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MMA: Mobile is the “connective tissue” that holds campaigns together, says Unilever global media innovation chief

Mobile is the “connective tissue” that holds campaigns together, according to Unilever’s director of global media innovation Jay Altschuler.

Speaking at the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) forum in London today, for which The Drum is media partner, Altschuler said the speed of change in the digital space can be “disconcerting” for FMCG companies, especially for “seasoned” marketers that have been very successful in the TV ad space.

“We all understand that we are living in exponential times, and as fast as change is happening, it will never be this slow again,” he said.

Altschuler referenced Unilever’s brand and marketing strategy to “craft brands for a life in a connected world”, all of which is underpinned by mobile. The strategy centres on three pillars: “Putting people first, building brand love, and unlocking the magic”.

He said to ensure it can meet these brand goals it is important to understand how it can be meaningful and contextual with its potential customers.

“Building brand love is about finding in each of our brands a purpose, or point of view that can serve a real purpose in people’s lives. It’s not about offering a product to buy but creating an idea that they can buy into,” he said.

He cited a Unliever campaign in Instanbul for Magnum, which used mobile to bind together the rest of its digital and offline campaign activities. To encourage people to become more involved with the brand it ran a Twitter vote using the hashtag PinkOrBlack, in which people could vote for their favourite flavours.

The result was that certain iconic landmarks around the city were lit in those colours, and the spectacle was picked up by broadcasters and newspapers.

The campaign in its entirety generated a further 17 million euro turnover. “It showed us mobile is the connective tissue that holds an entire campaign together and makes the investment of other channels work harder,” said Altschuler.

He also said that mobile is "leapfrogging" the infrastructure and technology that exists in developed markets, making territories like India compelling destinations in which Unilever can connect with people via mobile. He referenced a campaign it ran in India, which tapped into the cultural habit of 'missed calls' to promote its Wheeler washing powder brand.

"Most people in India are on pay as you go phones and are quite frugal with their minutes, so they miss call each other to show they have tried to reach someone. We found a way to link this behaviour with the brand."

It invited people to call a free number. Once they did it would automatically hang up, and then they would hear a pre-recorded message from a famous Bollywood actor. There were more than 30 variations and each and each translated into the local language of the caller. Is reported a 300 per cent sales increase, and helped "prove" it could use mobile to drive sales, according to Altschuler.

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