. “I do think it has migrated materially from a snackable item to a major part of our lives. The ability to have engagement with your audience is breathtaking,” Levin commented. “It used to be the fourth screen, but that’s not the case any more. It’s the first screen,” Stalbow said.

The question of mobile marketing versus marketing in general occasioned some interesting comments. “Yes, Gen Z is the core of our audience,” noted Marchetti. “When we think of creating content, 75 or 80% of all our views is on mobile.” Stalbow pointed out an important distinction. “What’s important is not whether it’s in your pocket, but the context of your use,” Stalbow said. “Are you truly mobile, waiting around your doctor’ office, or are you sitting on your couch That changes the nature of the content you create.”

“Yes, but is mobile marketing really different ,” Louderback queried the panelists. “It really bothered me when I worked at Disney that mobile was a separate group,” said Marchetti. “What is mobile marketing It’s marketing. It’s where your audience is.” Levin had an interesting perspective specifically on using mobile games as marketing tools. “It’s not separate,” said Levin. “One of the first edicts I ran internally was ‘No more promotional games.’ It’s basically spending a lot of money on your agency to create a sub-optimal gaming experience.”

Louderback pursued that topic with the panelists. “What do you think of advertisers that offer a product Stay away as far as gaming goes ,” Louderback asked. Segerstrale spoke from his experience with many game startups. “The amount of advergames that have really worked over 15 years is zero,” Segstrale declared.. “It simply does not work out. The best talent works on their own IP or a big project, and games are all about good talent.”

The nature of what customers expect from brands, especially entertainment brands, has changed, panelists noted, and thus marketing has to change along with that. “One clear expectation is interaction,” said Segerstrale, pointing out how game players expect replies when they ask a company questions about their game through various social media channels. “You have to be ready for that conversation, because those people will either be your biggest boosters or your biggest detractors. You can’t hide behind a web site, you have to be yourself.”

Stalbow made an important point about how the situation has changed for marketers. “The brand and the audience are suddenly connected,” Stalbow said. “If you think of the entertainment brands of the past they were never directly connected to their audience because they were always distributed by a third party.”

Jack And Jack, Zach King And Brittani Louise Taylor Talk Creating Content For Brands

Even for a major Vine creator like Zach King, better known as FinalCutKing, “that 6-second limit can be tough.” Marketers around the room at [a]list summit could surely relate.

While we can all agree that digital video in all its many forms is one of the fast-growing and exciting content platforms for brands and creators, finding your stride in mobile content can be especially tough given that each platform and its restrictions can either inspire or bury an idea.

Viners Jack and Jack captivated the room with their humor and their casually innate knowledge mobile content creation.

“It started out of boredom. We live in Omaha, Nebraska,” said the duo as they finish eachother’s sentences and share an obvious bond for their passion. “The dope thing about Vine is you can post to Vine and it can spread around the Internet in a matter of hours.”

The highlight of their budding careers so far has been creating and selling their very own pizza at Pizza Hut. When it comes to getting involved with brands, they speak from experience. “We know how to integrate the product,” they said.

Jack and Jack make it clear that while a Vine may be 6 seconds long, creating the content is much more involved than some might assume.

“Sometimes the simplest Vines can take the longest.”

Brittani Louise Taylor, whose work on YouTube has gotten a lot of attention from brands like Hot Pockets (although she herself is Vegan) and Schick. On YouTube, she goes by BLT and is a complete multi-threat of a content creator: she sings, she acts, she conceptualizes ideas, engages, and humors her fans.

“I’m a machine now,” said Brittani. She’s not only seen growth in her viewership, but a shift in the medium in which they prefer to watch her videos: “I went 80 percent of my views being on YouuTube to 50 or 60 percent on mobile.”


This Week’s [a]list Jobs – December 3

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Snapchat Goes On A European Traveling Adventure

Snapchat, the popular timed-content sharing service recently in the news for a new advertising format and partnership with the AMAs, is making headlines once more with its first exclusive travel show.

UK-based Topdeck is behind the program, called Topdeck Snaps, calling on the talents of YouTube celebrity James Hill to provide Snapchat users with a six-episode glimpse into Europe’s quirkiest locales.

Topdeck sees Snapchat as a natural partner for their latest initiative. “Snapchat really taps into the ethos of our trips,” Topdeck Travel marketing manager Hazel McGuire said of their working relationship. “As with Topdeck Travel, Snapchat is designed for personal, unguarded and free-flowing experiences — the perfect platform to explore for our latest campaign.”

Snapchat’s “Stories” feature, a functionality allowing users to craft a narrative out of several separate photos and videos, will play host to Topdeck Snaps. The “Stories” feature, once considered a novelty with limited marketability, has caught on like wildfire with brands eager to tap into its potential to tell immersive stories about their products.

