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The London Games are are in full swing and the television ratings alone stagger the mind, but that’s just a small part of the overall picture. Broadcasters are limited to just one country or region, but digital viewership – and mobile advertising - has no such restrictions. This year, YouTube will live stream the year’s biggest sporting competition throughout the world. And, since so many viewers will watch the London Games on mobile, HTML5 mobile rich media ads are a great way to engage that huge audience.

London Games Timeline 2

The Games provide a fantastic opportunity for integrated, branded mobile advertising, and not just for sports advertisers or official sponsors of the Games. HTML5 mobile rich media ads can focus on specific parts of the Games’ audience – like fans of a particular sport – and appeal to them directly. For example, check out the Sports Timeline, a concept we created specifically for the Games:

The mobile ad presents users with a fully interactive timeline that they can easily navigate by touch. It can appear within an app or a mobile site, or it could be a stand-alone microsite. Either way, the mobile ad shows key moments in the history of a sport – like inventions, innovations, major new records, and the year the sport entered the Games. One or more of the points on the timeline ties in directly with the advertiser’s message.

A mobile ad like this presents information that viewers won’t get from the Games themselves. The broadcast of the cycling competition doesn’t talk about the history of cycling; it talks about who’s winning the race. The mobile advertising timeline concept fills in that gap and complements the experience of watching the Games, for experts and new fans alike. It can even reach fans who are actually at the Games in person – something television ads can never do. And, since users specifically choose to look at the timeline for each sport, we know they’re particularly engaged: no need to worry about wasting impressions on fencing fans when you only want to reach cyclists.

The Sports Timeline concept is not limited to sports drink or equipment manufacturers. The mobile ad is an exercise in branding. It aligns a company with a particular concept and with the Games as a whole. i For example, a digital camera maker could mention the role of the “photo finish” in equestrian events to show off its history of innovation. Or an automobile manufacturer could demonstrate its commitment to sustainability by showing how energy-efficient cars with advanced GPS track cyclists along their route. Or the U.S. Marines might align themselves with fencing events, because Marines in uniform still wear swords! And who doesn’t love swords? You get the idea – the Games are a treasure trove of demographic data, regardless of industry.

Don’t be shy of large events with worldwide audiences. Hundreds of millions are excited for the London Games. Mobile advertising provides opportunities to get in front of small slices of a very, very large pie, and it offers a more interactive and engaging experience than traditional television advertising. The timeline ad concept is just one example; it taps into the audience’s excitement and need for new information, and it offers genuine value.

Every few years the world gets together on one stage to compete against each other in sports, but mobile advertisers are competing with each other in the business world every day. While athletes compete in London, smart marketers will take advantage of every opportunity they can get to tie their advertising in with this unique opportunity.

London Games Olympic Poll Concept

TechBargains survey showed a high amount of mobile video viewing and social interaction is expected during the games. It revealed that, “Nearly half (44%) of respondents said they would interact with social media often or very often during the Olympics.” As a brand or advertiser, how can you capitalize on what is at the top of everyone’s mind? One way is to conduct mobile polls that build on the concepts of competition and winning.

In an earlier post, 2012 Olympics Mobile Advertising & HTML5 Concepts, I shared some concepts we developed around the games for and with our partners in mobile advertising. One idea featured a polling concept that could run throughout the day around various sporting events. This post will cover the mobile advertising polling concept in more detail. In our original concept the viewer initially sees a mobile advertiser’s ad with a specific event listed under it with the question, “Who do you think will take home the gold?”

While the ad stays up, the viewer sees a flag and country name for each of the participants. Then it goes to full screen with the question again and shows each of the countries so the user can vote. The next screen presents voting results and invites viewers to post their pick to Facebook or Twitter. The mobile advertiser gets a good amount of on-screen time while the user thinks about the event and the advertising sponsor. It’s engaging and effective.

Voting on who will win an event ties into the most common discussions people have on a daily basis. Plus you get bragging rights if you guess correctly. Polls can target specific audiences so not everyone views the same sport. Content and results are animated via HTML5. As an advertiser, you can choose any type of sport to focus the polling or voting around. Just think what fun and consumer engagement various industries could have with other polls tied into a sporting events theme:

  • QSR (Quick Service Restaurants): Use HTML5 mobile rich media ads to get consumers thinking about the food choices you offer. They could vote on what they think is the healthiest menu item from your restaurant to eat after a competition. Then offer a discount on the winning food to whoever voted.
  • Travel: Show footage of all the London sites and then sponsor a poll about where the ideal games should be held. As visitors vote on specific locations, tie that in with footage of the suggested site and offer great travel deals so they don’t have to wait any longer to see it for themselves.
  • Retail/Fashion: A retail store could have fans vote on the best outfit to wear to a sports competition. Participants could receive coupons for their winning ensemble. A sporting goods store might sponsor a poll about which athletic apparel helps you perform at your best when swimming, playing volleyball, or shooting hoops.

Mobile advertising related to large-scale events is all about taking advantage of timely opportunities and thinking about how your brand’s product or service ties into the event. You can have fun, engage users, and increase sales with this type of marketing strategy. Just remember, it’s great to tie in with a major event for branding and awareness, but the point is to get somebody to take an action regarding your product or service.

I’ve been waiting to see innovation beyond simple check-in on Foursquare. MobileMarketingWatch had a post that will definitely enhance opportunities for mobile marketing and advertising. Foursquare has created partner badges. RunKeeper, their first partner trial, tracks fitness without check-in and encourage real-world actions.

foursquare mobile marketing advertising

This is a great way to unlock mobile marketing and advertising opportunities. There are many possibilities for brands to align with real-world actions.

Another great use of partner badges would be as a tool for consumer contests or sweepstakes. For example, a clothing store could give achievements points, special offers or coupons to the user taking a photo of the cutest “back-to-school” outfit. A health food brand could take advantage of mobile marketing and partner with Foursquare to promote healthy eating. Users could be rewarded with recipes, healthy hints or unique discounts.

This is a brilliant use of game behavior applied to marketing. To learn more about using game mechanics and get ideas for mobile marketing and advertising, I highly recommend reading Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests.

It’s nice to see mobile advertising and marketing apps encouraging real world behavior outside of “get to the store and purchase.” Foursquare’s recent press release stated: “We look forward to the day when looking at your foursquare badges reminds you of all your proudest life accomplishments”.

Mobile Marketer explored the new Rolex advertising campaign appearing in April’s W Magazine that lets consumers get information and deals from the brand, as well as enter for a chance to win $1,000.00. I like how print magazines are trying to integrate into relevant mobile user experiences.


When I think of Rolex, I think luxury, quality and style. But I also think of an older demographic, that sticks to print. So I’m glad to see Rolex taking a step in a fresh and innovative direction. If print becomes more interactive in various ways, it could become even more interesting than a purely digital magazine. (see my previous post about a video player embedded in an issue of Entertainment Weekly) Hopefully, other luxury brands will follow and increase mobilized print ads in consumer publications.

The ad itself relies on pure image recognition. The way it works is that readers can snap a photo of the ad, send the pic to an email address and get more information as well as an entry into the cash sweepstakes.

Moving forward, print publications could offer readers a companion mobile app to make the interactive experience even easier. A magazine app could just require the user view the ads and use image recognition via the users device as opposed to emailing it. This would also allow the magazine to harvest valuable demographic info. Finding out exactly who is reading the ads would be a great pitch to attract new advertisers not previously considered.

Making print ads interactive (regardless of the method) is a good way to inject print magazines with more life and prop up the whole publishing industry.

Mobile Marketer had a feature on Jumptap, a company who delivers mobile ads revamped their mobile ad network. Jumptap is taking mobile ad personalization to a new level. They’re giving consumers the ability to tell brands what they want, when they want it. Mobile users will be given the ability to manage their own profiles for a more personalized brand experience.

Jumptap Revamp

This is the key to the future of advertising – letting the consumer specify what they want and delivering relevant ads. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts addressing ad personalization, why not target consumers with a product they are likely to buy?

In addition to serving the consumers, this gives advertisers the ability to serve better ads. Targeted spots will be more enjoyed and appreciated when they’re given to the perfect audience.

Additionally, consumers can reveal demographic information in exchange for special offers, coupons, deals, or less ads. In return, advertisers get valuable stats on their audience and consumers get even better results from their mobile user experience.

Google introduced a new service for searching with gestures for Android 2.0 and above. This gesturing could evolve into some pretty cool uses and mobile user interface design opportunities.

Google Gestures

Basically, users scrawl a letter (or “alphabet gesture” as Google Labs calls it) on the touch screen to bring up a contact, app, music file or bookmark from a list of hundreds or even thousands on your Android phone. The mobile user interface eliminates the need to type in certain cases.

While the gesture feature is currently for searching only, this opens up lots of possibilities for interesting mobile user interface design possibilities for Android. The API could be opened up so that anyone writing Google apps could make use of ‘common’ gestures.

Universal gestures could be explored that could be used across any app.

Imagine that there’s a ’send to the Google cloud gesture’ and a piece of content you’re interacting with could automatically be sent to the appropriate cloud service. For example, you receive a document, gesture it, and it ends up stored in your Google Docs. Or the ability to gesture a phone number on a site and save it in Google voice would make interacting with Google cloud services easier.

I’m happy to see Android evolving and opening up the door to explore more touch based user interface design options. It’s a good time to experiment before rigid standards make their way into the mobile user interface design community.

Verizon continues to blend their product offerings through a converged mobile user experience. InteractiveTV Today had a post detailing the variety of FiOS TV features that will soon launch. There are some cool elements that also have practical real world use - a good example of a multi-screen experience.

mobile tv user experience

I was particularly interested in the news that Verizon will soon release software that will let viewers to use their WiFi-enabled smartphones as a remote control. Through a remote access service, Fios TV subscribers will be able to use their mobile to review, change or add recording requests, delete recorded programs, browse and search TV and video-on-demand listings, and set parental controls.

Mobile devices are so much more sophisticated than the typical remote – it’s a great use of mobile technology.

This opens up a host of possibilities to bundle Verizon TV and mobile services together - building consumer loyalty and expand Verizon’s reach. A good example of this might be Verizon suggesting new content purchases based on shows or music you’ve watched or programmed to record. By utilizing one device as an extension of another, new user experiences are possible. For example, when watching FIOS TV and you see an ad for a show you want to watch, you don’t have to interrupt your viewing experience on the television. You just use your mobile phone to set the show to record.
Other features include an enhanced Interactive Media guide for FiOS TV as well as “bidirectional sideloading”—which allows viewers to use their TV to access digital files from mobile phones attached to their PC’s. There will also be an interactive TV application that allows you to watch free samples of premium channels with the option to order as well as various widgets, like the football widget that displays statistics alongside a game.

I’d love to see more social tv features. For example, notify when my friends are watching tv, let me know what they’re watching, let me invite them to watch something with me, etc.

Stop the presses! Sort of…Entertainment Weekly is running a CBS video ad in…their print magazine. InteractiveTV Today had all the details and I was pretty blown away. Not just about the technology – which is amazing – but the idea that online is now going print instead of the other way around. This concept is a great juxtaposition of print and digital. 

The way it works is that the video player insert is a flexible, thin, plastic screen on two pages, activated when opened (like musical greeting cards). The ad has 5 channels with 40 minutes of content. Readers can change the channel by pressing buttons embedded in the print ad. It’s launching “Monday to the Max,” a campaign for CBS’s comedy and drama line up along with a promotional tie in with the new Pepsi Max. (Pepsi Max is billed as “the first diet cola for men” with ginseng and lots more caffeine than regular Pepsi.) 

The Entertainment Weekly issue won’t be out till Sept 18th but is already generating a lot of buzz. The CBS/Entertainment Weekly ad will only appear in LA and NY subscription copies - no newsstand sales - so copies are sure to be scarce. I’m looking forward to more uses of this technology which might have the added benefit of giving the struggling print industry a shot in the arm. Magazines could have unique tie-ins or exclusives with a show or movie. From gardening to news to sports publications, the possibilities are endless.

