To the Moon Alice, to the Moon!

November 23, 2010

A recent Pew Study reports that eight in ten U.S. adults (82%) are cell phone users, of those about 43% have apps. There is no question that the mobile landscape is constantly growing and evolving. As adoption rates increase, advertisers are realizing how necessary mobile advertising is to an overall campaign strategy.

Despite the rapid rate of change that occurs in the mobile markets, application advertising on smart phones continues to lag behind the times. While popular gaming apps tend to have more sophisticated media rich ads, many news and information apps have static banner ads like the ones you might find on the web. This is due to a number of challenges we've discussed before on this blog. Within this environment, several trends have emerged - especially amongst news apps.

On iPhone for example most news apps feature banner and interstitial ads. Also common are sponsored apps, where an iAd advertisement will appear when the app is launched, then banner ads for the same brand will appear throughout the media.

Currently, large brands are the ones benefiting in the mobile space. Car companies like Ford, or insurance providers like State Farm tend to dominate. Even companies like Goldman Sachs and Boeing are having a go at mobile advertising. But the coolest ad I've seen by far was an iAd for Campbell's Soup. My fellow blogger and co-worker Kyle and I played with this ad for a good five minutes. The above link features still images of the ad.

In the course of our play, we were rewarded with a coupon for Campbell's Soup, learned about its new line of soups and played a branded matching game. The best part was when the screen seemed to white out and this prompt appeared: "Scratch off the screen to reveal a prize." Using the touch screen, we scratched off the white "film" to reveal the aforementioned coupon. Each new layer of the ad was easy to use and provided navigation prompts back to the app.

Here at Newsy we are always concerned with making applications that fit the platform they are used on, and in every respect this Campbell's app did just that. It incorporated iPhone technology in the creative execution of the app. This is what advertisers should be doing. Banner ads are nice and effective in their own way but there is so much potential to push creative boundaries on these new devices. Advertisers need to stop shooting for the horizon, and shoot for the moon.