iPhone 2.0: A mobile marketing perspective from We Love Mobile

I caught Ben’s post on the We Love Mobile blog and asked permission to republish it here. We Love Mobile is a creative mobile advertising and media agency. They handle every aspect of a campaign – from strategy, creative and delivery to mobile media buying. They’re independent, ideas-led and will, they reckon, help you do extraordinary things with mobile.

Over to Ben:

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OK, OK, so I was one of the saddo’s who stayed up glued to my screen reading the reports of the WWDC keynote from Apple. There were the usual shades of some religious cult in evidence in the woopin’ and hollerin’ around Saint Jobs every word, and British Reserve does make my feel a bit uncomfortable about the hype.

To be fair though the chaps from the Valley have a lot to be chuffed about. The regular dissing of the Apple whipping boy Windows was this year truly deserved, with the apparent retreat of Vista from being a viable corporate product, and Windows Mobile failing to make up any real ground, in the PR stakes at least.

And on my side I am also still feeling chuffed over being made MEX Mobile Innovator of the Year a couple of weeks ago for the Blind Phone. It was a real privilege to win against some of my favourite products, including the Opera Mini browser and Taptu. To cap it all, last week the phone design company Tattu agreed to work on developing a prototype, so there is a chance we might be able to actually to take this project to market.

So all in all I was feeling pally with old Jobs. You know, him and me innovating against the world, and all that.

But the quality of the iPhone announcements at the WWDC today made me feel a tad humbled.

I have been grumbling somewhat about the iPhone. A truly wonderful music player and spare time mobile browsing device rather spoiled by a so-so phone and a cringworthy camera. More importantly, a great advertising device that missed the real punch of true location based communications and a decent data speed. Helped, however, by the free access to the internet that their draconian brand allowed.

So what did they do? Well they have a dev platform that allows total integration into the phone, and so the freedom to produce truly useful and accessible applications. They have chipped it to 3G, meaning data speeds equivalent to a sluggish WiFi connection, and also access to 3g tariffs with fixed price access. They have included GPS, which is linked with their mapping software for a proper GPS experience (although whether it is a swish as Nokia Maps remains to be seen).

Just little touches. The application of some polish and some learning to tweak things up. And it has become a walking talking ad magnet. A proper device unfettered by network restrictions.

But is it a revolution in mobile advertising? Or will it surpass mobile advertising and make mobile just another way of delivering TV spots?

Well Safari allows for the real deal in terms of internet access, but in my opinion the screen is still a little too small for 1000 pixel websites, and anyway it misses the point if there is no contextual content to take advantage of the users location. The app developers have made some nice stuff, but only Loopt really took advantage of context with it’s friend finding system – proper location based stuff.

In short, it will be possible for the new iPhone, with increased speed and access to context, to open up fabulous opportunities for some really exciting brand communications. But people really have to understand how mobile opens up the contexts of time and place into media placement and customer engagement before it will sing as an advertising tool.

And it is of course still niche. Too big and complex for most, and missing that crucial one handed use capability I still believe to be be vital for take-up amongst the masses.

But for this narrow demographic we as advertisers have to radically shift our mindset as to how they experience words from our sponsors. We can do truly beautiful things – but will we?

Mindsets, even at Apple, are still clearly limited by an assumption that it will be another internet screen to plonk ads on. But now instead of the just internet for inspiration, people should be turning their eye to the billboard, the event, the point of sale, for that understanding of how good advertising can actually make a situation better. Give help and advice, or provide laughter and warmth. Advertising that reaches out, but doesn’t make the recipient cringe away. That really does bring the product and the happy punter together.

So it is up to us to make this pay. To provide the chance for wonderful things to created, in the name of sponsored largesse. To stretch our little grey cells and deliver on the possibilities. And hopefully this is the vanguard for the phone companies and (more importantly) the networks to give us these freedoms, and let the seething potential of our market be released.

We look forward to giving it a go.

– – – – –

Thanks Ben!

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