Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nokia Ad Chief Touts Mobile Phone's Advantages | MediaPost

by Mark Walsh, Friday, Feb 8, 2008 8:30 AM ET
OPENING WITH A QUIP ABOUT this being the seventh year in a row that mobile is supposed to kick into high gear, Jeremy Wright, Nokia's global ad chief, made the case for why the mobile phone should be a bigger ad venue than it is during his keynote address at the OMMA Mobile conference Wednesday.

Ticking off some of the industry's impressive stats, from 3.3 billion mobile phones worldwide to 17% annual expected growth for mobile advertising in the next few years, Wright set the stage for the third-screen's inevitable triumph as a global, yet highly targetable marketing platform.

Except for certain geographic holdouts, including the U.S. "There's a lot of cynicism (about mobile ads) in the Western world, but that's not true across the rest of the world. People are more rational and want to see what it is," he said.

Among mobile's as yet untapped strengths is its ability to generate strong ad response rates-in the range of 10% to 20% and well beyond that of the wired Internet or traditional media. "One of the most bizarre things in the market is that hardly any brands are using mobile to improve response rates from offline channels," he said.

He also stressed the importance of location-based services as a killer app for mobile phones. Marketing messages can be directed to consumers while shopping, increasing the chances of an impromptu purchase. "Acting on impulse, that's what advertising should be all about," he told the packed room.

Because mobile yields more user data than any other media, it also offers the greatest opportunity to hit the right audience at the right time with the right message. The flip side is that marketers, carriers and other mobile players have to give consumers control over what they see and hear on their cell phones. "This control thing comes up again and again," said Wright, because of the more personal nature of mobile devices compared to traditional media outlets.

Given the fragmented landscape of mobile advertising, Wright took the opportunity to tout some of Nokia's efforts to standardize and streamline ad-buying on cell phones. The handset giant late last year acquired Boston-based Enpocket to accelerate build out its mobile ad platform for publishers, advertisers and carriers.

And with 900 million Nokia phones in circulation worldwide, or 40% of mobile users, it can certainly offer extensive reach. "To make this medium work we have to deliver valuable mobile services and make them work," said Wright. "And give enough control to users so this really does improve their lives."

Mark Walsh can be reached at

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