Marketers, Now Is Not The Time To Phone It In

When Advertising Week approaches each year, I imagine the anticipation and sudden flurry of activity we marketers experience is a bit like award season for the entertainment industry. There are industry a-listers, high-profile events, award ceremonies, invite-only dinners… and while we may not have the same fashion sense, we still have photographers waiting at the step and repeat.

In my internal narrative paralleling marketing in September with Hollywood in January and February, the Smarties Awards at the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 Innovation Summit seem to be a bit like the Critic Circle Awards. It’s the only global competition for the best marketing in mobile, submissions are debated by a panel of industry experts and the insights drawn from the process establishes the bar over which future entries must hurdle. 

The similarities to the entertainment industry don’t end there. In fact, marketers and entertainers can be viewed as having the same goal – we want to grab and keep the attention of an audience. 



Gone are the days when people watched a certain TV show because it was pretty much the only thing on. Similarly, marketers can no longer just buy a 30-second spot and know they’ll impact millions in a matter of days. In fact, even the most amazing creative won’t necessarily break through consumers’ fragmented time and distracted focus. Today, it’s just one of the many factors we need to master along with data, format and targeting.  

For marketers looking to meet consumers where they are spending their time, at this moment there is no better vehicle than mobile. Getting the rest of the mix right is not so easy. But this is where we have a huge advantage over a lot of the entertainment industry. While we drift in the sea of change that is consumer behavior, we have the opportunity to experiment and push the limits to find where the uniqueness of mobile centric opportunities might take us. 

Just as opinion might be the only thing separating a good and great movie, it’s this willingness to push limits and be courageous that separates good and great marketers. While getting that perfect mix of creative, data, format and targeting is not so easy, the only way to do it wrong is to not do it at all.

So as we enter our own flurry for the industry, here are some of the campaigns that resonated for me.   One of the themes that we’re seeing quite a bit is how brands are changing perspectives either in how they take a traditional campaign and deliver it differently or find a way to tell a story where you wouldn’t expect it. 

Dunkin’ Donuts and BMW both leveraged immersive, addictive and interactive experiences by incorporating 360 video as part of product launches. Dunkin’ Donuts helped world-class female base jumper Ellen Brennan execute the fastest donut run as she helped unveil their new mobile ordering from the chain’s app. For BMW, supermodel Gigi Hadid became the center of the most exciting shell game anyone has ever seen for their launch of the new M2. Both campaigns not only elicited strong audience engagements, but these creative treatments in new deliveries created a visual centerpiece for each.  

The Donate the Bar’s campaign took the unused space created by user-generated vertically recorded videos to raise visibility for NGOs around the world. Not only did it leverage what was perceived as wasted space but it helped drive a movement of brand awareness for dozens of organizations that are doing incredible work around the globe.

What inspires me about each campaign aligns with what inspires me about film. Plot twists and creative ways to draw emotion. This is what excites us when its award season and most importantly we see it challenging creativity around it. So if you’re looking to make sure you are all in, take the time and go find some brilliance. Now is a great time to do it.

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