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Mobile Lions were more about apps and missed mobile strategy: Sheryl Daija

Sheryl Daija, MMA

Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is attending the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2013 in full strength to spread the word for mobile marketing. MMA is deliberating on the trends that can be looked at to develop the discipline further, which despite being exciting, is still a nascent medium for many. And the big attraction for them was the Mobile Lions. Sheryl Daija, Chief Strategy Officer, MMA has some very specific takeaways from the winners including what was lacking in the winning works.

On what was missing amongst the winners…
Mobile Lions is definitely a special night for us. The good news is that they had 1300 entries, which is a significant increase from last year. You can see that all the markets are doing more. There were a lot of campaigns that tugged at your heart strings because it was about something that was changing the world, and there is nothing more powerful than mobile to be able to do it. The other interesting thing this year was that there were many winners from across the market, so there wasn’t a specific region alone that was winning. That is indicative of the character of mobile that it is everywhere, and in some cases, unlike other media we can learn from different countries on how to use mobile interestingly.

That said, I would have liked to see innovation from the basis of campaigns than just single pieces of work. There were many one-off apps but I did not see enough of where mobile was a key component of a campaign, which could even be a mobile-only campaign with mobile websites and other such outlets. Since it was very individual integration of mobile, it was very difficult to see any real integrated mobile strategy behind the winning works.

On work from the region not there…
In our platforms, we get to see a lot of work from different regions in the category. I got the sense that a lot of good work was not there amongst the Mobile Lion winners. We certainly did not many of the big brands. I cannot be sure if it was not entered or it did not make it to the benchmark set for winning the awards. So I have requested the Festival owners to be able to share some of the work because for us, at MMA, it is about understanding who is doing what around the world and then influencing the process of how do we help agencies do better. And we definitely saw a lot of creative agencies winning in comparison to some of the agencies that focus on mobile advertising but once again, I cannot be sure if they did not participate or if they did not make the cut.

On mobile advertising beyond apps…
The thing that struck me the most was that there were too much about apps. I was not getting any sense of a mobile strategy coming across, and maybe because I was really looking out for that, I walked out thinking ‘we have work to do’. How are we going to get our agencies, marketers and our industry to start thinking about strategy than just execution with apps? Apps are a good thing and they make sense – they certainly were successful in the campaigns we had seen at the Mobile Lion winners but apps is not all that mobile is. There is push messaging, location based, videos. There is such a palette there for creativity but we did not see much work there.

Most of the work was for doing good, which is great because mobile should be used for that but I did not see the big idea. Last year, I was already counting the campaigns that I was going to use as examples to show how mobile can be used by marketers to reach out to, and know more about, their consumers. This year, I don’t have anything earmarked yet – I still have to go back and look at everything once again, because it was a lot of work coming one after the other on the awards night but there still wasn’t anything that stayed with me as something I would definitely take back and use as a North Star for the industry.