IAB Smartphone Showcase

Case studies of creative ads at work on mobile smartphones

Paramount Pictures/Paranormal Activity 4

Marketer: Paramount Pictures
Agency: Joule, MEC, mNet
Publisher/Media Company: Yahoo!
Active Online: October 2012

Joe Laszlo's Take:
I have a thing for phone ads that take advantage or play off of core phone functionalities—it just makes sense!  This ad is great for its ability to create a convincing mock-video-chat environment—an everyday phone use case—and turn it into something unique, scary, and very memorable.  And it wasn’t just me who liked it:  the campaign won the 2013 IAB MIXX Award GOLD for Custom Mobile Rich Media Display.

Brief Description of Execution:
What if your phone had a mind of its own – that’s the premise of this haunting rich media unit for “Paranormal Activity 4.” The unit delivers the convincing impression that the user’s phone has been taken over by a mysterious force: The phone’s keyboard appears to self-activate and, on its own, type the phrase “All the activity has led to this” into the Yahoo! search box. Creepy search results are returned almost immediately. Suddenly, a video call appears to come in from an unknown number – and the user is transported into a video-chat with a strange girl. The girl appears to be listening to and responding to what the user might be saying when … Well, we won’t spoil the surprise ending …

The campaign focused on Yahoo! as the media partner because of its tremendous mobile reach, diversity of content, and focus on user experience.

What made this execution interesting or special?
The ad unit was unusual and so spookily realistic that users were legitimately frightened at first--then delighted upon learning it was a clever promotion for PA4. Hundreds tweeted about experiencing the ad – a sure sign of its impact.

This execution aimed at both PA fans and newbies alike, using a combination of surprise and shock delivered in hyper-realistic multimedia – video plus audio, perfectly simulating a video phone call – just like the films themselves.

Beyond the initial “activity” of the fake video phone call, the ad unit gave users the choice of buying tickets or visiting the mobile-optimized site, where they could, among other things, view a full-length trailer.

The aforementioned Twitter eruption was one indication of the success of the ad unit. Another is that the ad achieved an average interaction rate of 5.8%, which is 190% above industry norms. And of course, the movie opened #1 in the box office and grossed more than $140 million!


DmC: Devil May Cry

Agency: Mindshare UK
Publisher/Media Company:  Twitter
Technology Enablers:  Celtra
Active Online: Jan. 24, 2013 – February 14, 2013

Sabrina's Take:
The execution is what makes this creative interesting. That contrast between a text based experience and a full page visual is engaging plus the fact that the experience is integrated. You vote without leaving the Twitter application. Successful smartphones ads need to take into consideration consumers’ current task and integrate their execution and message accordingly as consumer’s behavior is different than on desktops and tablets.

Brief Description of Execution:
To promote the release of the DmC: Devil May Cry game, Capcom reached out to iOS and Android Twitter users via a Rich Media Tweet. Upon tapping on a Twitter card that invited the audience to vote for their favorite DmC weapon, a smoothly animated, full-page HTML5 experience launched inside the Twitter application. Within this expanded rich media unit, users would vote, watch the trailer, download a free DmC app, and tap to visit an external site, where they could buy the full game.

What made this execution interesting or special?
The creative execution utilized Celtra’s Social Rich Media product, which allows brands to bring immersive rich media ad experiences directly to their audiences’ Twitter and Facebook feeds. This, in combination with the ad’s fun, interactive content, resulted in a high-performing mid-funnel marketing campaign with stunning engagement and video play rates.

Video:  http://vimeo.com/65568739


Intel The Escape iAd

Marketer: INTEL / 2nd Generation Intel Core Processors
Agency: Ansible & OMD
Technology Enablers: Apple

Sabrina's Take:
This creative is good because it starts with a banner that entices users to engage/tap before launching a more immersive and as result assumingly heavier  creative experience. This results in a more friendly user experience than forcing too much at initial download.  Ads that engage users in a game like experience tend to be successful on mobile devices where casual game play is common. However, in order to do it well the game must be closely integrated with the brand message and has to take advantage of smartphone features such as touch, shake etc. This creative execution is a great example of both of those aspects.

