My main reason for attending the GSMA’s Mobile Asia Conference in Macau this week, was because the MMA was joint sponsoring the Mobile Advertising stream, where I was speaking partly as AdMob and partly as the Global Chair of the MMA.
To be honest, the overall event was a little disappointing and nowhere near the scale and success of the sister event in Barcelona, which has to be the mother of all trade shows. Delegates seemed to think that it was smaller attendee-wise than previous years, though the exhibition was generally bigger. However, there were loads of rumours about companies cutting back on the number of delegates at the last minute, generally reflecting the grim reality of the economic situation. It was the first real impact I’ve seen first hand of the affect on mobile.
Having said that, it was hard to judge numbers in the huge venue that is the Venetian hotel in Macau – about a 40 minute ferry from Hong Kong. It felt as if it could comfortably swallow a couple of large football crowds and is, I understand, the largest hotel in the world and a replica of the Las Vegas one. The over-the-top Vegas style was very weird transposed into an Asian setting and was all the more strange as it seems to be a pilgrimage point for ordinary Chinese people, who can be found walking along the huge corridors, gawping at this example of Western decadence. In fairness to the West, it’s about as representative of what we’re really like is a pre-crash hedge fund manager’s salary is of the average wage. But they don’t know that.
As far as the mobile advertising channel was concerned, again numbers were slightly disappointing and it would have been a hell of a long way to travel if that had been my sole reason for going out there. Having said that, there was a great line up of speakers and some senior attendees, so while there’s room for improvement, I’ve certainly been to far worse.
I’m still gathering together notes from various sessions and if I can knit them into a cogent form I will. However, one really nice anecdotal campaign that was mentioned was one by BBH for Axe. BBH have won plaudits and awards for their work on Lynx in the past, but the Axe was a new one on me.
The idea is that many blokes buy the deodorant brand in Asia, but only actually use it once every 3 days, which doesn’t have the desired effect on them, as well as depressing potential product sales. So they launched a campaign where the guys could go online and choose from a selection of hot Axe babes to give them an automated video phone call at the time when they would be performing their morning ablutions and to do the right thing with the spray.
OK, pretty sexist, but in the humorous cheeky-chappie style that BBH has carved out for the brand.
While BBH are to congratulated for their use of mobile in their ongoing Lynx/Axe campaigns, as one of the leading creative agencies in the world, I’d love to see them embrace mobile more into the heart and soul of the agency. This might be an unfair outsider’s perspective and they might have other great mobile work that doesn’t make the headlines. However, their website doesn’t even classify mobile as a distinct medium at the moment, which while understandable for many of the agencies out there, isn’t quite what one would have hoped from the great BBH.
Let’s hope that gets put right soon.