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OgilvyOne London: “As an ad agency, we’ll always be trying to lean forward”

Interview 2.0

Just as tablets are changing the publishing landscape, so too are they altering advertising strategies. For OgilvyOne London, a digital advertising agency whose clients include American Express, British Airways and UPS, tablets are not merely for “leaning back” to consume content, they are also perfectly suited for consumer engagement with ads. I recently spoke with OgilvyOne London chief executive Annette King and head of mobile Anthony Marris to learn more about their digital thinking and lessons for publishers. 

How is OgilvyOne London making use of tablets and mobile devices as part of its overall digital strategy?

KING: There are a couple of things to say. First, we do differentiate between tablets and mobile. They can do quite different things. The tablet is a more of a remote device. A mobile is truly mobile; it’s on the go. You can use it at any time. The majority of people use a tablet at home, on holiday, at the hotel. A tablet is closer to a PC than a mobile, so they can play quite different roles in the overall communications mix.

Secondly, both devices have a complementary role to our other channels. We used to have mobile as a separate division that we sometimes would put ideas into. Now, we look at mobile in the context of the overall communications plan. It’s more integrated. 

Has OgilvyOne London seen any evidence of people “leaning back” when consuming ads or creative content on their iPad?

KING: It’s interesting because we were having a debate between lean forward and lean back before we got on the call with you. There’s a time and a place for both. The Economist app is a good example of a ‘lean back and consume’ type of situation. As an ad agency, though, we’ll always be trying to lean forward. We’re always trying to get people to take part in the app and engage with the ad. By definition, it’s an immersive kind of approach.

MARRIS: The capabilities that the tablet offers you are unique, and you can leverage them to create a lean forward experience. The iPad has a gyrometer – a fancy piece of equipment that works as a sensor – that you can use to create a lean forward experience that changes the ad when people move, shake or rotate the iPad. There are also location-based services and personal preferences on the tablet – all sorts of elements that you can combine within the physical device to create interesting and engaging experiences.

KING: We’re really interested in the dual screen experience right now. By dual screen, I mean sitting in front of the TV with a tablet. You might be watching one thing on the TV, but doing something else on your tablet. And we want to start connecting those two things. If Jamie Oliver is making a special truffle recipe on television, you can use your tablet to find out where truffles grow in the world, or how to make Jamie’s recipe. You can get people involved through the second screen.

Can you tell me about any tablet or app-based campaigns OgilvyOne has created? How and why were they successful campaigns?

MARRIS: One example of how tablets can create new opportunities is with iAds, which bring an application within a traditional banner ad. For Perrier, we created iAds for iPhones and iPads, and we had tremendous results with engaging people. People viewed the ad four times more than average. They spent over two times the amount of time with the brand. And it was people not only spending time with the brand, but touching and experiencing the brand through the iAd.

How can you measure the return on your investment when you create a tablet campaign?  

KING: The important thing is that there are lots of metrics that we’re looking for, and most are no different than the ones we’ve always been looking for. We’re always looking for ways to measure how people engaged with the ad. Did people open it in the first place? For how long? Which bits of the ad did they go to? Did they buy a product or service?

These are the usual metrics, but now it’s much easier to measure in real time. In the past, before technology was pervasive, you had to wait for results to come through from a third party company who may or may not report them accurately. By the time you got the results, you had moved on to a new campaign. Now, you can sit and watch the results come in – and change what you’re doing because of the results. It’s all powerful.

As more magazine publishers release their publications on tablets, how can they capitalize on the device’s advertising potential?

KING: Publishers should be doing whatever they can to make it possible for an ad to be better than in a printed version. For me, to transfer those dollars, I need to know how I can get more back from it, in straight sales or in how people feel about the brand. It’s important that people are able to take part in the ad, rather than just consume it. That’s what publishers should be focused on.

An example of a dual screen ad from OgilvyOne.

Television screens throughout London’s busiest train stations featured this American Express ad. Commuters could interact with the ad by texting the number and receiving a personalised and location specific message that then appeared on the screen,  e.g. “A tip for Tim: Look outside Kings Cross station and see if you can spot a 19th century lighthouse!”