It is also an IAB MIXX 2012 Gold award winner for Single Execution Mobile Ad!

Brief Description of Execution:This creative ran as an iAd known as 'The Escape' an interactive, mission-based game. By simply tapping onto a standard mobile banner, the audience is instantly sucked into the world of ‘The Escape’ with no download required.

Players are immersed in 'The Escape' through video vignettes and first-player games, which utilize all of iAd's advanced technologies (the gyroscope, accelerometer, and multi-touch interface).

What made this execution interesting or special?
The game experience was very enticing to consumers and resulted in over 5 million consumers engaging with the rich media game and playing almost 3,000 hours of 'The Escape’. The excitement from the consumers resulted in a lot of social buzz and increased Intel brand awareness.

Intel: It is also an IAB MIXX 2012 Gold award winner for Single Execution Mobile Ad!

Scandinavian Airlines: It is also an IAB MIXX 2012 Silver award winner for Single Execution Mobile Ad!


Couple up to Buckle up

Marketer: Scandinavian Airlines
Agency: CP+B
Publisher/Media Company: e-mail and advertiser's website and newspapers sas.se

Sabrina's Take:
This creative is very interesting because it combines the use of smartphones with other mediums including newspapers and the desktop web via the use of QR codes. The effectiveness of QR codes is something the mobile industry is always debating about. The challenge is to use them in a meaningful and simple way. For this campaign the video creative needed to be pulled up on a smartphone so two different people can easily align them up together. QR codes were a successful way to enable that experience because they can be published across different mediums then accessed via a smartphone.

It is also an IAB MIXX 2012 Silver award winner for Single Execution Mobile Ad!

Brief Description of Execution:Nearly all of Scandinavian Airlines top customers use smartphones - and often read their e-mail there. Over 100 000 selected members received an e-mail with two unique QR-codes that could be scanned with two smartphones.

Two separate YouTube clips was shown in the displays and when the phones were next to each other they formed a message where a code was revealed - the key to activate the offer. In addition to the e-mail, the activity was supported on the front page of sas.se, in mobile banners and in some of the biggest newspapers.

What made this execution interesting or special?
This creative execution brought people together. Because it was executed on smartphones, a device that consumers carry with them everywhere it was widely successful. Watching the videos on a laptop wouldn't have the same physical and emotional connection. 11%  of consumers who received the e-mail clicked through to the campaign site. In 20% of the cases, visitors came to the campaign site via a QR code. The films were shown 1900 times with 41% saw the right hand side and 59% the left one.  Every ticket available was sold.


Ghost Recon Future Soldier

Marketer: Ubisoft
Agency: Biborg
Publisher/Media Company: Hi Media
Technology Enablers: Smart & DG

Active Online: June 28, 2012 — September 30, 2012

Sabrina's Take:
What is interesting about this creative is that it uses "shake" for the call to action. Instead of tapping to launch a video the user is clearly instructed to shake to watch the trailer. With advanced features available on mobile devices such as touch, accelerometer etc. it is exciting to see ad units exploring different type of interactions to get viewers to engage deeper.

Brief Description of Execution:In order to announce the game release to the gamers, Ubisoft chose to advertise in an innovative way on the most known videogame mobile app in France: jeuxvideo.com. Biborg, working closely with DG (adserving) and Hi-Media (Advertising network), conceived an eventful and never-seen-before mobile campaign.

Depending on the user broadband, a video interstitial simulated the homepage being attacked. Then the users cold shake their smartphone to expand the banner, watch the trailer and download the app.

What made this execution interesting or special?
Video interstitial simulated the homepage being attacked surprised the users and shaking the mobile to launch the trailer pioneers new exciting ways to interact with the users.


The Blue Moon Locator

Marketer: Blue Moon
Agency: VisualMax
Publisher/Media Company: Yelp
Technology Enablers: Crisp Media

Active Online: June 1, 2012 — August 1, 2012Sabrina's Take:

This is a great example of an ad that uses location to increase the relevancy of its content. It extends the users behavior and intent of looking for a local bar/restaurant into the ad experience in a clear touch friendly interface.

