Online Media Daily last week caught up with Patrick Moorhead, director of mobile platforms at Draftfcb Chicago, while he was in New York at the Digital Hollywood conference last week. Prior to joining the agency last December, he led R&D efforts for Razorfish's emerging media practice in the central U.S. Before working at Razorfish, Moorhead spent five years as assistant professor of design at Drexel University's College of Media Arts and Design.
OMD: What's your role at Draftfcb and how does mobile fit into the agency structure?
Moorhead: What Draft has allowed me to do is create a business around mobile. So I've got a staff of five, we signed a partnership agreement with Velti in July of this year, and Velti is supplying us with a full suite of tools that we've trained our digital production staff on, and now Draftfcb is actually building and operating all our mobile stuff in-house. What that's allowed us to do is kind of wean off our reliance on third-party vendors and capture more revenue as a result...because we're servicing the work ourselves.
The way we talk about our model is we don't have a mobile department. Draft has an integrated model where all disciplines are dispersed throughout the organization. So every line of business has all the services embedded to it from broadcast television production to shopper marketing promotion to print advertising, event sponsorship, to digital and mobile. So we really look at mobile as a horizontal across the organization.
OMD: What's changed in terms of Draft's mobile business in the last year?
Moorhead: In 2009 the agency had done five or six mobile projects. In 2010, we're going to finish with over 20 projects, so really 5x growth in terms of projects we're doing. That runs the range from supporting traditional, above-the-line advertising with text-messaging opt-ins to mobilizing online properties for some of our clients to a handful of applications we're building for clients.
One thing we really feel strongly about it is not just focusing on iPhone. An app strategy today really has to look across platforms seriously -- at least iPhone and Android, if not BlackBerry and Windows as well. And I think we're getting smarter about how we do those things -- it's not just putting something out there, you've got to put a media plan behind it and invest dollars to promote it.
OMD: Speaking of the iPhone, you've been openly critical of Apple's iAd platform. Some of the initial sponsors have dropped out. How would you assess the iAd rollout to date?
Moorhead: I think from a public relations standpoint it was really great, and I think it finally cemented the whole awareness question of: "Is mobile serious, should we do it?" Apple's entry, and the way they did it, really said "Yeah." But practically, I think it was a horrible fiasco.
To be fair, we haven't done an iAd execution at Draftfcb. I'm a little glad about that, because from my conversations with executives from other agencies, it's been kind of a tragedy -- long lag times in production and Apple creative technicians dabbling in the creative execution and pushing back on creative choices the agency and client have made because they don't agree with them.
For my money, if I'm going to spend a million bucks in mobile, which is a gigantic insertion order -- nobody should be telling me that my creative needs tweaking and I shouldn't be waiting from my creative product to be ready for review. And I think their metric story is kind of a mess.
OMD: How so?
Moorhead: [Apple] will tell you they have a level of device penetration between the iPhone, the iPad and iPod touches, but if you dig into that a little bit it falls apart really quickly. They can't tell you what kind of impression volume they can guarantee; they can't tell what their average CTR is. And for an ad platform that claims to be the next revolution in engagement, to not be able to tell an actual engagement story seems to me difficult to swallow. Google runs tons of ads on the Apple iPhone platform and they can tell me all of those metrics.
OMD: So Draftfcb has ruled out doing any iAd campaigns?
Moorhead: It's not that we've chosen not to do iAds. We had one client come forward and say: "Yes, we absolutely want to do it and we explored it with them and as we got into with them and looked at realities of what it was going to involve, they backed away from it.
OMD: Besides iAd, What other developments have gotten your attention this year?
Moorhead: One thing that's got me and the agency excited is the emergence of location services in all their forms from Foursquare and Facebook Places to light-speed advancements of ad networks in geotargeting for ad media in mobile. It's becoming a moment where for the first time ever we're able to deliver on this promise of right message, right person, right moment and right place. And that's a revolution in advertising and we're right at the beginning of it.
OMD: What are the biggest hurdles to geotargeted advertising in mobile?
Moorhead: There are some accuracy issues. The different ad networks have different levels of sophistication in targeting. It's a new space and nobody's figured out how to bring it to scale in a way that's going to be meaningful for some of these big brands. The opportunity is there, a lot of people are focused on it, but that's going to be something to look at closely in 2011 -- how does geolocation mature? One of my aspirations in 2011 would be to pursue better standardization for geotargeting.
OMD: Have you had any dealings with Foursquare?
Moorhead: Foursquare doesn't have advertising opportunities -- they have a self-service model where you can go and set up a special for your business. But if I'm Kentucky Fried Chicken and I've got 4,000 locations in the U.S., I don't have time to go through and set up a special on a location-by-location basis. Foursquare has been a little awkward, in that sense, to work with. We're talking to them, I've talked with Tristan [Walker] and Dennis [Crowley]. Again, it's a new space and a startup company.
OMD: Where can mobile take ad dollars from in local?
Moorhead: I hear things from clients like, "Well, my local advertising strategy right now is radio. And I'm spending X dollars in radio a year, and I'm really not clear on how it's working. But if what you're saying is true, that I can spend money on local-targeted mobile advertising and it's trackable and performance-based...I'll shift my radio budget over for that." That money is real, and opportunity is real, so I think you'll see all the ad networks dive into perfecting how to service that need.
OMD: What change in attitude, if any, toward mobile have you seen from clients in the last year?
Moorhead: At the senior level at brands now, the light bulb is starting to go on of: "Wow, this mobile thing is happening -- it's real, the consumer wants it, and we've got to figure it out." So I've been saying things to clients like: "It's okay if you don't have it figured out today, but you've got to get started."
[Draftfcb Group manager, director, Digital] Chris Miller and I spoke at a CMO forum in Chicago a few months back and had about 100 CMO, or SVP marketing-level executives from Fortune 500 companies attending the session. We got the attendee list afterwards and looked site by site at the companies, and what we found was less than 15% had a mobile site. That 85% of that collection of brands is essentially closed on mobile today seems totally out of whack with consumer behavior.
OMD: How have spending levels changed for clients that have been doing mobile marketing?
Moorhead: A lot of the work we did in 2009 in mobile was at the $50,000-and-below level, so very much test and learn. In 2010 we're seeing a lot more $100,000, $200,000 investments, where clients are saying: "Let's build a real mobile site, let's amp up text-messaging support. And then looking forward to 2011, seeing companies who are starting to say: "What should my yearly allocation be to support mobile? And that's starting to head north of $250,000 in some cases. And in some cases, even north of $1 million, depending on what the client need is.
OMD: We talked about social location services. What other segments do you see growing next year?
Moorhead: I'm predicting that code scanning is going to blow up in 2011, of all varieties, whether Microsoft Tag or QR or services like Stickybits or ScanLife that are using the UPC codes on products. The momentum I've been getting out of the business is that everybody wants this and with the flood of smartphones coming to the market next year where we're going to hit 50% penetration, I think you're going to see a gigantic explosion in code-scanning behavior in consumers and hit that mythical Japan level that everyone has talked about.