Mobile Advertising Analysis: Using Ordinary Approaches To Achieve Extraordinary Results

Topic: Mobile Marketing | Author: Peggy Anne Salz | Date: September 21, 2009

In brief: A review of buzz at the recent Mobile Marketing Forum (MMF) event in Berlin and a closer look at clever campaigns (Coke, P&G, BMW, Lufthansa) suggest pent-up demand for advertising approaches (services) that make our lives more livable.

Mobile advertising must deliver value.

It’s the key takeaway that has run through each of the 20+ industry events I have attended/chaired over the past year like a leitmotiv. However, the value of mobile advertising is changing.

At first, many brands/agencies were convinced that their value proposition was inextricably linked to their level of cool. In line with this mindset, they focused on fun campaigns around free content such as branded games, ringtones and images, as well as some viral elements people could pass around to their friends.

The strategy has paid dividends for brands such as Coca-Cola.

A textbook example is the Fanta Stealth Sound System, which harnessed high-pitched frequencies that are audible only to youth thus providing young people a new way to communicate with each other without adults listening in. Another campaign that generated buzz (and impressive results) was Fanta Virtual Tennis. The world’s first 3D augmented reality tennis game let players use their mobile devices as tennis racquets to hit a virtual ball.


At Mobile Marketing Forum (MMF) Europe, Hinde Pagani, Coca-Cola Senior Mobile Marketing Manager, Global Interactive Marketing, treated attendees to a string of case studies that included these gems. But the real excitement was about simple SMS campaigns that employed a mechanism known as UTC, or under the cap (unique codes inserted under each soft drink bottle cap) to engage people and increase brand trust.

Coke still offers its demographic fun, free content. (It boasts three iPhone apps, including a runaway success that has been downloaded 500,000 times in two months – without promotion!) But it’s campaigns that combine free content with free airtime that are the real crowd-pleasers. In fact, this winning combination has allowed Coke in India to count a whopping 5 million responses in just four months. Coke in Germany has also run a similar campaign, offering customers three minutes or three SMS free of charge.

Read between the lines, and value has new meaning. It’s still about delivering cool content, but it’s also about delivering a service that teens (and their parents) appreciate.  As Hinde put it: “(With these campaigns) we gain teens’ trust and please their moms.”


Another company that benefits from a sharp focus on sensible service is P&G.

In fact, the presentation from Dagmara Brylak, Proctor & Gamble’s CEEMEA Mobile Subject Matter Expert, was my personal favorite because it illustrated how brands can deliver value by providing guidance, advice and education. (All the more important that brands take this responsibility since the mobile screen is the only screen in emerging markets.)

Case in point: an ingenious text-to-win campaign for Pampers diapers in the Philippines to increase brand loyalty and boost sales. Rather than offer the usual mix of coupons, free samples and assorted goodies, P&G cleverly chose to focus on what matters most to young mothers: their babies.

Understanding the importance of higher education in the region and the anxiety of new mothers about their toddler’s future, P&G offered participants the chance to win a free university scholarship for their child. Predictably, the campaign was an overwhelming success.

But it didn’t stop there. To create an on-going dialogue with the customer P&G launched a brilliant campaign to deliver young mothers healthcare information relevant to their own baby’s stage of development. (Moms gladly volunteered their baby’s date of birth to P&G because the value-add they received in return was so significant.)

Connect the dots, and P&G delivers more than a mobile advertising message. It delivers a public service that customers appreciate.


After the event I caught up with Paul Berney MMA Managing Director, Europe, after the event to compare notes and observations. Kudos to Paul and his team for organizing a high-caliber event that showcased key learnings and best practice from an exciting roster of global brands including Nike Turkey, Coca-Cola, BMW, Lufthansa, Proctor & Gamble, Autotrader, Deutsche Post, Pepsi, Nestlé and BBC Worldwide, to name a few.

We agreed that this event (with its impressive line-up of brands and solid focus on ROI, response rates and other key metrics) represented a welcome departure from the hype that has characterized the vast majority of mobile advertising events.

As Paul put it: There is a “groundswell of understanding” among brands and agencies that mobile is part of the marketing mix. More importantly, brands are thinking through where “mobile fits in the customer journey.”

An excellent example is Lufthansa. At the MMF Marcus Casey, Lufthansa Head of E-Commerce and Mobile, walked us through the airline’s end-to-end mobile-only service that allows people to check in, select their seats and receive a boarding pass directly to their mobile phone in only five steps. Some figures that speak volumes (literally):

•    Pageviews: approx. 1.5 million per month
•    Number of customers using the mobile boarding pass service: 90,000 per month with 60 percent email and 40 percent via SMS
•    Visits since launch: +11 percent growth month over month (steady)

Encouraged by these results Marcus said Lufthansa will focus efforts on moving its mobile service portal into a full-fledged sales channel, complete with up-to-date travel information, commerce (to book flights on the fly) and after-sales extras including baggage tracing.

The takeaway: A paradigm shift takes places when technology becomes invisible in our lives. I would argue the same holds true for truly valuable mobile advertising. When it is so firmly established in our lives, then we can conclude that the industry is out of the bowling alley and well across the chasm. (To borrow from the must-read high-tech marketing book by Geoffrey A. Moore.)

The MMF showcased many positive examples of what can happen when mobile is properly integrated in the customer journey. Brands that get this right deliver real value – and examples such as P&G open up a world of possibilities.

P&G has placed mobile at the center of an exciting value proposition that transforms adverting into educational content. Mobile isn’t another screen – it is the way mothers in the Philippines learn how to care for their babies. Put another way, the P&G brand message has become part of the how these people live their lives.

Granted, fun is still a selling point. (As Marc Mielau, BMW Head of Digital Media, pointed out: Mobile advertising value is about “saving time or killing time,” so lots of potential in campaigns that entertain us or simplify our lives.) But it may be the more common-sense campaigns (tuned into the lifestyles, life stages and personal concerns of the people they want to reach) that deliver real value and real results.


By way of background, Marc’s full presentation (and video) is available here. A highlight: his lessons learned at a glance.

1.    Mobile does not function in a vacuum.
2.    Mobile marketing has to deliver value. (Sound familiar?)
3.    Megaportals are helpful as distribution channels.
4.    Users want to get inspired and involved.
5.    If you cannot track it – kill it!

Note: I also joined with bnetTV to conduct interviews during the event with companies including Mobixell and Alcatel Lucent, video segments I will showcase on MSearchGroove over the next weeks. bnetTV has also partnered with the MMA to create a compilation DVD (of speaker presentations and exclusive interviews) you can purchase here.

Finally, I encourage companies across the mobile advertising ecosystem to contact me directly with case studies and story ideas. I have some exciting projects in the works and I’m eager to hear what YOU have to say.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *