Apple brings iAd to Europe

19 November 2010

LONDON: Apple, the electronics giant, will roll out its iAd mobile advertising system in Europe this year, with initial partners such as Unilever and L'Oréal.

The company is introducing the service in France and the UK next month, and has scheduled a German start date for January 2011.

"We're thrilled to add leading global brands to the iAd Network in Europe and create even more great opportunities for developers," said Andy Miller, vice president of iAd.

Brand owners that have signed up thus far include Absolute Radio, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Citi, LG Display, Louis Vuitton and Renault.

Nestlé products Nespresso and Perrier are also to be represented through this outlet, which covers applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Cosmetics specialist L'Oréal intends to substantially enhance its digital capabilities, and will promote the Lancôme range via Apple's advertising platform.

"As the world leader in the beauty business, L'Oréal aims to create the most meaningful connections between its brands and its customers, so iAd was a natural choice," said Marc Menesguen, L'Oréal's head of strategic marketing.

"We're thrilled by the quality, the interactivity and the depth of iAd's user experience, giving us an unparalleled opportunity to reach and serve the most engaged and discerning customers at the digital forefront of beauty."

Unilever, the FMCG manufacturer, was an original iAd client in the US, and revealed last month it would exploit the same medium in three Western European countries this year.

"Mobile supercharges our static messages. It's a one-click billboard," said Jay Altschuler, Unilever's global communications planning director. "Mobile can change the way we go to market."

Christophe Cauvy, head of digital, EMEA, at McCann-Erickson suggested iAd's appeal is obvious, while consumer insights provided by Apple strengthened such an offering further.

"The sheer number and profile of iPod touch and iPhone users is valuable," said Cauvy.

"The targeting aspect, using iTunes data in addition to demographics and location, is a great tool for advertisers. It's a rich experience for users."

Apple launched iAd in its home market in June with 17 major customers, and although Chanel and Adidas apparently abandoned their plans, this list has still expanded.

"In just four months, we've doubled the number of advertisers on the network and thousands of developers now have a valuable new source of revenue," said Miller.

Alexandre Mars, chief executive of Phonevalley, a mobile agency owned by Publicis Groupe, argued the response among firms utilising iAd in America was largely, but not exclusively, positive.

"They had some issues with the timing. The interaction with Apple was not easy," said Mars.

Campbell Soup employed this route while running executions which "steamed up" the screen, generating clickthroughs of 0.8%, considerably higher than the norm.

"We wanted to make sure that once a consumer clicked in they engaged for a long time and they are engaging for over a minute on average," said Patti McGreal, Campbell Soup's manager of interactive marketing.

IDC predicted Apple should yield $105m in US mobile ad sales in 2010, a 21% share, having attracted half of the top US national advertisers.

"It's always easier [to secure clients] if Steve Jobs is sending an e-mail to the CEO," said Karsten Weide, an IDC analyst.

Despite this, Weide posited that Google's rival operating system could ultimately come to play the primary role.

"Five to 10 years out, I think Android and possibly others will crush Apple," he said.

Data sourced from Apple, Wall Street Journal, Financial TImes; additional content by Warc staff