Being creative in mobile advertising is much more difficult than in traditional media.
The real estate — the “creative palette,” if you will — is smaller. The users’ attention span is shorter. The medium itself is new.
And a lot of it can’t be seen easily, the way TV commercials or magazine ads can be seen online.
After extensive research — and reading nominations from movers and shakers in the field — we have ranked the 30 most creative people in the mobile advertising. We defined creativity broadly, from people using the new technology in innovative ways, to those who are creating new tech for the medium, to those with more traditional ideas or design-driven roles.
While it’s unfair to compare people from different fields of the mobile ad sphere, we tried to rank the nominees based on experience, contributions to the field, and out-of-the-box thinking.
We also noticed that both our research, and the nominations process, produced a shockingly undiverse list in terms of race and gender. (If we missed anyone who deserves to be on here, please let us know.)
Wong, Lee, and Cheng have perfected a dashboard that creates customised mobile display ad campaigns in under a minute.
According to PaperG, its PlaceLocal system creates an attractive and robust mobile display ads using only the name and location of a business. The system then pulls creative assets from the web and suggests a colour scheme.
Sure, the ads aren't the most visually stunning things you'll see on your phone (we'll get to those later in the slideshow), but it's really, really fast.
Newport grew a mobile team at Aegis to a powerhouse that serves clients including Disney, Pfizer, GM, and the Home Depot.
And he likes to experiment beyond boring mobile banner ads. Newport developed a Mobile Circular ad for home depot that allows consumers to 'swipe through' a range of products and deals -- so there were 11 offers in one ad unit. (It's kind of like a traditional insert retailers place in newspapers.)
It gave Home Depot its highest mobile site traffic ever.
Newport also founded Omnicom's Mobile behaviour and handled social and youth marketing for AT&T at Fleishman-Hillard.
'He has always brought the sensibility of a technologist, the spirit of a creative director and the voraciousness of a successful entrepreneur to everything we have done together since we first began working together in wireless, when penetration in the US was less than half of what it is today,' said Paul Okimoto, VP of Radio Shack.
Before he went to MRM Worldwide in Romania, Refuah was a VP creative at McCann Israel.
He and his team (which includes Daniel Barak, who also helped created the first Facebook Poke campaign for lingerie) created a mobile ad that was a finalist at the One Show Interactive 2013. Refuah created an iPhone Pinch banner ad that let people know if their eyesight was getting a little too blurry. The creative, which can be seen on the next slide, was for Opticana.
Fisher was previously the director of user experience at AOL/Advertising.com and brings 18 years of digital creative experience to his position at Verve.
He tries to enhance the banner ad experience by using location-based technology and multi-panel rich-media campaigns.
For example, Fisher made a Dunkin doughnuts banner ad that shows how far the user is from a location (complete with a map to the nearest shop). Other banner ads allowed users to mix and match bikini tops and bottoms (with a link to buy) for Victoria's Secret, and a spot for Bosch windshield wipers that allowed users' fingers to actually clean windows.
Powell, also the co-founder of creative and technical boutique Spies & Assassins, oversees all web and mobile developments at kbs+.
While leading Puma's effort to re-imagine its retail experience, Powell helped introduce the Puma JoyPad. Basically, 32 interconnected iPads were embedded into a wall and were programmed to interact with one another, creating an innovative content experience for consumers. This melds the mobile experience with shopping at brick and mortar locations.
Powell also recently helped provide the vision for the launch of BMW's mobile site which allows users to visualise and configure interior upholstery, trims, exterior paints, wheels, etc of the cars; compare prices and more.
Ferar oversees Lumberyard, VB&P's digital studio. He has previously led digital efforts at Ogilvy One and McCann Worldgroup SF, and Ferar has produced award winning, interactive work for the Boys & Girls Club, HP, Microsoft, Nike, Xbpx, Visa, and more.
A recent work Ferar oversaw in the mobile a space was the 'Built From eBay' promotion which had mobile, web, and tablet components. VB&P also made an iPhone app aimed at curing 'Honkaholism' or getting your kid to play the 'Quiet Game' in the backseat of the car (with the help of creative Jonathan Byrne) for 76 gas stations.
Woytek has ha a 13-year career at shops including Razorfish, McCann/MRM, Digitas, and now Pereira & O'Dell -- during which time he has been an advocate for the integration of experience design into the creative process.
He currently leads digital mobile work for Corona, Skype and Lego. Notably recent projects include the Effie-winning Corona 'Share Your Beach' app, which allowed users to get rewards for sharing their personal 'beach,' and Lego's award winning Super Heroes Movie Maker.
The Lego app allows users to make stop-motion videos with certain super heroes toys and edit/share them on their phones. Kids could even score the movies with different soundtracks.
Goldsmith leads the team that designs and builds the company's ad products, including Crips's 'Adhesion' banner unit. Adhesion is designed specifically for smartphones (watch an explainer video here) and stays above the 'top of the fold' even when users scroll down a mobile website. It also supports expandable ads, tap to video, location aware ads, and social media integration.
Goldsmith was the mind behind the 'Closer' unit, which allows consumers to shop and buy directly within an ad unit. This unit was used for Kay jewellers.
Crisp clients have included Toyota, Cadillac, Porsche, Sam's Club, Victoria's Secret, Disney, Microsoft, HP, Accenture, Project Runway, Pennzoil, Bacardi, Odwalla, McDonald's, P&G, REI and ESPN.
