Last month, you may remember having heard about a special iPhone ad from Dockers. Its claim to fame was that it was the world's first "shakable" ad. Called "Shakedown to Get Down," the ad prompted users to shake the phone in order to set the on-screen freestyle dancer into motion. The dancer, of course, wore Dockers. It was certainly a clever attention-getter at the time, something that had everyone talking. But this ad wasn't just a one-off experimental project - it was representative of the start of a new trend and one that's going to change advertising as we know it.
The Dockers ad was created by media agency OMD and Medialets, an analytics and advertising agency that specializes in mobile. The ad itself ran within a handful of iPhone applications, including iBowl, SGN Golf, iBasketball, iBaseball, and iTV. The goal of selecting those particular apps to feature this new ad was a desire to tap into the casual consumer market - that is, someone who's using the iPhone to have fun and is already familiar with the phone's accelerometer thanks to the games they've been playing.
The Dockers ad was built using the Medialets platform, a platform that combines real-time analytics and rich media functionality that leverages the iPhone SDK, allowing ads to tap into the phone's GPS, accelerometer, microphone, and other features. It even allows the ads to work when the phone goes offline, too, thanks to pre-caching technology that delivers the ad to the phone in the background so that it's available anytime, signal or no signal.
And while Dockers may have been the first shakable ad, it's not the only one being built using this new technology. Some other examples of ad actions built using the Medialets platform include:
- A soda company creates an interactive bottle of soda that is motion-sensitive. (The user shakes up the bottle and it splashes all over the screen.)
- A car rental company can determine that a user is outside their typical geography and serve a CPA ad for a discounted rate.
- An electronics company showcases a new rebate enticing users to scan a barcode at a nearby store.
- A cruise line offers deals for users in Baltimore and Ft. Lauderdale due to proximity to their ships.
And that's just the beginning. Just around the corner we'll see even bigger and bolder uses of this technology. Think: interactive film trailers tapping into the iPhone accelerometer, YouTube videos playing within the ad unit without leaving the app, ads that target users by geography or even time of day.
This sort of technology is set to revolutionize the nature of advertising. It's innovative and unique... and it's not something that's ever been possible before. (Try shaking your TV set - it's hard!)
The Benefits of the New Mobile Ads
For advertisers, they know they're also getting a more engaged user. Unlike print ads, where there's no tracking available, or TV ads where users often fast forward or leave the room during commercials, a well-placed mobile ad often has a user's undivided attention. Mobile users aren't usually doing anything else when playing with the apps - the device has their complete attention.
And a "well-placed" ad isn't referring to the physical location of the ad on the screen... it basically means the best time to show the ad within an application... a time which, for the record, is not during a pre-roll. People hate pre-rolls, especially when they're itching to start using an app. But give those same users a fun and unique ad in between levels of their game and they're usually happy to watch, shake, or whatever else the advertisers can come up with.
Because the ads can tap into iPhone features like the GPS while still having the power of analytics on the back-end, these new ads are quite different from the TV ads targeted towards a more general public audience. Instead of just hyping the latest movie with a trailer, they could show the trailer and let you check the show times at your local theater. Instead of just talking about the latest sale at a retail outlet, they could give you a mobile coupon to use when there. They could even pinpoint you as a poor college student looking to save money on your next pizza purchase or as a young, married professional looking for new restaurants to try for your Saturday night out. They know you, but in a non-creepy and actually sort of useful way.
No other advertising can apply that level of targeting and personalization... except perhaps online ads. But consumers have become nearly blind to the banners and AdSense sidebars on today's websites... and then, of course, there's the problem of your not being able to shake them.