IAMAI 2010: Creativity is at an all time low on the smaller medium of mobile

By Mitra Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | April 08, 2010
The second mobile ad conference saw the panellists discussing ways of overcoming the challenges to deliver successful creative mobile campaigns

The second mobile ad conference held on April 7 at Hyatt Regency, Mumbai saw the panellists debating modes of overcoming the challenges to deliver successful creative mobile campaigns.

The panellists comprised industry stalwarts such as Apoorv Kumar, chief operating officer, Value First; Gaurav Sarin, head, mobile advertising and business solutions, Aircel; Jasmeet Gandhi, head, devices OPM and services marketing, Nokia India; and Sujai Srivastava, business head, VAS marketing and mobile advertising, Reliance Communications.

& #BANNER1 & #

Sarin initiated the discussion by saying that media has always kept evolving, right from newspapers in the 1500's till mobile to date. He said that India has a large media dark population and mobile is an untapped media vehicle in the country. He admitted that mobile has already become the second screen in India and has the scale to be a larger form of media.

Sarin added that operators need to understand the base and should seek active participation and involvement of advertisers and brands while creating platforms. The positioning of mobile as a media should be like radio, Internet, display ads or BTL (below-the-line). He also threw the question towards the audience, asking the way to sell holistic campaigns and stop ad hock sales pitches for SMS, WAP, OBS Ad and CRBTs.

Gandhi accepted that the definition of creativity has not changed at all. He said that to deliver creativity, the medium and context should be used properly. Emphasising the fact that in India, only initial user patterns will define the kind of campaigns and advertising, he cited the example of the live IAMAI blog on the social networking site and called it a form of advertising.

There is no lack of reach, said Gandhi. The question is - are people thinking in a creative manner? He said that there are still people who are not using the inherent technology on the device. Camera, touch screen formats and Excelerometers are still not used creatively enough. He lamented that the third party aggregators who are the actual creators are just targeting smaller base of consumers.

Srivastava gave some examples of interactive campaigns such as Union Bank of India focusing on branding and lead generation. He also mentioned the Ponds Googly-Woogly campaign where beauty tips were passed on to the consumers and the recent one, Pepsi - The Game, where the campaign was executed through SMS and OBD. Srivastava said that all the mentioned examples have created immense interest in the consumer base. The litmus test lies in cracking the FMCG brands, averred Srivastava.

Kumar was blunt in admitting that nothing creative happens on the medium of mobile. One should not blame the operators, aggregators or content makers in this situation. Kumar said that not a single piece of advertising SMS gets forwarded because creativity is at an all time low.

He further argued that as far as the media of SMS, Voice and Tweets are concerned, not a single agency has created anything extraordinary to attract the eyeballs. True opportunity lies in tracking and delivering. Kumar bemoaned that the mobile lacks systems such as TAM. The way TAM suggests the flow of matters on television, the same should be implemented on mobile as well.

Kumar was firm on the recommendation of evangelization of the ad agencies. The real problem lies in planning, tracking and delivering, he said, because the minutest measurements are almost impossible on the smaller device.

Gandhi articulated that one should not underestimate the immensity of the smaller device. The biggest issue lies in the lack of thinking pattern because simple contextual material still becomes problematic to pass on in today's creative world.

Kumar concluded the session by saying that mobile has the potential to build brands beyond imagination.