Content Marketing for Mobile – No Apologies

Content creators: you’ve heard the rumors.  The world’s going mobile.

According to the CTIA, the wireless industry’s premier trade association, there are over 320 million U.S. users of mobile phone services.  Of those wireless customers, Fitch Ratings suggests that smartphone penetration should approach the mid-60% range by the end of 2012.  And within that group, Apple’s iPhone sales for its first fiscal quarter of 2012 will hit the 28 million mark, according to J.P. Morgan.

So, why are you creating content that we can’t watch on our iPhones?

SorryConsider the brilliant Apology video by J&J’s o.b. tampons.

Wanna know how many times someone sent me an email or DM, directing me to check out this video? — 3X in 3 days.  Each time, I received those messages on my iPhone or iPad.  Sometimes the sender did not think to tell me what I should be clicking on; they were friends or colleagues asking, “Did you see this yet? Click here!”  So I clicked… and fumed.

On 3 separate occasions I wound up pissed at o.b. tampons’ marketers for not thinking to create their video in HTML5 (vs. Flash).  So much for their terribly clever apology campaign (not that I was part of their target audience)!

Moving forward, if you’re a content creator who is genuinely respectful of your audience and hopeful for the broadest possible impact, you need to not only keep mobile in mind — you need to keep all potential mobile platforms in mind.

That said … if you are reading this from your computer, click on the o.b. tampons apology link above. It’s great.  And if you’re reading this post on your iDevice?  Don’t even bother.  Instead, try to simply remember to “check it out later.”  After all, by virtue of their development choices, that’s the chance the o.b. folks were willing to take, eh?

Posted on: December 14, 2011 at 10:22 am By Todd Defren
7 Responses to “Content Marketing for Mobile – No Apologies”


  • Fortunately, I’m not on an ipad so was able to view it and that was really cutely done! Definitely time someone introduces them to html5 (and some of you ipad folks to android LOL)

  • At ICE, we eat, sleep and breath mobile so you wont find a more sympathetic audience for this complaint. Everyone should be optimizing for mobile, or at least moving towards it. That not only means video but whitepapers, press releases, and your companies corporate site should all be compatible for viewing on an iPhone or iPad. Its expensive, time consuming and daunting for a company that isn’t as caught up in the mobile space as we are. But dont be left behind – this is the future.

  • I share your frustration. All too often I access twitter from mobile and frequently stumble across a flash rich page – totally useless.

  • This is a brilliant ad and it’s unfortunate so many people weren’t able to see it. It’s funny how you’ll see the tag NSFW attached to posts to keep people from opening non-work appropriate content in the wrong place. It would be fascinating to see if a tag for video player type experimented with in some way. Maybe it’s a particular form of link shortener that would indicate to the user if they’re compatible?

    But you’re right, at the end of the day, HTML5 is where it’s at to solve a lot of these problems.

  • Todd,

    I’m going to answer your question and then make a shameless plug (because it’s the solution). Like essentially all video customization campaigns, the Apology is done in Flash. There are two reasons: 1) Flash is well known with a lot of tools. That is, it’s the least expensive development environment. And 2) Flash assumes that you can use the client processor to do a lot of the work (often at the expense of a bigger download of raw material… thus assuming robust bandwidth). Of course, neither of these two reasons hold in mobile.

    But technology has moved on. Server-side rendering of custom video is now economical, reducing demands on bandwidth and client processors. And — here’s the shameless plug — companies like Impossible Software have made it really, really easy to develop campaigns that customize video using powerful effects. And the big advantage of server-side rendering is that you can set it up to adapt the video to what the client has… HTML5 if the browser supports it, iOS progressive download, Flash streaming, MP4 download to upload later to YouTube, whatever.

    Oh, and I’m sorry, but we did better tattoos two years ago!

    • Oh — I meant to say — we did tattoos two years ago, but NOT on iPhone. We tried to do it on iPhone, but the app was declined because the content was deemed too risque.

      That sort of story is a reason a lot of stuff is not done for iPhone: imagine spending $10K’s to produce a campaign and then having someone in Cupertino torpedo you at the last moment because the creative does not meet their taste. It’s not worth the risk. So, please be sure to point some of your righteous annoyance where it belongs, at those who create business uncertainty via arbitrary censorship.

      Instead, you be the judge of the campaign. (Agency case study — “Related videos” will point to some full examples)

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