We're already beginning to see signs of the first SMART/iPhone Ad networks pop up - with ADMOBS in particular delivering some very compelling new ad units and creative possibilities across their network. If you haven't seen them, from this creative's perspective, you should check them out. Toto... we're definitely not in Bannerland anymore.
From a video ad-serving perspective, one recent branded iPhone app that wins one of my personal best-in-class awards for deep functional utility, creative simplicity and great ad insertion is Kraft's "ifood assistant" application.
First, it's not free. Which is faux pas number one for branded apps. But at 99 cents, let's just say the content really overdelivers. What's impressive creatively is the clean and simple interface combined with the sheer volume of overall food photos, recipes, nutritional info and videos you get from the app. Ingredients, recipes, meal suggestions, yes... all the standard fare you'd expect from Kraft Kitchens.
What's even more impressive, however, is how this marketer has found a means to PUSH its deep library of how-to videos in virtually every recipe category right through the mobile app without sending you out of the app to YouTube, like many other apps do. It's essentially a walled garden that links to hours of Kraft Kitchens video content that was probably sitting on a brand site somewhere looking for viewers.
Brian Seth Hurst, the advanced television guru, once said that "the future belongs to those brands who are able to travel wherever the consumer is moving." In the case of Kraft's iFood Assistant, this couldn't be truer.
Then comes the ad insertions. Ahead of each video, Kraft's developers have skillfully placed billboard ads for Kraft branded foods that, like pre-rolls, appear during video load times and even rotate across videos and app categories. The billboards are clearly pre-purposed, not repurposed creative, and sized to fit both the vertical and horizontal axis' of the GUI. Really smart. As a creative who spends a significant portion of his time developing new ad units for new platforms, I have to say that this one is really well-thought-out.
Major props go to Kraft's CRM Team, who I hear initiated and developed the application with help from their partners at Meredith.
Will it convince you buy more Kraft food products? It doesn't try to. It simply and robustly delivers great utility for the on the go person who needs ideas fast, or instruction slow.
Most brand marketers have hours of how-to and instructional videos on their products and services sitting somewhere deep on their Web sites or spread across their decentralized brand portfolio businesses. And as hard as cross-brand initiatives are to execute, what Kraft shows us here is that long-form video indeed has yet another life that's much more accessible.
Right in your pocket.