AKQA chief creative officer Rei Inamoto on why brands shouldn’t advertise on mobile

The promise of mobile as a marketing tool has been “exaggerated” according to the chief creative officer of ad agency AKQA, Rei Inamoto, who has urged brands not to use mobile as an advertising tool.

Speaking to The Drum at the D&AD’s inaugural Judging Week, Inamoto said that as the industry continues to dub each new year the "year of mobile" brands remain misunderstanding of the medium.

“To an extent I think the promise of mobile in relation to marketing has been exaggerated,” he revealed. “The biggest misconception about mobile and the biggest mistake that advertisers make about mobile is to treat it like an advertising channel. Instead we should use it as a way to provide service not to provide a message.”

To emphasise his point Inamoto said that brands which make the miscalculation of waiting for the year of mobile as an advertising mechanic to arrive, should instead aim to be inherently relevant on the medium.

He cited Uber as example, pulling in illustrations of its model, which though one of the biggest transport companies globally doesn’t physically own any taxis. “They don’t own any vehicles technically,” he said “But they are relevant through mobile, that’s how they serve the need of consumers.”

Speaking about the biggest challenges that AKQA clients bring to the agency, Inamoto said unequivocally that lies in the change of pace that digital throws into the mix. Despite being 20 years into the digital age, brands still approach AKQA asking for digital transformation help.

“Digital strategy and business transformation are what brands are requesting,” he said. “Either they are coming to us explicitly with that request, or beneath [the surface that] is really the question that they are either explicitly or implicitly asking themselves – how do you transform my business in the 21st century? I think it will continue to happen as technology forces change.”

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