Looking forward, it would be interesting to use this technology to go further into print, broadcast and mobile convergence. Perhaps readers could have access to a ‘trial’ episode teaser clip of the show. (with appropriate cliff hanger ending, of course) In order to continue the program, you’d need to buy a subscription or pay a fee. 

Or maybe the reader would be directed to a website to sign up for a free promotion to continue watching, yielding valuable consumer information. It would be great for consumers to be able to choose where and how they continue watching the show with availability across numerous platforms. 

Also, short-form episodic content - like mobisodes or webisodes – could be available exclusively through a video player in a print publication. Theoretically, this could drive up subscriptions and test the waters for the show to eventually become a “traditional” television show or feature film. 

CBS says the video player insert, made by a Los Angeles company called Americhip Inc, will be able to withstand the binding processes and mail delivery to arrive ready to go.

InteractiveTV Today had a blog post ahout a new augmented reality platform called metaio World that is hitting the major mobile platforms including iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, and Symbian. This is good news for the mobile world – as platforms become more widespread, tons of possibilities are opening up to design more engaging mobile user experiences and immersive mobile user interfaces. 


The platform allows users to link personal content – like Twitter messages, photos, etc - with any real-world location. Content can then be viewed by others who happen onto that location. Using Twitter is very clever as users are much more likely to use the service if it’s tied to a well-known social media platform. I’d like to see even more social media integration – users who happened upon a comment or animation would be able to look up contact information for the creator on LinkedIn or Facebook. 

Integrating the time element would also be a feature that has real world benefits. For example, if a nightclub event starts at 10 pm, information would only be available at certain times of day. Club goers could have the ability to examine current data versus data from months past to tell if the club is hot or on its way out. 

3D components open a ton of possibilities - imagine taking avatars from other virtual environments (Sims or Second Life for example) and using them in the augmented environment as a gateway or link to the actual virtual environment.

There are also retail opportunities if users are given the ability to purchase virtual goods for their character. An example might be messages left outside of a trendy clothing store. Shoppers could receive free or discounted virtual goods based on the stores current clothing line. Virtual shopping might translate into real world purchases and benefit the story, justifying the cost of an AR campaign. 

As you can see, this is just the beginning and I’m eager to see where mobile design and augmented reality will take us, particularly related to mobile user interfaces.

Best Buy is the latest retailer to jump into the rapidly expanding Augmented Reality pool. Adverblog had a post on the new “Best Buy in 3D” campaign. Users can take Best Buy’s Sunday paper insert, weekly retail publication or in-store circular and use it (with a webcam) to experience the advertised products in 3D. 

Best Buy Mobile Design of Instore-Ads

Using one-dimensional paper and a traditional advertising delivery system is a great way to transition “old school” consumers* into the new technology. (Yes, they’re out there and they have way more disposable income than the kids)  

A mobile component would be a natural fit for the Best Buy shopper. Instead of wandering the aisles or waiting for a less-than-knowledgeable sales clerk, consumers could use their mobile device to take a picture of merchandise or a QR code to immediately bring up additional information. Some great extra features to help you make an immediate purchasing decision could include: 

  • 3D models
  • Consumer Reviews
  • Tutorials or Videos
  • Additional purchases to compliment a purchase of that item.

Additionally, with GPS, the extra features could be tailored to the section you’re standing in. For example, if you’re in the video game department, you get video game specials. 

Also, with a “smart” feature, the application would remember that 3 months ago you made a specific purchase at the store and suggest additional items to buy. For example, buy ink for a printer. 

I would love the ability to tag a product so I receive a notification when it goes on sale or hits a certain price point. (For example: Notify me when this monitor is $250 or less/Notify me when this washing machine is available in red) 

Clearly, augmented reality is not just for selling stuff and it’s going to blow up like crazy in the coming months. I just saw that multi-platinum Grammy winning rapper Eminem is on the cutting edge with his “Eminem Augmented Reality Competition” Could education be the next frontier for Augmented Reality? What industry do you think will jump in next?