Strikin’ It Rich – The Mobile Rich Media Revolution

It’s no secret that mobile advertising is growing significantly, fueled by smartphone proliferation and a corresponding increase in mobile Web usage. This growth, combined with new device capabilities, is fundamentally changing media consumption – and it’s much bigger than just being able to access the Web while on the go. A recent study indicated that nearly 40 percent of time spent on the mobile Web happens in the home, where presumably people have access to a computer with full keyboard and larger screen. Yet, they are choosing to turn to the phone.

Smart marketers have recognized this and are continuing to grow their investments in mobile marketing activities, including mobile display media. Thankfully, we’re not restricted to tiny banner ads with limited functionality anymore. Mobile rich media has burst onto the scene, bringing animated banners, full-page interstitials, expanding ads, page takeovers, streaming video, and more. I was recently asked to present on this topic at a mobile conference, and have pulled together some of the best examples of agencies and marketers leveraging these capabilities. Below is a brief summary.

Nissan Leaf

Apple’s own iAd platform may well be the granddaddy of mobile rich media these days, and Chiat did a nice job with one of the very first ads to launch on the platform. Packed with compelling content and slick graphics, it’s a solid example of the kind of rich engagement that can be accomplished with mobile rich media.

JCPenney Back to School

I usually try to avoid writing about the work at my agency, but since iAd is so new and there are only a few examples in-market, I wanted to include this one that we built as a core part of the retailer’s back-to-school campaign.

Toyota Prius

This is a great example of some unique user engagement. And it’s also an example of a great partnership between agency (Saatchi & Saatchi), rich media enabler (Medialets), and publisher ( Mobile rich media can enable creative teams to push the envelope, and it often requires tight coordination across multiple parties. It’s evident here.

True Blood

This one, from PHD and powered by Medialets, showcases a full-screen takeover ad with some really clever user engagement. It fully embraces the touch interface and lets the user have some fun with it.


Here’s a nice expanding ad produced by the Hyperfactory and Crisp Wireless. It features simple, intuitive interaction that leads the user to a product recommendation.

Estée Lauder

Another Crisp Wireless-powered rich media ad, this one also does a nice job of leveraging the touch interface (much like the True Blood example above). Here, though, the ad draws a direct connection between the touch interaction and the core product benefit.


A new car is perhaps one of the most research-intensive purchases people make. Shoppers expect a wealth of information, and beauty shots of the vehicle with critical features called out by interactive hotspots have become commonplace on automotive websites. AKQA does a nice job here on delivering a ton of relevant information in a slick, touch-friendly interface, and all packed into a single expandable ad powered by Crisp Wireless.

The Wolfman

There’s a case study on the left hand side under the “AdMob for agencies” image. The video plays through a few rich media examples, including some animated banners and interstitials. While we’ve come to expect rich animation on the desktop Web, it has been somewhat slow to come to the mobile Web – and this example taps current capabilities while hinting at some of the possibilities.

Repo Men

The entertainment industry is frequently an early adopter of new marketing vehicles/technologies, and this example showcases streaming video plus a wide variety of relevant, smart functionality, including iVdopia’s “Talk2Me” feature set.

Mobile Video

Several of the above examples leverage video in the context of a rich media ad experience. But, as video consumption via the mobile Web shows impressive growth, there are also a wide variety of opportunities for wrapping a brand around a mobile video consumption experience. Rhythm NewMedia is among the leaders in this space, offering a variety of interactive options on top of video ads. Rhythm’s quarterly mobile video report is also a great resource for mobile rich media insights.

Mobile rich media is igniting a revolution. We saw it happen on the desktop Web, and make no mistake – this transition for mobile advertising is no less significant. The possibilities are nearly endless, and (at least at this early stage) the results are impressive across the board. It serves a wide variety of purposes – from hard-core direct response to non-linear brand storytelling. It’s a flexible canvas that fully deserves the kind of attention it has been getting as of late, in part thanks to Apple’s iAd. And yet, we’re just scratching the surface. I, for one, look forward to what’s next.

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Overhead view of a row of four business people interviewing a young male applicant.