The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed
Whilst the pace of change of GAFA and the huge scale remains a key issue for any brand, its still worth looking around the world to see how people are using mobile and social in a simpler way.
The geeks amongst you will recognise the William Gibson quote – and nowhere is it truer than in mobile.
Take the Unilever campaign for Wheel detergent in India. Promoted on radio and by outbound calls people were encouraged to call a 0800 number, then hang up. They were called back and hear an entertaining clip from a well known comedian and his endorsement of the product. 16 million calls drove higher brands awareness and a spike in sales. Watch this video for the full story.
Still in India, Intuit has developed a new mobile service for farmers that gives free advice and information on agricultural issues by SMS. For example, helping the farmer make more money through telling them crop prices at local markets – so they can go to see at the one paying more. And Intuit make money by selling advertising on the service.
In Africa IBM are using mobile data (looking at where SMS messages are sent from) to map bus services and look for ways of improving the routes. A similar service in the West is Waze where 47 million drivers share their location and traffic news – and it seems Facebook are about to buy them.
Back in India, an IT company called Mastek have taken the traffic idea one step further. To help make the company buses that pick up employees more efficient, they developed a featurephone app so the driver of each bus has their phone on the dashboard. This means their system can poll the app for exact location of the bus at any time and send a SMS to the employees waiting for it, when it is 10 minutes away then 5 minutes away. There is a big opportunity in apps that work on featurephones, but this tends to be overlooked as developers focus on smartphones. Back in 2005 we worked on the market entry of Refresh Mobile – now better known as Mippin – and did a lot with java apps. There is a lot of friction in developing for phones with small memories and requiring lots of accepts to install etc – but it can be done.
Of course GAFA is active in these emerging markets. Facebook have a team focused on partnerships with operators to encourage Facebook usage whatever sort of device you have. Google are pushing NFC payments in Kenya and their very interesting Trader platform – where you can buy and sell just about anything – works on SMS in Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana.
“It’s the medium of future and the future has already arrived”
Eric Schmidt has caused a bit of controversy this week by implying YouTube has already crushed regular TV. We’re not sure he actually said that; and we do have some experience of journalists misquoting you to make their story hang together better – especially when Google is involved.
For us the two key quotes were Eric Schmidt saying;
“It’s not a replacement for something that we know,” “It’s a new thing that we have to think about, to program, to curate and build new platforms.”
And Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks saying;
“This is a whole new form of content, content delivery and content consumption,” “It’s the medium of the future and the future has already arrived.”
This NYT video on the video upfronts shows how seriously people like AOL, Yahoo and Hulu etc take this . OK, Sarah Jessica Parker presenting a series on ballet isn’t much of a threat to the Village or Broadchurch but it compares well to the typical programming of those channels not on the first page of the Sky EPG. The key thing with all these new opportunities is can they get the scale advertisers like
…broadcast TV remained “the dominant form of event television” but was stuck with “historical practices” such as creating hundreds of pilots for series which never air. Broadcasters needed to target investments to fewer shows, he added
As Amazon have entered the world of Pilots it is clear that everyone now see the web as a video medium rather than the text one we have grown accustomed to, because of bandwidth restrictions. Looking at the Amazon initiative the LA Times puts it well;
..what makes the Amazon pilots impressive is not that they create something radically new but that they do “real TV” so well. Their true message is that there are new Big Guns in town, and that, just as broadcast TV lost much of its market share to cable, both are going to have to make room for the major players of digital television — not the diffuse, if sometimes brilliant voices of the medium’s shoestring pioneer age, but rather highly professional ones, well-funded and well-positioned to own the Web-based future
The VC community also gets this opportunity. Mark Suster – who just hired the former head of Endemol – summarises the argument well;
- People watch 5.3 hours of TV / day. They read less than 30 minutes. You can’t change media consumption patterns easily. The future of the Internet is video. Full stop.
- Production costs have fallen more than 90%. Distribution costs have, too. This is classic “Innovator’s Dilemma” market conditions.
