A Performance in Mobile

Some of you may have noticed that this hired pen-man has started to spend a bit more time behind the safety of a desk. Where are the adventures of old, you cry, when you braved wind, rain and snow? They are still here dear reader, I do not fear the big wide world, which is why this morning I visited the impressive offices of Mindshare. Although I did take Niklas to hold my hand… see?

I was here to meet James, Mindshare’s Head of Mobile, to try to find out what the devil this Mobile business is really all about.

Having studied Drama & Performance at university, James spent some time at Channel 4 and then in Recruitment before he became interested in Digital and joined Mindshare as an entry level Planner/Buyer. Here he started working on accounts such as 3 and Lynx, and it was these adventurous brands that really started pushing mobile marketing. Lynx especially, looking to reach their young demographic, ran ambitious mobile marketing campaigns (Lynx Stream) that aimed to help you piece your ‘big night’ back together and experimented with Bluetooth to target individuals.

As a result of his experience with these adventurous brands, Mindshare created the Head of Mobile role for James. Mobile marketing is now booming, not least because mobile usage has dramatically increased to the point where it is due to overtake desktop this year. Surprisingly though, it is taking time to convince people about the importance of Mobile as it still only comprises 3% of total ad spend. This is as opposed to Print which comprises 25% of ad spend despite the fact that exposure to print (maybe 10 minutes a day for me) compared to your mobile phone (3 hours?) is vastly inferior.

The draw of Mobile for James is the dynamism of the market. It’s fast-moving, adventurous, creative and bold. So fast-moving in fact that when you see an opportunity you need to take it; with the speed at which technology and human behaviour evolves, a great idea needs to be capitalised on because it may be defunct in a few months. This means you need to identify the trends in human behaviour and stay one step ahead.

The real goal (as with all advertising) is to get people to behave differently and with Mobile advertising this has two prongs. Prong number one is classic advertising customer acquisition where you are trying to convince people to start buying a certain product or to try a different brand. The second prong is where Mobile is really interesting as it attempts to change the way people interact with technology and then capitalise on this. An example of this is the recent emergence of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. This is most often seen with contactless payment but the possibilities are as yet unknown and it is up to the Mobile experts to figure out what these are and use them to their advantage.


This element of changing the way we behave was something James revelled in. He called it ‘disruption’ and was quick to point out which areas of life Mobile had disrupted. The photography industry suffered when suddenly everyone had a camera in their pocket and started sharing photos; books have become a forgotten item; the music industry has had to completely reshape itself, and time itself is now a changed beast – the concept of ‘dead-time’ would be completely alien to the teenager of today. A sad post-script to this point is the death of love letters – thanks Snapchat.

Having spoken to James the most attractive part of Mobile marketing for me is the fact it is so firmly rooted in the future. How long before Google Glass comes as a contact lens, then implanted in your cornea? How long will it be before tech becomes so small it can exist in your blood stream and tell you when you need to visit the doctor? Then how do you advertise on these!

My time at Mindshare was a quick-fire vision of the future and I could see where James’ Drama & Performance background had come in handy. He’s a great talker. I had been on the receiving end of a consummate performance detailing a vision of an exciting Mobile future. Bravo.