The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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Ticking the mobile box isn’t good enough

Opera Mediaworks


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June 22, 2015 | 5 min read

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The anticipation (…and if we’re honest, dread) is over for those of us fortunate enough to be making the annual pilgrimage to the French Riviera, but away from the rosé induced haze of the yachts and bars along the Croisette there is the very serious job of handing out the Lions.

If you have ever taken time to step back and review the amazing array of awards and categories representing the entire adland ecosystem, it’s incredibly encouraging that each specialty is commended. There is literally something for everyone, from data to product design and all points in-between; it’s curious then that on a practical, day-to-day level we’re not seeing this translate in the same way.

We’ve thankfully evolved from the time where mobile was an experiment on the media plan – it is now a key element to any truly integrated campaign, not only in the delivery of incremental reach but also as an enhancement to other channels. Whether it’s Shazam acting as an extension to TV ads in the middle of Britain’s Got Talent, or location targeting reinforcing outdoor messaging and events. Mobile has established its role and is set to mushroom cloud in response to our collective preference for our most portable of devices, even at home.

Be careful not to fall into the multi-channel trap however – and this isn’t to rail against efficiency – far from it, the wholesale adoption of programmatic marketplaces and a trend for more of every ad dollar actually being spent on advertising is long overdue, but there is an incredibly important (if perhaps not universally popular) point to make, especially at a festival of creativity.

Proceed with caution if mobile appears as a check box on an online plan.

In reality the end user experience on mobile of assets designed for online environments largely doesn’t translate. Think about your standard MPU – on a desktop it is competing with lots of other noise, so few words in big text is optimal; on a mobile, however, the same unit can occupy the majority of the screen, so you have opportunity to get more of your message across whilst making use of mobile only functionality within the creative.

Native doesn’t really address the issue either, for example audio on, auto-expand videos appearing as you scroll down a content stream may be easily dealt with using a big screen and a mouse, less so when a spinning buffer wheel unexpectedly replaces that fashionable article on the rise of programmatic you’re scanning in the easyJet queue.

It is also important to consider the unconscious decisions made in how you use your mobile device(s) and your desktop machine, and what you use them for. Aside from the inevitable overlaps and cross-screen transitions there are significant definitions; work versus play being the key difference, but critically app versus web too, and want versus need. It’s these aspects that enable how much of ourselves we expose through the thing we always have about our person, which is very different to online.

The data pool is unique, rich, and largely made available by device owners, but as marketers we have a responsibility to use it judiciously. Our aim should be that of relevancy and discovery. If we can’t deliver this then such invaluable insight will be lost to us. It may as well be lost to us now if it’s not being used properly.

Any aspect of data led audience enrichment is going to be useful, even when it’s overlaid from other channels, but when you have the means to further identify a user down to device level, including what the device is used for then you really have something of value. In the case of most ‘mobile-too’ offerings this just isn’t covered.

Bringing it back to the context of Cannes; are you going to start your night out at a generalist restaurant selecting from pages and pages of picture enhanced, laminated dining options covering every conceivable cuisine? Sure, you’ll find something you fancy and it will probably be edible. Or will you work a bit harder, go off the beaten track a bit, and seek out a short, specialist menu and an exceptional wine list?

Thought so.

Cannes Lions is a celebration of specialisation, where a focus on doing one thing and doing it well gains recognition; it’s worth bearing that in mind next time you run a cross-platform campaign.

By the way, we’re still shortlisting for our $1m creative fund designed to facilitate and inspire mobile-first storytelling. Email us at to discuss further.

Jon Williams, Marketing Director EMEA, Opera Mediaworks

Tel: 020 3434 2400



Twitter: @OMWEMEA

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