The Cell Sell

Mobile advertising — expected to rise tenfold by 2011, to $14 billion — is getting more and more creative.

The Cell Sell
Michael Chang | photograph by Jason Madara Michael Chang | photograph by Jason Madara

The Connector
Maria Mandel
Executive Director of Digital Innovation
New York, New York


Maria Mandel, 32, is the point
person for emerging platforms
at the interactive division of
the global ad agency Ogilvy.

“The best mobile campaigns take advantage of the personal and interactive nature of the device. Ideally, you want the mobile consumer to be in control of the experience. For DHL, we did a Tetris-style game where the boxes were labeled with DHL. Ten percent of users forwarded the game to their friends — unheard of in traditional
ad landscapes. For Motorola, we allowed travelers at the Hong Kong airport to upload good-bye messages to Motorola-sponsored digital displays throughout the airport. When we talked to users afterward, some took offense that we were calling the campaign ‘advertising.’ They said it was an ‘experience.'”

The Opportunist
Cyriac Roeding
Executive Vice President
CBS Mobile
Los Angeles, California


Cyriac Roeding, 35, runs CBS’s wireless business, which tallied more than 75 million page views for its news, sports, and entertainment content in the fourth quarter of 2007, triple one year earlier.

“Mobile is the only media you carry with you 18 hours a day — every moment that you’re not sleeping. People use the mobile Web differently from their computers: The display is small, you’re often doing something else, too, and you typically have little time. But that creates opportunities. We recently teamed up with Loopt, a social-mapping service, to deliver the first location-based mobile ads in the United States and Europe. You’re walking down the street checking sports scores on CBS on your BlackBerry and get a banner ad: ‘Getting Hungry? Pizza is $5 off around the corner.’ Mobile video has mainstream potential. We’re already doing mini versions of Letterman, CSI, and Survivor.”

The World Shrinker
Mike Baker
Vice President
Nokia Interactive
Boston, Massachusetts


Mike Baker, 44, joined the global
leader in handsets after it acquired his
mobile ad network, Enpocket, last fall.
In February, he launched the Nokia Media Network
, which offers ad space on more than 70 mobile sites, including AccuWeather, Discovery, Hearst, and Reuters, to reach more than 100 million users.

“The challenge with global advertising
is that attitudes toward mobile ads vary widely. In the United States, Japan, and the U.K., consumers see ads everywhere, so they aren’t surprised to see them on their mobile phones. But in other places, such as Finland, mobile ads have to offer services or additional information to
get users’ attention. Luckily, the highest growth markets, including China, India, Russia, and Brazil, are eager for mobile advertising because it makes their mobile experience more sophisticated and compelling. We are adopting a uniform ad unit on the mobile Web that can be deployed worldwide simultaneously rather than the more customary practice of rolling out one region at a time. The potential here is 10 billion euros over the next five years.”

Game Boy
Michael Chang
San Francisco, California


Michael Chang, 34, heads Greystripe, a startup that provides free games for mobile phones in exchange
for viewing ads. It’s currently attracting 250,000 downloads a day, a tenfold increase from a year ago.

“The biggest problem in mobile is distribution. If a company wants to get a piece of content to a user, there’s basically no getting around the carrier. Advertising is an end run around the carrier to achieve wide distribution.

We have relationships with 95 different game publishers and offer more than 900 games. With each game, consumers see three full-screen ads, two before play and one after. The full-screen format is attractive for branding — Coca-Cola
, Nintendo, and Progressive are some of our advertisers. Most mobile platforms don’t offer full screen. The ads can be interactive, too, so users can click on pop-up menus, call advertisers directly, or click on a survey. If done right, mobile ads can be as entertaining as the game itself.”


The Toe Dipper
Stacy Doren
Director of Customer Marketing
Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.
San Francisco, California

Stacy Doren, 35, oversaw the Signature brand’s venture into mobile advertising when it became one of the first companies to sign on to Virgin Mobile’s Sugar Mama,
an ad-supported cell-phone service in which consumers earn free minutes by watching advertisements.

“Last year, Virgin approached us to sponsor some content on its Sugar Mama service. Instead of just pushing ads at users, we had the chance to draw people in with a ‘pull model.’ Consumers had to answer questions after watching an ad, so we knew they were engaging with our brand. And I loved that we could reward them with free phone minutes. Ultimately, we decided this type of mobile advertising was a better fit for a younger target market than ours. Signature is more for ‘gatekeeper moms,’ who share a phone with their kids to keep them occupied in the car. Mobile advertising will eventually catch up to those moms, but not yet.”