What Differentiates Winning Mobile
Campaigns in APAC?

Mobile Magic: What it takes to be a SMARTIES Winner

By Bhomik Chandna
Regional Director of Digital Strategy, Millward Brown

Mobile as a media channel offers truly exciting opportunities for consumer engagement. A global AdReaction study conducted by Millward Brown in early 2014 exploring multi-screen behavior and receptivity to advertising, confirmed the growing dominance of mobile. The study revealed that overall screen time in Asia-Pacific is considerably higher than the global average (439 vs 417 minutes per day). The majority of which is driven by mobile (36%). Also, Millward Brown's MarketNorms database shows that mobile campaigns outperform online campaigns across most brand KPI's including awareness, message and purchase intent.

In order to better equip marketers to make mobile work for their brands it's important to understand how to use mobile as a vehicle to deliver a holistic brand experience.

For this purpose, Millward Brown analyzed all the entries (57 in total) for the SMARTIES Awards in APAC to understand what separates winning campaigns from the rest. On top of observing the judges during the evaluation process to understand qualitatively the nuances of great campaign entries, we also conducted a quantitative assessment. Here's what we found out about what separates a winner:

  1. Have a Clear End Goal in Mind: Have clear campaign goals that relate to the brand objectives. It is imperative to have the goals that are measureable and hence determine the metrics for success. This can very easily play into a test-and-learn philosophy, which is crucial for leveraging such an evolving media.
  2. Have a meaningfully different role for mobile: 80% of the winners had a clear, well-defined role for mobile within an integrated campaign. Winning campaigns used the unique strengths of the channel to meet a business objective, including location, payments or even targeting. Simply running banner or video ads is not good enough. Equally, having a discount coupon on mobile instead of online does not make it a differentiating campaign.

    It is important that mobile is used –
    • To play a critical role in execution. Whether it is as an amplifier of consumer response, or direct response, sharing or even engagement.
    • In a manner that really plays to the unique strength of mobile.
  3. Novelty has a great impact: 38% of the gold winners used absolute new technology or innovation to create impact. Also worth noting that some winners using past ideas in a completely different manner to create a great impact.
  4. Keep the brand at the heart of the campaign: While technology has a great role to play, it's the brand that needs to be the hero of any story. Winning campaigns used insights to bridge the gap between business need and the role of mobile. Make the brand the "hero" of the story. Technology / innovation can be a great propeller, essentially, bringing art and science together to create a desired impact for the brand.
  5. Synergies work: Utilize the power of integrated campaigns – 86% of winners used a multi-channel strategy. Exposure across different channels helps reinforce messaging and leads to incremental impact. It is the media multiplier effect and an instance where 1+1 is greater than 2 in impact terms. For instance, Kia in Australia ran TV ads during the sporting event with an integrated mobile app where viewers could return a serve from the ads using their handsets; increasing the link with both the event and spreading the brand across multiple screens.


Mobile holds the potential of how advertising could be. Being objective and closing the loop between strategy and results is a good starting point. The brand needs to take the center stage. Utilizing the unique strengths of the channel can make a winning campaign. Integrated campaigns help deliver additive impact. Lastly, mobile is an ever-evolving media, so keep experimenting, and make bigger ideas from small scale tests.