Roadshow Films and Snakk cause a mobile storm for movie promo

Roadshow Films has brought an ominous tremble to Kiwis’ smartphones with the launch of the mobile trailer of Into the Storm, the disaster film set to hit Kiwi cinemas on 4 September.

The campaign, which has been running since 19 August and was pulled together by Snakk Media, takes over users’ smartphones by simulating a storm when certain websites are accessed. 

“Snakk is using its audience-targeting technologies to present the ads to people aged 15 to 39 who are visiting mobile apps or sites that have a focus on entertainment, movies, TV, music and gaming,” says Alan Oliver, Snakk’s country manager for New Zealand. “So the ad only appears to audiences in these age groups that are visiting these type of sites and apps.”

Oliver says that the ad starts playing the moment users swipe to a new page on a mobile site or app. During this period of limbo between pages, the user’s screen fills with a dark windy storm, and the trailer for the film starts to play. While the trailer plays, Android users’ phones will shake briefly, thereby simulating the impending arrival of a storm.       

“The vibration is called haptic feedback and occurs when your Android is not on silent,” says Oliver. “We’ve not seen the sensory layer of a vibration used in a New Zealand or Australian mobile ad campaign before.”

But the promotion isn’t limited to gimmicky elements; it also includes a feature that enables the user to instantly add a reminder to the smartphone’s calendar on the release of the film.   

This novel approach came about because Roadshow Films wanted to attract younger moviegoers to the film. The company delivered this goal in a brief to its media agency OMD, which in turn decided that a mobile-based campaign would offer the best channel to connect with the target audience and thus approached Snakk to develop a campaign. 

“The opportunity to work closely with Snakk Media to deliver a market-first execution on the Android platform is a great example of how we can use the unique elements of mobile to increase campaign effectiveness,” says OMD’s managing partner Andrew Reinholds.

He says that the campaign has been so successful in the New Zealand market that it has also been picked up across the ditch and is currently promoting the film to Aussies aged 15 to 39. 

“This is just the tip of the iceberg and we’re looking forward to understanding how the execution will help us deliver to our campaign objectives so we can evolve our thinking for the next big Roadshow Films release,” says Reinholds.

And this mobile evolution is becoming something of a necessity to media owners, given the continued growth of mobile advertising revenue. According to the most recent IAB figures, mobile advertising revenue jumped 198 percent year on year from  $2 million to $4.7 million.

And Oliver attributes this trend to the fact that brands and advertisers are taking their messages to the channel where consumers are spending most of their time. 

“In many countries, the time spent using smartphones now exceeds the time we spend web browsing on computers … Mobile devices are often referred to as second screens, but in reality they are becoming first screens for many people,” says Oliver.

Thus far mobile advertising has been criticised by consumers as nothing more than annoyance. In fact, a 2012 study by Trademob revealed that 40 percent of mobile ad clicks are either fraudulent or accidental, with more than half of them a result of ‘fat-finger syndrome’. It is becoming increasingly evident that banner ads don’t work, and Oliver believer that this will lead to advertisers employing different approaches. 

“Expect to see more creative campaigns on your mobile device that go ‘beyond the banner’ and use a combination of rich media, audience and geo-targeting as well other creative technologies that allow brands to offer more engaging and meaningful ways for consumers to interact with them,” he says.

And this trend is resulting in a decent stream of work for Snakk. Previously, the company has also developed innovative mobile campaigns for Jack Reacher, Madagascar 3 and Rise of Guardians. And while each of these campaigns featured interesting elements, the feather in Snakk’s cap is the promotional work done for Paranormal Activity 4, a campaign that has been shortlisted for ‘Best Overall Campaign’ and ‘Best Use of Mobile’ at the Festival of Media Asia.

“The Paranormal campaign involved “native message-type” advertising, where the user’s keyboard appears to self-activate, and looks like it’s been overtaken by a mysterious force that types a text message onto the screen and transports the user into their own paranormal experience,” says Oliver.

As smartphone technology continues to develop and grow, the ways in which advertisers present their messages will simultaneously evolve. And we can only hope that this innovation in advertising will eventually lead to the abrogation of annoying pop-ups and banner ads.         

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