Commentary

Where Branding Meets Performance: Merging Mobile Apps And TV Advertising

Ironically, it took a cookie—Oreo—to prove that brands no longer need cookies for successful digital marketing.

The Nabisco brand showed that a mobile app could accomplish the task when its “Twist, Lick, Dunk” game became the number one app in 12 countries, with 4 million organic downloads, 4 billion virtually “dunked” Oreos, 250,000 peak daily average users, and 70 million game sessions.   

“Twist, Lick, Dunk” has been part of a concerted digital campaign from Oreo that helped spur its North American business to double-digit growth, according to a recent Fast Companyprofile.

Like CPG marketers, retailers are also using mobile games and apps to merge brand marketing and performance marketing into what can be called “Brandformance.”  

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For example, Target’s “Bullseye’s Playground” last Christmas season actually connected the mobile world with its physical stores.  On their phones, consumers could play six winter sports-related games. Inside Target stores, they could unlock special codes to get to new levels and characters. 

And in some selected stores, thanks to a partnership with Google, they could use special tablets where the scenarios and characters changed as they moved around the store.

“Twist, Lick, Dunk” and “Bullseye’s Playground” are part of an industry-wide Brandformance trend moving beyond just getting users to download games and apps toward the use of prominent call-to-action messages that will keep them playing, engaged, and making in-app purchases. 

These tactics include:

  • Playing the game to unlock a coupon for a purchase (Scrabble, Bejeweled)
  • Watching a video to download an app for a free trial or code for in-game currency (Candy Crush, Game of War)
  •  Custom in-game integration, such as: complete a branded task, quest, challenge to receive a branded item for in-game rewards (Sims Freeplay, Farmville)

In another Brandformance trend, as brands like Oreo and Target increasingly use mobile games as a key marketing tactic, app developers have moved ferociously into branded products’ tried-and-true favorite medium: television.

Those investing millions of dollars in TV advertising include:

· King’s Candy Crush, which last year ran twice as many spots as Sony or Microsoft

· Supercell’s Clash of Clans, which spent $9 million on a Super Bowl commercial, resulting in  30 million YouTube views, the most views of any 2015 Super Bowl spots

· MachineZone’s Game of War, which spent over $80 million on their commercials prominently featuring supermodel Kate Upton.

High-profile TV campaigns have helped ensure that in an environment where apps can be enormously popular for a while and quickly drop out of sight, Candy Crush, Clash of Clans and Game of War continue to ride high.

What does that mean for the future of Brandformance? 

As mobile app developers advertise on TV, the use of apps grows even more. In turn, CPG and retail advertisers notice that consumers are spending more and more of their time engaged with mobile apps. 

Mobile’s real-time analytics means they can be with current and prospective customers all the time. They realize that, unlike with desktops, they can provide consumers with full-screen formats. So more brands launch their own apps and games. And that helps the mobile apps and gaming mediums as a whole.  Which leads to more app developers advertising on TV. 

Done right, this apps/brands/TV process unites brand advertising and performance marketing into Brandformance success.
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