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Jane Austin: does mobile creative have to be so bad?

Mobile advertising is like old people sex – dry, boring and everyone pretends it doesn’t exist. These are the words of Frank Lipari, creative director of mobile agency Fetch, speaking at Cannes on the theme of ‘a new era of mobile creative.’

Lipari and Fetch creative Evan Dennis bemoaned the state of mobile creative today and called for a long overdue evolution of mobile. Many more in advertising should be joining this chorus.

It is a timely rallying cry considering this year’s Mobile Grand Prix winner was not a campaign executed on mobile devices, or even one created by an ad agency. The winning entry is a virtual-reality reader made out of cardboard created for and by Google (below).

As brand spend on mobile stands at a measly four per cent, it is hardly surprising that creativity in mobile has almost entirely slipped off the radar. As Evan Dennis notes, mobile is considered an addendum to campaigns – so much so that you get entire websites dedicated to “shitty mobile creative.”

Much of the problem is a complete lack of understanding about how consumers use mobiles. People use their devices for research on a bus or out shopping, but also when they are engaged in other activities like watching TV, and yes, tragically, even while they are having sex. Fetch urges advertisers and agencies to catch up with consumers’ holistic behaviour on mobile.

Mobile advertising needs to be given the same attention to detail and respect for the brand as print advertising. Evan Dennis calls for an end to stock photographs, bad typefaces and lack of harmony and quality in mobile creative. Instead, agencies and brands need to engage what is dubbed ‘pixel pushing’ or making an image pop – an obvious imperative for a small space viewed by people with ever decreasing attention spans. The experience needs to offer consumers something of value they can take away and also needs to live on after the interaction. Scalability is a crucial factor.

The Fetch creatives are asking the industry to, in their words, start to “give a shit” about mobile. If brands and agencies don’t get creative with mobile, be innovative and give it the respect, understanding and attention it deserves, we are wasting the most ubiquitous channel we have.

I work for Fetch, we’re delighted that Jane Austin covered our Forum at Cannes so well.

However we have a couple of corrections with regards attribution of quotes which I hope you will see fit to correct. It’s probably easy to confuse our two creatives and I appreciate the speed at which coverage is pulled together.

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About Jane Austin

Jane Austin is the founder and owner of PR agency Persuasion Communications.

One comment

  1. Dale Kensbrough

    While funny, I don’t think the comparison of mobile advertising to “old people sex” is entirely fair or accurate. Google’s version of mobile advertising? AdMob is very “old people”ish in that regard. Facebook? Hot and young, baby. Their ad solutions and formats (native ads for example) are cutting edge and sexy. Airpush? If we’re sticking with the sex scenario, they’re practically making porn. That’s how good and cutting edge Airpush’s mobile ad formats (like Abstract Banners) and general resources for devs looking to monetize apps are. So, yes, there’s lots of boring same-old same-old “old people” sex out there, but it’s not an across the board kind of thing. You just have to know where to look to find the type of action that won’t make you cover your eyes, haha! Man, is it hot in here?

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