UK brand owners turn to mobile

21 May 2012

LONDON: Big companies including Unilever, Coca-Cola and Domino's Pizza are planning to ramp up their use of mobile marketing in a bid to engage customers in new ways.

Jay Altschuler, director of global media innovation at Unilever, the consumer goods manufacturer, suggested this medium allowed marketers to progress from advertising to "brand experiences".

"We have seen how you can use mobile mechanics to empower our above the line media and can actually be a true story-telling device and channel," he said, as reported by Marketing Week.

Unilever has run 13 executions for 11 brands in six markets via Apple's iAd mobile advertising platform, securing a dwell time of 77 seconds in Europe, which enables it to develop "much deeper stories".

"With the way we go to market advertising can tend to be reduced - you have just a 30 second spot to tell your entire story and alongside print and websites it can get very confusing," Altschuler said.

Elsewhere, Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, is boosting its outlay on apps, mobile-optimised websites and other "brand experiences", according to Jude Brooks, its digital activation manager, Great Britain & Ireland.

"The challenge with mobile - and it's the same in digital - is that it's so diverse and there's so many different ways you can do it," she said, adding that the medium was also still comparatively "immature".

Coca-Cola recently worked with Google on "Project Rebrief", which "re-imagined" one of its classic TV ads, and gave consumers the chance to "buy the world a Coke" via a mobile app, and the recipient of this gift to send a video saying thank you.

Simon Morgan, Google's industry leader, technology and hardware, argued having a "mobile first" strategy is now vital. "Getting mobile right will mean your business will have a better future; get it wrong and your business won't be as bright," he said.

Domino's Pizza, the pizza delivery group, currently derives 20% of digital sales from mobile devices, and reported that shoppers buying in this fashion make more frequent repeat purchases.

"This year and next year we will really go deeper into more marketing opportunities as we are not a massive player in mobile marketing yet," said Nick Dutch, its multi-media manager. This could include offering WiFi in its branches.

Debenhams, the department store chain, may similarly provide WiFi in its outlets, promising several potential advantages, Sarah Baillie, the firm's mobile manager, revealed.

"There are many benefits of people engaging on mobile within the store: allowing them to double check prices against the website, read reviews or share products with friends for a second opinion," she said. "We're also focusing on making payments easier," she said.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff