Archive for the wpp Category

ogilvyone-acision-logo-mobilestance-copy.jpg OgilvyOne, the Interactive and CRM arm of the WPP Group, and Plano, TX-based Acision, a mobile technology firm that provides the mobile messaging back-end to many Wireless Carriers worldwide, announced a “marketing alliance” to “enable mobile marketing and advertising for mobile operators and brands.” No specific mobile brand initiatives or product offerings are cited in the announcement.

Over the past few years OgilvyOne has been an active player in the US mobile marketing space, going back to their groundbreaking 2004 integrated mobile marketing campaign for Dove. Acision, who claims to “deliver more than half of the world’s text and multimedia messages and serves three quarters of all videomail users,” would seem an ideal parter for for OgilvyOne’s future direct marketing-based mobile messaging campaigns, although it is not clear what assets (other than its messaging platform) Acision would bring to a “mobile advertising” offering.

Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman and CEO, OgilvyOne hints at a future carrier tie-up (or at least reveals Acison/OgilvyOne’s pitch to the carriers) by stating that “it is crystal clear that the big opportunity for telco operators is to leverage their data assets.” Rory Buckley, CEO, Acision further reinforced their strategy by asserting that “Mobile operators have been incredibly vocal about their hopes for mobile advertising… the real potential lies in the targeting and delivery of marketing communications both for the operator themselves and for third party brands… Working with OgilvyOne, we are now in a position to offer support for the complete mobile marketing value chain; from an understanding of today’s mobile subscriber, through the technology, right into the brand strategy.”

Clearly then the missing piece is a Carrier willing to sign on and allow the two to manage their mobile messaging ad inventory (or at a minimum permit the two to leverage the consumer data currently managed by Acision for mobile ad targeting purposes). While there is little doubt OgilvyOne’s expertise in CRM and brand marketing combined with Acision’s Carrier relationships and current dominant role in the mobile messaging value chain will provide a compelling offering to mobile operators worldwide – it remains to be seen which (if any) of the Carriers will decide to move forward with the Acison/OgilvyOne integrated mobile messaging-based advertising offering.

burnett-akoo-logo-mobilestance-copy.jpg In related news, Publicis’ Arc Worldwide, the marketing services arm of Leo Burnett, announced a non-exclusive alliance with Akoo International, a provider of mobile messaging and integrated display technology. The announcement makes no mention of specific brands committing to any marketing services resulting from the Arc / Akoo alliance.

Akoo’s primary offering is its “m-Venue” platform, which allows consumers to control and/or interact with video content displayed in retail locations and other out-of-home places – either via the internet or through a mobile message-based application. The solution also features a “music ID”-like feature, whereby consumers can text in to receive more information on the song that they are listening to (presumably for later purchase). The current m-Venue offering is tailor made for the labels, such as Universal Music Group and Sony BMG – the both of which are listed on the Akoo website as as either current or historical m-Venue clients.

The fit then, with Arc Worldwide, with its focus on direct-database marketing/customer relationship management, interactive marketing, promotional marketing and – most importantly – shopper marketing, is a natural one. It remains unclear if Akoo will be making a direct advertising play by aggregating a network of display spaces incorporating their m-Venue system, or if they will merely be providing the back-end technology for Arc (and other agencies and brands) to activate independent OOH display inventory.

Analysis: While both agreements provide further evidence of the accelerating activity and interest in the mobile marketing sector, it is telling that neither announcement provides any mention of actual mobile brand activity. What is clear that both Publicis and WPP anticipate mobile as an important element in the integrated marketing space, although both holding companies are playing things somewhat safe by announcing “marketing alliances,” rather than making direct investments in and/or launching Joint Ventures with either of these mobile technology firms.


groupm-celltick-logo-lockup-mobilestance-copy.jpg Group M, the parent company of WPP media agencies (MediaCom, Mediaedge:cia and MindShare), and UK-based Celltick, a provider of mobile “Idle Screen” ad serving and inventory management technology, jointly announced a “regional cooperation agreement” today whereby the two will “develop a joint mobile advertising proposition… for the Asia Pacific region.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Celltick will “actively promote… Group M as media partner for managed service contracts; GroupM is now the preferred media partner for advertising inventory on operator platforms served by Celltick’s LiveScreen(TM) Media. In return, GroupM will present Celltick’s LiveScreen(TM) Media as its preferred idle screen advertising solution for mobile operators and promote it as an advertising channel to media agencies in the region.”

Celltick claims its LiveScreen technology currently reaches the idle screens of over 200 million mobile users on over 20 operators worldwide, including Hutch, Orange and China Unicom.

Analysis: Putting aside the inherent conflict of interest Group M will face in “favoring” a partner’s media on the basis of a partnership arrangement, the real value of Idle Screen mobile advertising inventory has yet to be demonstrated in any unbiased and/or publicly available data and/or case studies. While there is little doubt that the inactive screen “push” model will be successful as a pure branding play, in remains to be seen if users will act (i.e. click) on idle screen mobile ads in large and/or reliable numbers. Judging by the context by which most mobile phones are used (i.e. to make a call, or engage in mission-based activity such as text messaging or even mobile search), we would suspect not.

Of course, Celltick could help us become believers in their approach by publishing some (independently verified) click thru data…