Brief Description of Execution:
The objective of the “Blue Moon Locator” was to help users find local bars/restaurants serving Blue Moon when searching for places to go on Yelp.com

Strategy included matching Blue Moon’s national database with Yelp’s API combined with custom programming to bypass prompting a user to approve current GPS location to improve user experience and increase engagement rate with the ad. 

User taps to expand the Blue Moon Locator to find local bars/restaurants including image, name, address and rating. Results link to the businesses profile page on Yelp.com for more information.   Link to Blue Moon’s mobile website also included in the Branded rich media unit.

What made this execution interesting or special?
This highly social ad makes use of real time, localized Yelp feeds to show users where to get Blue Moon.


Earth Hour

Marketer: WWF Norway
Agency: Mobiento Norway
Technology Enablers: Mobiento AB

Active Online: March 2012

Sabrina's Take:
This is a fairly simple, yet powerful creative execution. It starts with a clear call to action banner that jumps you right into the lights off experience without leaving the publisher's environment.  Allowing users to then swipe to uncover more information is a great use of the touch screen environment.

Brief Description of Execution:
Earth Hour asks people to turn their lights off at home to fight climate change. We took the initiative to help WWF Norway promote the event by pitching the first national mobile rich media ad campaign.

In a mobile world, a screen is a massive global light source, so we took the Earth Hour concept one step further, asking our tech-addict generation to turn their mobile screens off.

With the tap of a mobile rich media banner, the screen blackened, turning phone lights off across Norway. A swipe across the screen slowly let the light back in and revealed the Earth Hour countdown.

It all happened in the browser, directly in the ad on the placement site. No extra steps were needed to reach a landing page or app store download, that would otherwise disrupt the reader’s experience.

What made this execution interesting or special?
Run across the major Norwegian media site of Aftenposten and Dagbladet, we showed that the days of static mobile advertising were over.

Take that, climate change.


Paranormal Activity 3

Marketer: Paramount Pictures/Paranormal Activity
Agency: MEC
Technology Enablers: InMobi / Sprout Inc.

Active Online: Oct. 1, 2011 — Oct. 31, 2011

Sabrina's Take:
Instead of just launching the movie trailer, this creative allows the user to choose to engage and explore via natural touchscreen gestures (swiping) to discover it. It also has information on when the movie is released right at the beginning of the ad experience in-case a user doesn't choose to interact.

Brief Description of Execution:
This mobile rich unit was designed to excite mobile users about the upcoming Paranormal Activity 3 movie. Users swiped through the room to see paranormal activity occurring in the ad unit. Once the users swipes around the room they are taken into the bathroom where an in-line trailer of the movie plays. This ad ran on iPhone and Android phones, across mobile and in-app inventory.

What made this execution interesting or special?
This ad was unique in that the trailer played automatically in-line in the mobile rich unit.


McDonald's Oatmeal

Marketer: McDonald's
Agency: Mobext
Publisher: Pandora, Millennial Media, Local Response
Technology Enablers: Celtra

Active Online: Jan. 5, 2012 - Feb. 5, 2012

Sabrina Alimi's Take:
This creative execution is great because users already turn to their phones for entertainment and this ad provides a fun game that is relevant to the brand message within the browser experience.

Brief Description of Execution:
This ad for McDonald’s ran in-app and on the mobile web on Android and iPhone smartphones and was location targeted to New York City.

What made this execution interesting or special?
This expandable ad for McDonald's Oatmeal invites users to play a Memory Game. Users click the tiles to match the ingredients in the quickest amount of time. They can then play again, find a store in their area or visit the McDonald's mobile website.


Slim-Fast Shakes

Marketer: Unilever Slim-Fast
Publisher: Mindshare
Technology Enablers: InMobi / Sprout Inc.

Active Online: Oct. 24, 2011 — Nov. 19, 2011

Sabrina's Take:
The cool thing about this creative execution is the simplicity in the interaction.  There’s a lot of information available within the ad and it is all accessible via a clear call to interaction of either tapping or shaking.