- My estimate is that the top 5 YouTube networks will do > $200 million net revenue in 2013 (after Google’s share)
- These same top networks – Maker, Machinima, Zefr, FullScreen, BigFrame – and the like have create nearly 1,000 new tech / media jobs in LA in the past 3 years alone.
The ad industry already gets this to some extent – just look at the YouTube leader board where ads are getting 10s of millions of views – through paid and organic views. And an event we spoke at last week, organised by Brainient, underscored how well developed the ecosystem is for video on both the desktop and mobile – although the creative community have yet to really step up.
Branded Content – back to the future
We have talked about how The Hire from BMW set the bar for branded content some 10 years ago and now see that Jaguar have taken some inspiration for their latest launch – even using the same production company.
Their film for the new F type is interesting but doesn’t seem to have got much traction yet – 67k views on YouTube after 3 weeks doesn’t seem too impressive, but we don’t know how many views there have been through the Jaguar website.
Still it doesn’t quite have the panache of the BMW films. Our favourite Beat the Devil, featured one of our heroes James Brown – who would have been 80 this week – and was directed by Tony Scott. Well worth 10 minutes of your time.
Content is the hot topic amongst brands and the response amongst agencies has been quick. This US blog lists out some of the responses by US agencies. A key quote is
Before a brand hires an agency for content marketing, they should ask to see the work they’re using on their own behalf.
Given you’ve chosen to read our content, we’d like to think we get this space well and we’re looking to do more for our clients. It’s clear that modern digital marketing has to deliver in content, social and mobile to be effective.
Mobile & OOH
After a big consultancy project around this topic recently, we were very interested in the excellent Mediatel event on this subject this week. It is clear there is a real synergy here. We think things like the ClearChannel 10,000 bus shelters across the UK with NFC and QR built in should drive innovation in this space.
But we believe the real opportunity with mobile and DOOH is the ability to create campaigns that match supermarket catchment areas. Few brands are stocked in all supermarkets – and even within, say, Tesco products may be in a limited set of stores. The ability to target people who can actually buy the brand advertised should be a big boost.
But we wonder whether the big retailers could play a part in making this happen. As both Tesco, Amazon and others start to play in content and start to use their customer data to help brands reach consumers the game changes. Tesco want the advertising on their developing media platform to drive sales in Tesco – and they will start to expect brands that want to be stocked to invest in these new opportunities. But given it will take some time to build their own audience, why wouldn’t they buy DOOH around their stores and resell it to brands – with mobile geo fencing as well?
Sound farfetched? Well how about Target building a tool with Facebook to offer deals that can only be redeemed instore.
We will see retailers collaborate with all sorts of media owners to better drive sales. Interesting times for SoLoMo and for retail.
And the MIT view of breakthrough technologies for 2013 has just been published.
Half of brands still don’t have a mobile optimised site. And of those who do, too many still have a rubbish one. In our experience the quickest ROI is building a really good mobile optimised site and unlocking the huge value in mobile search.
Book of the week
Another brand new book – but pretty much everything Brian Solis writes is worth reading.
So our book if the week this week is What’s the Future of Business by Brian Solis
Finally…..More evidence of the annexation of marketing by tech and consulting firms. The very smart service design firm Fjord has been bought by Accenture. The AdAge headline Agencies, Look Out: Accenture’s Invading Your Turf in a Bigger Way Than Ever is slightly hysterical but there is something significant here.
A couple of weeks ago we quoted Antony Mayfield and his Firestarter deck where he said the challenge for agencies was become McKinsey faster than McKinsey becomes you. It looks like we need to get a move on.
Not convinced? How about this then; BMW have appointed Accenture to manage their global digital presence, all their digital marketing and the agencies. And in the US Amazon have given Accenture the job of managing the review of their media buying account.
Can agencies get past their old business model and be credible partners to brands in the age of GAFA? It requires taking digital much more seriously than most currently do.