- It’s been six months since Steve Jobs announced he will revolutionize the ad industry through his new mobile ad format iAd, Apple’s bold bid to create a market for mobile ads that don’t, in his words, “suck”. With one super ambitious goal: Make people love advertising again.
Six months later a lot of questions are being raised.
Does Apple’s iAd have the ability to revolutionize the ad industry as iTunes did with music and iPhone has done with the Telco industry? What are the early adopters saying? Ogilvy Paris speaks out as one of the first users of iAd in Europe for their infamous Perrier by Dita. We sat down with Frederic Levron, Head of Digital Branded Content at Ogilvy Paris.
Tell us the reason why you recommended to your Perrier client to be one of the first to seize upon Apple’s iAd launch in Europe?
The Apple team came to us to introduce iAd two months before its European launch. We were super excited to discover what the Apple team was capable of doing in our industry and even more excited because we had in mind Apple’s belief that iAd would make people love advertising again. With this, we got ten of our best Brands together in a room (IBM, Nestle, Perrier, Louis Vuitton etc…) to hear Apple’s pitch. To be part of the first European round you had one week to put 1 million euros on the table for iAd. Because of the investment and because of what Apple represents to Marketers/Advertisers, the expectation was higher than ever. But, five reasons ultimately convinced us to move forward:
1/ Consumer total immersion in the brand experience.
It’s the only digital format that has allowed us to get the consumer enveloped in the total Brand Experience. Providing a mix between the great emotion of TVC AND digital interactivity.
2/ Ability to get very precise on our media targeting.
Through Apple’s apps targeting strategy, Apple is able to propose a much more efficient view on who the ad is reaching, compared to other formats.
3/ The inherent PR value that comes with being the first.
An investment of 1 million euros in the French market is comparable to the cost of producing an ambitious TVC or buying broadcast media such as YouTube to air one campaign in home page during the period of a month: it’s a huge decision to take. Even more so when this investment concerns a Mobile marketing strategy that’s not yet proven on a device that has less than 10% penetration in the French market. In this context, more than delivering something in line with the strategic objectives, you want to be sure you’ll generate some Earned Media too.
4/ Faith in Apple’s ability to deliver.
Marketers and Advertisers are brand builders. And, when it comes to this, Apple is one of the first benchmarks we have in mind. It creates a kind of fascination and emotional decision that we need to stay mindful of when evaluating it for our Brands.
Perrier was an obvious fit and we chose to go for it. It was meaningful from a Target point-of-view, a Brand point-of-view and it was aligned with the engagement strategy that we were running for this Brand. Moreover, the business conditions where perfect. We were launching a Perrier limited edition with Dita Von Teese and looking for a way to make the brand even more engaging. Perrier has always been an iconic brand with its innovative and out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to creation. iAd was the perfect way to deliver a totally fresh Brand experience to a really specific target of Trendsetters.
We built a dedicated experience on Apple’s iAd through iPhone devices — a digital interactive four minute video experience that transforms your iPhone into “The Perrier Mansion”. An intimate show in which you are in complete control, or at least will try to be… Dita takes you to every corner of the Mansion and initiates you to new pleasures in each of its rooms.
In the “Dark Room “, you’ll have to be accurate enough when tapping on your iPhone screen to capture the most lascivious poses of a show performed in the dark. In the room “Roll the Dice”, you have to shake your iPhone to roll the dice and Dita will do only what chance decides. Those lucky enough to get the “double Perrier” still remember what they got to see… In the third room of the mansion, Dita is performing one of her sexiest shows while every 5 seconds a curtain is falling down threatening to stop your view… To see the show you will have to keep the curtain from falling by frenetically typing on your iPhone screen.
How was the collaboration with Apple during the production phase?
Joyful but Bumpy. When you drive innovation, the road is never never never straight- forward. You have to deal with the unexpected. This is the price that “Leaders” pay compared to the “Followers.” From my point-of-view, most of the issues were due to the fact that we were the first in Europe. The Apple team in Europe was growing along the way with people totally new who were trying with us to push boundaries of this new format. It has an impact on project management and client service. In our experience, we had one day to test the iAd before going live. And, we found that some key elements of the experience were missing. Finally, we postponed the launch to be sure the iAd was as amazing as we wanted it to be.
