Why? For one thing, I believe that transferring ad models from one medium to another is beyond boring. For the other, just because an ad on say, Facebook, happens to be consumed on a mobile device doesn't make it mobile.
Still, as I discussed in my first book, BRANDING UNBOUND: The Future of Advertising, Sales & the Brand Experience in the Wireless Age, far too many marketers still think of mobile as a channel for variants on the age-old banner ad.
But this year, there were signs of life, innovations unique to the mobile medium or stemming directly from it. In fact, some efforts had nothing to do with a device called a phone—smart, mobile or otherwise. As it happens, the travel category figured prominently in our best-ofs.
Here's a purely subjective look at 10 that stood out to us in 2017.
This augmented reality app from Faber Castell enabled kids to point their mobile phones at the brand's eco-friendly color pencils to watch them tome to life. They could then snap photos of up to 12 different animals, matching pictures with information about the animals and their habitat.
Among the results: 600,000 downloads in just 90 says, 76 million impressions, 4.5 million engagements on Facebook and Instagram, and more. A powerful way to educate and entertain through the power of augmented reality.
Delta put up scenes of nine exotic destinations on a wall in Brooklyn so singles in New York City could take selfies for their online dating profiles—as if they were jets-setting, globe-trotting bon vivants. All the better to inspire suitors to swipe right for romance.
It's like Pokémon Go - with beer. Dutch beer brand Amstel has teamed up with mobile AR treasure hunt app Snatch to give away 10,000 free pints to people who "snatch" and hold onto their prizes for up to six hours. Oh, and in addition to the free beer, there are 20 bikes at stake—and three trips to Amsterdam. They had us at "AR" and "beer," but those will work, too.
In another travel-related mobile marketing initiative, Russian airline S7 bemoans the fact that consumers nowadays live vicariously through other peoples' Instagram images, "like places you've never been to, follow people, you'll never meet" - and encourages people to travel IRL. The airline even provides an incentive: A special web app where consumers can upload images of destinations they'd like to visit. The app generates a visual of a ticket to that destination, and offers a discount toward a purchase of real tickets there when consumers share it online.
We're McLovin' this new promotion from Mickey D's, which turns their recyclable drink trays into boom boxes for your iPhone. It's not the first time this has been done, of course—Coca-Cola once famously turned a magazine print ad into a speaker system for mobile phones as well. But that doesn't make McDonald's promo any less fun (our loud).
KLM Airlines is thinking beyond the flight to help visitors to Amsterdam make their way around town. Its new audio-enabled, location-aware "Care Tag" offers audio tips on things to see and do, based on where you are at any time. What's interesting is it consists of a speaker and an offline GPS module, so there's no telephony or Internet connection required. The voices even come from KLM crew members." Indeed, it's a perfect example of a travel brand using digital, data-based technology to extend the brand experience in a unique and compelling way.
An excellent personalized video campaign from Drug Free Kids Canada. Parents can send personalized videos warning against driving while high to their kids. Just as the onscreen character is receiving text messages from their parents wondering where they are, kids receive similar texts from their parents. It's a great conversation starter, and it joins a long list of brands using it for highly personalized video messages (see The On-Demand Brand for more). But here, it's put into service for a very good cause. Kudos to all involved.
Check out this inventive packaging from Coca-Cola, which came complete with removable wristbands that offer potential entry to music festivals. According to Marketing Dive, 75% of the teens in the target market were exposed to this campaign, which helped produce an 11% spike in sales. Even when they didn't win, consumers collected the bands as fashion statements. Talk about having a Coke and a smile.
This Cannes Lions Mobile Grand Prix winning initiative enabled men to test sperm quality with their mobile phones. According to Advertising Age, when men put a drop of semen on a special lens applied to the phone, the app shoots video of the sperm and analyzes it for count, concentration and mobility. This was marketing that also helped improve people's lives—and a job well done.
You gotta love this campaign, which was awarded the Gold Lion at Cannes this year. As you enter the app, it superimposes elements from the make-believe band's albums onto your real-world surroundings, acting as gateways to an immersive Gorillaz House in celebration of the group's return after a seven-year hiatus. The festivities included more than 500 geo-located "House Parties" that saw 125,000 fans in 146 countries search for AR Gorillaz houses in their markets to stream Gorillaz' new album, Humanz. Let's just say it was a bit of a success. Major kudos to all involved.
Plus: These mobile winners are just for starters. Be sure to check out other mobile entrants in numerous categories throughout this year's GEN WOW awards for more.
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