Brief Description of Execution:
This ad unit was designed to showcase the range of flavors of the Slim·Fast shake, as well as generate brand awareness for the new Slim·Fast bottles. We also incorporated the nutritional information for each flavor, into the ad, given the health-conscious attitude of our target demographic. This ad ran on iPhone and Android phones, across mobile and in-app inventory.

What made this execution interesting or special?
This ad was unique in that it utilized the iPhone’s ability to shake the device to control the content within the ad. The shake feature was employed to transition between flavors of Slim·Fast shakes.



Marketer: Starwood Hotels & Resorts / Sheraton
Agency: Razorfish
Publisher: The Weather Channel
Technology Enabler: Medialets

Active Online: September — November 2011

Sabrina’s Take:
The integration with the publisher's content makes this a cohesive creative execution. The user’s intent is to check the temperature which is important to choosing a trip destination as well so extending that experience into the ad keeps it relevant.

Brief Description of Execution:
To showcase the range of Sheraton Hotels & Resorts located around the world, Sheraton launched a rich media campaign enabled by Medialets for The Weather Channel iPhone app.

The creative initiates as a banner that prompts consumers to “FIND YOUR FAHRENHEIT” by tapping on the banner. When tapped, the banner expands to the full iPhone screen, with easy-to-follow instructions that enable consumers to use a slider to explore different Sheraton properties. The temperature goes up and down as the consumer drags the slide, displaying the corresponding Sheraton destination.

The creative also offers five different opportunities to drive consumers further down the funnel; they can tap-to-call or tap-to-visit starwoodshotels.com to make a reservation, share via Twitter, Facebook and email.

What made this execution interesting or special?

  • Exceptionally relevant media buy targeting weather seekers with a broad range of vacation destinations.
  • Unique and effective use of a popular mobile ad format (the Expandable Banner), “Touch” feature and imagery to showcase a broad range of Sheraton destinations
  • Includes 5 different ways for consumers act on the creative. Social media integration (Facebook and Twitter) and email allow consumers to share their interest, while the persistent CALL NOW and BOOK NOW buttons that display on each showcased property make it profoundly easy for consumers to buy.



Marketer: HP
Agency: Omnicom Media Group
Publisher: Audibly, Picplz, & Big Blue Bubble
Technology Enablers: Adtivity by appssavvy

Active Online: Nov. 20, 2011 - Jan. 8, 2012

Sabrina’s Take:
This creative execution is great because it keeps the publishers experience with an integrated background and lets you interact without leaving the app.

Brief Description of Execution:
HP connected with consumers through the adtivity by appssavvy platform – reaching their target audience after they performed activities in a wide range of relevant applications (gaming and non-gaming) across iOS & Android smartphones.

What made this execution interesting or special?

  • Unlike traditional mobile display banners around content, HP and appssavvy delivered a center-of-the-experience display ad through the adtivity platform.
  • Through custom frame designed by appssavvy’s publishers, ads were styled to blend in with the application and create a seamless user experience.
  • HP reached a lean-forward consumer after they performed an activity.
  • Engaging with the ad unit drove users to HP’s mobile site and kept users within the app.


The REI Winter Sale

Marketer: REI
Agency: OMD & BBDO
Publisher: The Weather Channel
Technology Enablers: Crisp Media

Active Online: December 2011 — current

Sabrina’s Take:
This full page ad takes advantage of the fun factor of a scratch-off game which fits nicely with the user experience of a small touchscreen interface and doesn't feel intrusive due to the integration with the publisher's content.

Brief Description of Execution:
This campaign for The REI Winter Sale ran on The Weather Channel mobile web for iPhone and Android. The ad begins with an animated takeover, in which the temperature drops and snow clouds the screen. Users are invited to interact with the ad by swiping away the snow, revealing the option to visit the REI microsite for their winter sale event.

What made this execution interesting or special?
This campaign was the first to use a full screen, animated home page takeover on a mobile website.  The campaign was also able to utilize native functionality to iOS and Android devices, by allowing consumers to swipe across the touchscreen to wipe away the animated snow effects. By running the ad on The Weather Channel, they were able to target consumers already thinking about winter weather and outdoor gear, capturing their attention with engaging animation.