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A conversation with Rupert Day, global CEO of WPP’s tenthavenue


A conversation with Rupert Day, global CEO of WPP’s tenthavenue


How to make mobile work with out-of-home?

Mobile and out-of-home, combining the two makes a lot of sense. There’s no shortage of technologies, no shortage of content, and no shortage of receptive consumers. I’ve been talking recently with Rupert Day, the global CEO of WPP’s tenthavenue, which focuses on reaching consumers on the move. And whilst those conversations have happened in different continents and with different focuses, there are some clear themes that emerged.

To try to refine and capture those themes, I put some questions to Rupert on how his business sees mobile.

Jeremy Corfield: The mobile phone and tablets are very personal devices for people. What is your/tenthavenue’s view on the role that these devices play in people’s daily lives?

Rupert Day: “While both are personal, they are not the same in terms of degree and usage. Standing in an immigration queue I heard one person thanking another (they seemed not to have known each other previously) for lending them their tablet to watch a movie on the flight. This would not have been the case with the person’s mobile. A tablet is a convenient way to enjoy content on the move, and it’s also used inside the home as a parallel experience to television. That’s due to its increased functionality; being able to get additional information, and to shop as well as share with friends. Research from Viacom in the US shows that, as expected, the 18-24 demo are heavy users of tablets, especially in the dual video experience of watching TV and using tablets. However for all users, 77% of tablet use is done alone; 74% of tablet usage is done at home. How this will change with the roll-out of IPTV or ‘social TV’ remains to be seen.

“This compares with people’s mobile device which is truly personal and as additional features, such as mobile wallets, become standard this will only become more apparent.”

JC: Because mobile devices are so personal, what must marketers do differently with mobile advertising compared to other media? What are the top few tips for mobile marketing? And perhaps the top things to avoid?

RD: “The mobile device is more than another channel. People use their mobile device as an interaction device – first and foremost. That can range from checking in with their friends (voice; text and social) to retail and transactions. However all interactions have a high degree of ‘immediacy’ and normally a degree of localisation. This does not mean that the mobile device is not an effective marketing tool but any interaction needs to be personalized, not so much to the individual but to their circumstance and the environment which they are in, to ensure a high degree of relevance or even usefulness. To be successful, I recommend the following:

  • Firstly it is just so important for marketeers to really understand what they are trying to achieve from their mobile campaign. Mobile is different. People are thinking and acting differently when they are at home to when they are out of home. Any campaign has to start with this premise.
  • And therefore the location of people’s usage is important. Understand what people are looking to do from mobile depending upon where they are: ie local search vs wider content distribution.
  • This informs message relevance – the message needs to be relevant for what they are looking for at that point in time. The ability to engage is greater if we get this right but the opposite is also true if we do not.
  • The content needs to be mobile-specific – attention spans are shorter. Sending mobile users to a web site that is not mobile-optimised is a bad idea.”

JC: Out-of-home works very well as an activator for mobile. Do you have any advice on how best to combine the two media?

RD: “People spend so much time outside the home in all aspects of their daily lives and the mobile device is a major part of peoples’ daily lives as their main ‘interaction’ device.

“At the same time smartphone penetration in Australia, as well as constantly emerging new technologies, not only allows distribution of more exciting and engaging content in out of home environments, but also has made the interaction between screens and other out of home experiences easier. The interaction between these experiences needs to be as ‘frictionless’ as possible. This is a mixture of the new technologies, individual comfort/habits and the environment itself.

“So we first need to understand where the audience is, what they are doing and what they are looking for. This will take research and data. Some of this needs investment but the mobile device can also act as a measuring tool. We can measure interactions with the mobile device – how much content is downloaded, and where, and then what happened next. This data will allow us to improve the experience by customising it.

“While it is clear that consumers have an understandable issue over sharing their personal data unwillingly or unknowingly, they are prepared to share it in exchange for something which is useful to them. If we make the content relevant and valuable then consumers will opt-in and be willing to share their information, all of which will allow us to improve the relevance of the messaging.

“So with those thoughts I offer not necessarily advice but some thoughts:

  • Brands need to understand the out-of-home market from an audience as well as a location perspective,
  • they (obviously) need to distribute engaging and relevant content, designed with mobile devices in mind – it’s vital that we make content not only relevant to the consumer but also relevant to the device on which it is being consumed,
  • the creative must ‘invite’ consumers to opt-in on account of the relevance to them, and
  • do not expect to get it 100% right in the beginning but be prepared to experiment and improve the value proposition to the consumer.”


So, that’s a sixty second download. Let me add my thoughts. Some of Rupert’s statements may seem self-evident but that doesn’t make them any less accurate, or any less important in getting the outcome you are looking for. Some of Rupert’s views, to my mind, highlight the shortfalls sometimes evident in mobile campaigns – reading between the lines (and he’s far too polite to say this himself), squashing a print campaign onto a little screen is a bad idea, for example. And yet it happens.  Asking people to think too hard, work hard to get to an offer, or click or pinch a lot of times will lose them. And yet plenty of campaigns I have seen have piqued interest, got me connected, and then lost/confused/frustrated me because they don’t ‘work’ like other stuff on my mobile does.

Not considering your customers’ location, and hence mindset, will decrease relevance. For mine, there are different types of out-of-home too. Places where there is some dwell time will work better. That may include obvious options like airports and malls, but also events, entertainment venues, sport. Each location is different, you are there for different reasons, and I know I for one act differently in each location too. There is one constant though – in every one of those environments, people are using their mobiles. A lot.

Food for thought.


Jeremy Corfield

Jeremy Corfield leads Eye’s commercial activities globally, including growth strategies and property partner interactions. He also guides the Fly business and leads innovation in the digital and mobile space. On Twitter he is @jeremycorfield

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