Claire Beale On Advertising: They've already got an app for that
Monday 01 February 2010
Respect to Beattie McGuinness Bungay. As the world balanced on the edge of its seat last week to see Steve Jobs parading Apple's new iPad, BMB had already designed an app for it.
Even before we all knew what it was going to look like, what it was going to be called, even if – actually – it was going to exist at all, BMB had unveiled the first advertising exploitation of it.
Quite fitting really, since it was BMB that got in there quick with the iPhone and designed the Carling iPint app, which is now – for the moment – apparently the most downloaded iTunes app of all time (well, of the 18 months since the App Store launched, anyway).
The new iPad app is also for Carling, but this one's for the new Home Draught System. Now, before you get too excited let's remind ourselves that the iPad is not on sale yet, won't be over here for months and will take quite some time before it reaches anything like a sensible penetration for marketers to do anything effective with it.
Anyway, for what it's worth, the iDraught app will let you pour a pint from the Carling keg shown on the tablet into a glass shown on your iPhone (so you'll need both bits of kit), using the accelerometer functions of both. Right now, it's just a cunning PR stunt.
But will the iPad really offer advertisers anything more than the iPhone currently does? Or just the same but bigger? Well, bigger is better for advertisers it's true. The 9.7 inch iPad screen means streaming TV ads around video content on YouTube or other sites will have more visual impact and be a much more immersive experience. Creatives will like that; advertisers who've spent hundreds of thousands of pounds making a commercial film will like that. According to those who've seen the iPad in action, the picture quality is stunning. And why stop at a 30-second ad, when you can stream longer pieces of branded entertainment?
According to the techies, the iPad should also herald a new wave in interactive advertising. Imagine watching, say, an episode of Mad Men on your iPad, touching the screen when you see a jacket you like, and immediately being able to order it via an online store. At a stroke product placement becomes a measurable, transactionable and immensely more interesting proposition for advertisers and content creators alike. Some (fingers crossed, God willing) reckon the iPad could throw traditional print media a new commercial lifeline. It will certainly open up print content to new types of advertising. Like TV commercials within the iPad iterations of newspapers and magazines, or location-based ads that open up national print titles to local advertisers around the world depending on the country in which the copy is being read.
Location-based advertising is one of those prophesies that everyone has got tremendously excited about well before it's a viable option. With products like the iPad, it could finally become a tangible, and potent, reality. Advertisers will be able to serve real-time ads – lovely, glossy, colourful, rich real-time ads – that are perfectly relevant to the geographical location of users because the iPad will always be connected and always be location-aware.
One of the real issues the advertising industry has with the iPad, though, is its inability to support Adobe's Flash, the format most online ads are still rendered in. If advertising creatives are going to embrace the opportunities of the iPad, they're going to have to do so without using Flash and that will require a whole new learning process.
But I suspect most advertisers will start small, looking for new ways to exploit the branded app market utilising the bigger screen format. It's not a bad place to start with the iPad, because what's certain is that winning a slice of a consumer's time in the crowded iPad world will require advertisers to be more entertaining and engaging than ever. And not many advertisers are very good at being entertaining and engaging yet.
Best in show: BBC Winter Olympics (Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R)
We don't get too excited about the Winter Olympics in this country, particularly now that they take place in the same year as the World Cup. And unlike the summer games you're hard pressed to find a household name amongst the winter athletes. Undaunted, the BBC and its ad agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R have created a stunning animated film to promote next week's games in Vancouver. The stark and tense black and white spot features the story of an Inuit called Akiak, who's tasked with saving the ski resort of Whistler from a malevolent force. The result is a really unusual, engrossing and engaging film. Let's hope the games themselves are as exciting.
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