Topdeck’s ambitious marketing campaign for Topdeck Snaps begins tomorrow, December 3rd, with their first episode — featuring Hill traveling to Budapest and Berlin — being released in conjunction with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram promotions under hashtag #TopdeckSnaps. A weeklong broadcast schedule is set to follow.

“The strategic aim behind the campaign is our desire to increase our brand awareness within a UK and European audience and to challenge the stereotypes around coach travel in this particular market,” McGuire continued. “We hope the campaign will really introduce us to a 18-34 audience in a way which inspires and challenges perceptions of what a coach-based holiday around Europe actually is.”


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‘World of Warcraft’ Pays Tribute To ‘Star Wars’

The Internet has been abuzz with speculation over the reveal of last week’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. Many topics have come up from it, including the discussion of a black Stormtrooper, the use of “soccer ball droid”, the rumors about who the young girl riding the mini-lightspeeder was, and, of course, the return of the Millennium Falcon, the iconic ship featured in the original 1977 film, A New Hope.

Perhaps the item gaining the biggest buzz, however, is the new makeshift lightsaber being carried by what is no doubt a Sith character featured in the new film. Even though we don’t get to see their face, we do get to see the lightsaber, which lights aglow with red energy, with two smaller blades sticking out of the sides.

The Internet has been having fun with this, creating a series of memes from a multi-ended lightsaber to one that resembles a Swiss Army knife. However, Blizzard, the creators of the popular World of Warcraft series, decided to do a little something different with it, by introducing a glowing, three-pointed sword of its own.

The company introduced this new weapon, the Frostmourne, through a cryptic tweet yesterday, with the text “Frostmourne lingers.” The image is very similar to Star Wars‘ Sith character, with a lone warrior standing in the forest, holding the three-pronged weapon, glowing blue, in their right hand. Of course, the company meant no ill will with the introduction, and even tagged the official Star Wars twitter account for good measure.

There’s no word when Blizzard will introduce the weapon to its latest WoW expansion, Warlords of Draenor, just yet, but it seems likely it’ll happen soon, as the company has been known for adding pieces of content to the game – including a tribute to the late Robin Williams with the debut of an alternate version of his Genie character from Disney’s Aladdin.

One thing’s for certain – if this Frostmourne-carrying beast and the Sith ever mixed it up, it would make for an interesting battle.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is available now for PC.

TubeaThon Charity Event Happening Next Week

Streaming to make a difference…now that’s a cause we can get behind.

What’s Trending, a popular YouTube website, has announced that it will team up with Ford and various YouTube celebrities to help raise money for The Covenant House with the third annual TubeAThon streaming event, which will take place on December 11 from 7-9 p.m. PDT, on the company’s streaming channel.

With the event, various talents from Hollywood will come together – including comedians, musicians and personalities – to help raise money to benefit the homeless. These talents include Trevor Morane, Jasmine V., Glozell, Nerdist, Rooster Teeth and other popular YouTube faces.

Users at home can take part in the donations, and not just directly. Those who tweet select hashtags (like #Tubeathon and #gofurther) will have $1 donated to The Covenant House, via both Ford and What’s Trending. Other partners joining up for the event include Comedy Gives Back and Tiltify, who will provide both entertainment and donations. Gamers who stream on Twitch will also be able to get involved as well, although What’s Trending didn’t quite explain how just yet.

“I couldn’t be more excited to have Ford on board again to bring together the community and fans from around the world around a great cause. Tube-A-Thon continues to be a highlight of my year, and it’s an honor to have worked with the Covenant House to help and empower today’s youth that need support,” said Shira Lazar, founder of What’s Trending and TubeAThon. “This year we will continue to raise more money than previous years and work towards innovating fundraising through digital and social media.”

“It’s an honor for Ford to once again partner with What’s Trending and continue efforts to improve the lives of youth in need,” said Ford representative, Mary Ellen Abraham.   “We hope more people will Go Further with Ford and What’s Trending this year to exceed last year’s results, as well as enjoy the world class talent that comes together for the TubeAThon.”

In addition to the live online broadcast, a special 1-hour version of the event will also air on AXS TV on an undisclosed date – which should certainly bring in even more donations to The Covenant House.

Those who want to learn more – or interact with the sponsors – can do so on Twitter to both @FordFocus and @What’sTrending.

Geo-Target Filters On Snapchat Are Here!

My, my. It’s been a big month for Snapchat– from rolling out some new ad units, to getting it’s Snapcash feature rolling, and now this. This morning, Snapchat has unleashed yet another tool for their users called Geofilters.

Geofilters basically combines the idea of geocaching with social photo-sharing. Artists can create custom filters for specific locations which will only be available to use if they are in the area.

Businesses will of course be able to submit as well, but it is unclear for now whether Snapchat is planning for Geofilters to be another revenue source for the app.

It will be interesting to see how this catches on with users and whether or not collecting these Geofiltered Snaps will turn into some kind of competitive sport. Marketers might try their hand at creating Geofilters for events and retail locations as interactive, mobile and social display ads. This will be fun to watch.