2013 was hailed as the year of mobile, but more and more, it’s turning out to be the year of mobile video. Vine, Instagram and now YouTube have all introduced short-form mobile video sharing platforms this year. Meanwhile, Cisco released a study that said two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2017, suggesting advertisers better get to know the format as quickly as possible.
“There is a tremendous amount of opportunity on the whole to plan for what that small-screen experience is, rather than taking online and TV concepts and putting them into the mobile format,” said Sarah Bachman, director of mobile strategy at Horizon Media in Los Angeles.
“There are two real areas of opportunity,” Bachman continued. “One is in creating video specifically for mobile,” a trend brands are exploring now most often in social video. “The other is in being creative with the format. Mobile is tactile, so we’re able to integrate other functions that you can’t integrate online.
Here are five brands that are exploring mobile video ahead of their peers, be it via mobile social platforms, dynamic in-app ad engagements or made-for-mobile video footage.
1. Warby Parker: Online (and now offline) eyewear retailer Warby Parker seems to have a two-pronged approach to social mobile video. On Instagram, the brand shares cutesy, stop-motion animated videos that bring to life its products, capitalizing on Instagram’s visual cache and mobile video’s short-form appeal.
The brand appears to be using Instagram to push brand-curated videos and taps Vine as a channel for fans to make purchase decisions and show creativity. For example, Warby Parker consumers regularly post videos asking the Vine community for help in choosing one of the five pairs Warby Parker has shipped to their homes through the company’s seminal home-delivery program.
2. Lowe’s: While Instagram has been forecasted to overtake Vine among brands, Lowe’s has made a meal of the six-second format, which it has turned into a DIY channel. These videos are helpful, entertaining and professionally produced, proving short form doesn’t have to be short on quality. And while they sell the category, they’re also selling themselves as an authority on home improvement, something all good content does best.
3. Paramount Pictures: It’s not surprising that a movie studio would understand the power of video, but Paramount Pictures and its agency Joule in Los Angeles routinely push the envelope to integrate features unique to mobile devices. In May, the studio debuted a mobile video ad campaign that allowed idling airport travelers to unlock exclusive video content by tapping NFC-enabled smart phones to Captain Kirk’s communicator on outdoor ads.
That work followed an opening-weekend execution for “Paranormal Activity 4,” where an ad simulated demonic possession of a user’s phone by “hijacking” its keyboard and pushing users to a video call from the film’s protagonist. Viewers who “accepted” the call saw a chilling video message in Paranormal style — broken communications, long pauses and finally, the character getting yanked off screen. Paramount capped the ad with an end card for the film’s branded page, where moviegoers could buy tickets or watch a full trailer.
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4. Microsoft: To amp up the launch of its Xbox game “Gears of War: Judgment,” Microsoft ran a made-for-mobile 15-second video ad and paired the content with an interactive engagement tailored for their devices. Upon completing the video, the ad’s dynamic end card prompted mobile users to wipe the battle “ash” from their screens if they wanted to see the extended trailer or click to buy the game. More than 5 million users finished viewing the mobile ad and 630,000 went on to clear the dust for further engagement, according to AdColony.
5. Johnson & Johnson: Moms have used hugs, kisses and Band-Aids to soothe children’s boo-boos for decades, but last year J&J armed them with another tactic: augmented reality. Together with agency JWT, the brand launched an iPhone and iPad app that allowed children to scan their Muppets-branded bandages. The scan cued a mobile video of Kermit singing, Miss Piggy posing or Gonzo flying as a way to “entertain the pain away.” The video was a great example of putting emerging technology at the center of a campaign that branded Band Aids and its partner, Disney’s Muppets.