OMMA Mobile: None of Us Is Rolls-Royce Edition

At next week's OMMA Mobile on May 12 in New York, we are trying to focus on the app marketing and media economy, in part by using a wide-angle rather than a macro lens. Instead of fetishizing the app unto itself, most of our speakers and panels are putting the format into a larger context of marketing goals and connected mobile, online and offline marketing programs.

Of course, sometimes there are exceptions that prove the rule. What lands on my iPhone this morning but the Rolls-Royce Ghost car configurator? Me, who loves and only wants to afford my Mini Cooper, is the last person in the world who will find this app relevant. I think a Rolls-Royce, stripped, costs more than my house.

But this app is a beauty that communicates the lushness of the brand in the smooth and clean operation of the app itself. After a short full-screen video of the Ghost model in action, you drop into a screen occupied by a bottom menu and a stunningly good drag-and-prod -- a photo-realistic 3D version of the car you can just spin and zoom in and out of. Even the interior seen through the car glass maps perfectly the way you position the car. You can configure the car you will never buy to your hearts' content.

I have no idea what the larger marketing plan is here. But given the limited clientele for RR, I gather it is selling the brand on some much higher level -- which it does well.

But I digress... mainly to make the point. Not many brands can afford to build such an elaborate app that appears to sell a car but in all likelihood doesn't -- or doesn't need to. All of the brands and agencies coming to OMMA Mobile have apps with plans. In fact, Ed Kaczmarek at Kraft Foods, our first keynote speaker, will not only walk us through the evolution and learnings from that enormously effective iFood Assistant app. He will also show how it is but one piece of mobile strategy that reaches across apps, mobile Web, SMS, local check-ins and product scanning to let Kraft leverage mobile at the point of decision and purchase. Run, don't walk to see this one.

Ed, Kraft's director of innovation, consumer experiences, will join what is becoming a tradition at OMMA Mobile: the assembling of the brands. They include Kraft, Coca-Cola, Fandango -- and what I believe is still the maker of the most downloaded branded app, Zippo. They will extend the keynote theme of how apps can fulfill the ultimate marketing goal, getting closer to your customer.

Then, we are happy to welcome one of the true veterans of mobile marketing, Dan Rosen, managing director of AKQA Mobile. Dan was instrumental in the new voice-controlled Nigella Lawson cooking app. In the U.S. AKQA worked with VW to launch the 2010 GTI solely via a branded iPhone driving game. The company knows how to do things big and well, and Dan will discuss the importance of coming to the app world to play hard.

Much of the morning's sessions next week will be about the apps in context: the context of mobile marketing goals and other practices, and the larger context of platform politics. We end the morning with a panel on whether the wars between Google and Apple, between open and closed ad and media platforms, should matter to marketers.

In the afternoon, Charles Johnson, Microsoft's general manager of mobile advertising, widens the angle considerably by showing how some of the technologies and techniques across platforms can make a brand experience that is seamless and more effective.

The afternoon focuses first on creative and then on the numbers, with panels on how buyers are best leveraging creative and networks. The publishers come in to explore whether the app format across connected mobile devices really help media re-think their mission and their models.

And finally, we prep for cocktails with a panel that goes to one of the main choke points for marketers coming to mobile: accountability and measuring results. We call this part of OMMA "Grilling the Vendors" because it's when we pose the hard questions about the critical piece of a platform's supply chain. In this case, we ask: When will the first generation of measuring mobile evolve into harder and better tools that will help plan and execute campaigns?

This is also where we ask the audience, both online and live, to participate. If you have specific questions you would like to ask of this panel, send them to me and I will pass them along to our moderator or ask them myself during the Q&A. This is your chance to determine the directions and agenda of a panel.

We hope to see you there -- but if not, the show will be blogged extensively by MediaPost reporters at our RAW blog.  

The hashtag for the event will be #ommamobile
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