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.
COKE MOBILE MILESTONES
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."