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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Nintendo Looks To Bring Game Boy To Mobile

For the longest time, Nintendo has been against entering the mobile gaming market, instead sticking with its traditional game handheld systems, like the Nintendo 3DS. Some see it as a selfish move by the company, especially considering the cashflow it could clean up from reselling classic games to a new audience, but the company has stood firm by its decision for some time. However, new patents filed by Nintendo indicate that it may be changing its stance.

According to Mashable, the big “N” has filed a patent application that would allow a (legal) Game Boy emulator to be introduced to both smartphone devices and airplane screens, enabling gamers to play their titles on something outside of typical Nintendo platforms. The patent was filed on November 27, and reads as follows:

“A software emulator for emulating a handheld video game platform such as GAME BOY.RTM., GAME BOY COLOR.RTM. and/or GAME BOY ADVANCE.RTM. on a low-capability target platform (e.g., a seat-back display for airline or train use, a personal digital assistant, a cell phone) uses a number of features and optimizations to provide high quality graphics and sound that nearly duplicates the game playing experience on the native platform.”

With the low-cost processor used in these older game devices, it would be a cinch to port over these classic games to new devices. The company stated that “there may be an advantage in certain contexts to being able to play or execute the same binary images store in GAME BOY.RTM cartridges on target platforms.”

That said, the company still hasn’t officially announced plans to expand to other mobile platforms. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata did speak earlier this spring to investors about the possibility of exploring mobile platforms, but felt that they wouldn’t receive ports of Nintendo games.

Considering Nintendo’s bumpy road to success with the Wii U and 3DS models, it wouldn’t be surprising if the company did, in fact, consider a slight move to mobile with its older library. We’ll have to see what the next year holds for the company. But don’t worry, console owners, it’s business as usual for you with plenty of new titles on the way.

VR: The Ultimate Vacation Planner

Virtual reality is starting to play more of a part in general business these days, especially with Oculus’ VR headset still working its way towards production. Now, another project has arisen, this time enabling would-be tourists to get a look at what kind of paradise awaits them the next time they book a trip.

The holiday group has provided details on a new high-tech virtual reality tour of destinations, or a “look before they book” program, that could be introduced soon, according to PSFK.

These virtual units would consist of a set of goggles attached to a headset, providing users the opportunity to engulf themselves in a virtual paradise, getting an idea of what awaits at their dream destination. Narration would provide details of whatever place they’re visiting, with certain sound effects thrown in for good measure.

The company believes that the strategy is a great way to introduce consumers to possible destinations, especially if they’ve never been before. It’s one that they describe as holiday marketing, but turned “up to eleven.”

The program has already undergone successful testing at a UK-based Bluewater outlet, and will now expand to a second stage in three locations across Europe, as well as three in Germany and four in Belgium. The VR units will be packed with three “experiences” in all, including a look at New York City, Rhodes and Cyprus, each with their own specifics.

For instance, in New York, users can virtually visit Times Square while sitting in a cab, as well as partaking in a brief Manhattan helicopter tour, and checking out the Statue of Liberty by boat. The “Top of the Rock” will also be features, so they can get a glimpse at the New York skyline.

The program, put together by Thomas Cook, the VR specialist team Visualize and a number of tourism companies in each city, could expand even further in 2015, though for now, the team is focusing on the slimmer European test markets. We’ll see where it goes from here.

This isn’t the first time a company has used virtual reality to transport attendees, as Marriott previous introduced a 4D travel experience utilizing Oculus Rift technology, so users could interact with one another without leaving the comfort of their hotel.

Google’s Display Ads Cause Concerns

There’s no question that Google certainly knows a thing or two about having a firm grip on the digital advertising industry. However, some believe that this dominance could be a cause for concern, according to Digiday.

Several advertising executives have claimed that Google has a preference for them to use DoubleClick Bid Manager for negotiation of ads, which is a service owned by the company. As part of this leverage, however, it’s holding the usage of DoubleClick Ad Exchange in the balance. The company believes that using the two together is beneficial for securing ads, as a single product through “tying.” Some believe that the company is using these as a way to satisfy terms in agencies’ buying agreements, although it’s not entirely justified, especially considering that Ad Exchange purchases aren’t recognized through Bid Manager.

Both are still leading factors in Google’s overall advertising business, but it’s the kind of pressure that certain executives aren’t too fond of feeling. In fact, some feel that it could limit competition altogether within the market, and comes across as a violation of the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust regulations. The FTC investigated the matter before in 2007, warning that “tying” could very well lead to “anti-competitive conduct.”

Google was quick to respond, with spokeswoman Andrea Faville stating that the company wasn’t aware of any given FTC inquiry. Likewise, the Trade Commission didn’t comment on the matter either, but didn’t deny an inquiry was being made.

Former Google employee David Yaffe spoke on the matter, having inside knowledge on the DMB since he worked as a product manager. He felt that both teams have functioned on their own, but Google did make it a practice to pitch both as a tied-together project. “I was really amazed by how arms’ length we were between AdX and DBM,” he explained. “When you can tie them together, a lot of efficiencies are gained. It’s a reason to use a consolidated offering. That’s something that clients believe, and it’s true.”

Meanwhile, Angelina Eng, vice president of platform solutions at Merkle, had similar thoughts. “They absolutely push a lot of advertisers to commit to that,” she said. “Because it’s so much work to collect how much money you’re spending on Google if you’re running through different sources, the intermediary agency will push for using DBM. [Google] encourages it, but they’re not forcing it,” she said.

Regarding the service, Google said in a previous statement, “Of course, we try to maximize ROI for our partners by giving them the best deal and technology assistance possible, but do not by any means require any partners to use DoubleClick Bid Manager or buy on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange.”

More details about these concerns can be found on DigiDay.