Do you have any insights on the reasons why it was so bumpy, that you could share?
As I said, running innovation is always bumpy—especially when creative/client service expectations are really high. In this case, I do think Apple is a little bit a victim of their reputation. When you’re working with Apple you’re expecting the best. In parallel, you have to look at the way Apple is use to working to understand the issue they’re facing today. From the beginning of their success story, Apple has been developing extraordinary products that have deeply impacted the pop culture. They did it their way, in the dark, in a closed process where nobody was allowed to penetrate. Today, when Apple is jumping into the Ad business through iAd, they are embracing a brand new way of working. With new partners: Brands and Advertisers. The consequence of this impacts every core discipline of the production chain. But we all know the Apple folks are learning very very fast. That said, nothing from what we experienced isn’t fixable: A near-future iAd for Perrier is in the pipe, and I’m sure the journey will be much smoother.
And what about the creative relationship with Apple? There’s a lot of noise on Madison Avenue about how Apple is too controlling in the creative process.
Perrier Mansion’s iAd is a super ambitious creative product. One of the most ambitious iAds ever made–if not the most ambitious. We could not have managed to launch this kind of creative product if Apple were not on the same page as us and 100% up to working as a team–especially in such a short window of time. But a single ambition drove us: to push the limits of mobile advertising and to deliver the most exiting iAd ever made. Apple’s creative directors and developers worked hand-in-hand with the Ogilvy team. From the kick off meeting to the D-Day!
What are the first results?
Beyond production issues that seem to inevitably accompany any innovative project, only the results count: the Perrier Mansion’s iAd has been 40 times more efficient than any other digital ad format when you compare click rate. According to Mediaminds 2010 Study, the average click-thru-rate for digital ads is 0:09. We’re seeing that people spend an average of 2 minutes playing with the interactive Perrier Dita video brand experience. That’s 7 times more time spent than on Brand websites or watching videos on YouTube. (The average time spent on watching a video on YT is 30secs. Source: YT 2010). The Perrier Mansion’s iAd’s click-thru-rate and time spent is 2 times better than any other iAd ever made (US/Europe).
Do you believe that iAd will revolutionize the Ad industry?
In France, it’s reported that 70% of the audience doesn’t like Advertising. And only 38% find it useful. (Source: Figaro étude Nielsen 19/10/2009). The consumer behavior has changed. The way we think and deliver our Brand messages has changed too. As an Advertiser, we need a helpful partner who can provide us with the tools and format that reinvents the Brand Experience. And, to deliver creation that tells a story and engages the user by putting him at the heart of the storyline. From that point of view, iAd is definitively revolutionizing the mobile ad industry. From an efficiency stand point, when iAd is used at 100% of its capacity and your creation is built upon a big idea, it’s blowing out every result we’ve seen on Mobile ad and Web ad marketing.
What has to be improved?
In parallel to what we’ve already talked about (project management/client service/tracking tools) one of the main reason marketers are choosing iAd is its ability to target. From this first experience the reality is slightly different. Thanks to the apps segmentation, it’s now easy to know what the user is interested in (music, sports, lifestyle etc.). His “profil chinois”. Apple will have to deliver on this one if they want to have the trust of Marketers.
Do you believe Apple will win the mobile ad business, especially against Google?
On every aspect of its format, brand experience, ability to engage the user and results that you can get, Apple is taking a leading place in the market. But we’re talking here from a qualitative and creative point-of-view. Most of the business will certainly be taken by Google which has a business strategy oriented totally different by providing to everyone the ability to run a mobile strategy. The entry price for creating an iAd says a lot about Apple’s strategy: only big brands that are able to run an ambitious creative and engagement strategy matter.
Are you up for recommending iAd to one of your other brands?
To reach a specific target of people who are the next standard of customers (not reactive to an old model of interruptive marketing / always on-the-move / consuming content from several devices / digitally active) Apple iAd is definitely something we will have to integrate into the full strategy of our brands.
International Press Contact Ogilvy, Paris: Kim Ball +33 673 98 0523, firstname.lastname@example.org