Sanchez was the CCO on one of the most creative mobile ads of 2012 -- it received a Cannes Lions for mobile advertising.
Bradesco, a car insurance provider, placed ads in iPad magazines that, upon first look, appeared to be a traditional spread for a car company. The twist comes when the reader tries to turn the page. When readers swept a finger across the tablet's screen to turn the page, the car follows and crashes. Tagline: 'Unexpected events happen without warning. Make a Bradesco car insurance plan.'
Murdock-Santos was at ValueClick and Epic Media Group before joining the team at Velti, a mobile marketing and adtech powerhouse that runs thousands of campaigns for hundreds of brands.
According to her nomination, 'It is extremely rare to find someone like Ina, she is able to translate images and words into a powerful and compelling story.'
Murdock-Santos has done campaigns for Hoover, Hyundai, Toyota, Kia, and Hotel Tonight.
Daly is responsible for Coca-Cola's global strategies in mobile, search, and interactive agency management.
Mobile played an integral part in Coke's 'Move to the Beat' campaign with Movement London which ran during the London Olympics, aiming to show how sound and sport/movement interact. It included the 'My Beatmaker' app which allowed users to make beats when they moved their smartphones, in-store QR codes, and SMS activations at live music events.
He was also part of putting a new, mobile spin on the 1971 ad 'I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke' with Google's Project Re:Brief. People were able to send peers bottles of Coke just through their mobile devices.
Daly once said, 'Every day, there are 1.7 billion transactions of our product. With 6 billion SIM cards globally, that represents a lot of people who should be holding a Coke.'
Millennial is one of the biggest mobile ad networks in the world -- it made $178 million in revenue last year.
Jennings builds hundreds of landing pages, banners, interstitials, and more for Millennial's biggest clients.
In her own words, 'I like to make cool things do cool things.'
In the words of a mobile bigwig who nominated her, 'She's never happy until units/landing pages, etc. are completely stunning and clients are thrilled. She has led the charge on rich media, video, etc. units. I miss her infectious personality and creatively-charged brain.'
Jennings worked on a team of people who created a mobile ad experience for 'Call of Duty' that allows users to upload their own faces onto the bodies of soldiers with only an iPhone.
Wong is the 21-year-old co-founder and CEO of Kiip, a company allows advertisers reward mobile gamers by giving them prizes for achievement in game apps, such as reaching a new level of the game. In other words, he makes what could be the most intrusive kind of ad worthwhile.
A recent example is when PepsiCo offered free flowers, chocolate, and Diet Pepsi when someone became a high scorer for a Valentine's Day promotion.
Other partnerships include American Apparel, Disney, Best Buy, Popchips, Sony Music, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Verizon, Wrigley, and Zappos.
Interpublic invested in Kiip in 2012.
Banner ads can be pretty boring, but LocalResponse found a really creative and interesting way to approach them.
This is appropriate given that one of Mehta' favourite sayings is, 'Ads suck. I am here to make them suck less.'
LocalResponse uses consumers' tweets and social media actions to trigger ads that appear on the user's device. The company plans to expand into the desktop display arena too.
For example, a Turbo Tax banner might appear on NYTimes.com after complaining about tax season on Twitter.
Here's a LocalResponse Turbo Tax ad that shows up on a person's computer after tweeting about hating tax season.
SanGiovanni started experimenting with 'native advertising' -- pairing apps with major brands -- when he founded Zumobi half a dozen years ago.
He has worked with Chevy, American Express, NBC News, and more to create immersive ad experiences that are user-friendly and experiment with interface design.
While many argue that mobile and long form content don't mix, Zumobi's Chevy ad series challenged that theory with a six-part advertorial. It had a 37% overall mobile engagement rate, meaning that more than one-third of people interacted with the campaign.
SanGiovanni also helped design a highly interactive, mobile campaign for American Express. If a user interacted with the ad, they were able to create a personalised panorama specifically tailored to their shopping, dining, travel, and electronics interests. (See the next slide to learn more.)
Before Zumobi, he was at Microsoft's Mobile Research Lab, where he was one of the early inventors of swipe technology.
Litman and Medialets worked on incorporating mobile devices' native capabilities (like touch and shake) into the ad experience to make it more interactive. The first was for the award-winning 'Dockers Pants Dance.'
Chase Sapphire also used the Medialets platform for the first iPad rich media ad on the NYTimes.com. If you shifted your iPad, the Chase card would move and fun rewards (flights, trips to Las Vegas, etc.) would pour out of the card.
This video shows Dockers' award-winning Pants Dance mobile ad, powered by Medialets. It was the first-ever shakable ad!
Sivaramkrishnan is one of the few female CEO/engineers in Silicon Valley.
Her company has developed a way for advertisers to track users as they cross from desktop machines to mobile devices, via an algorithm that makes an educated guess that the person who was on their phone has now started browsing from a laptop.
It's currently on 550 million plus mobile and desktop devices. Partners include Square, Groupon, Hotel Tonight, Kabam, and Pocketgems.
Sivaramakrishnan was previously a lead information scientist at AdMob and then Google.
Every brand and agency goes into February determined to 'win' the Super Bowl. In 2012, these two admen created a Super Bowl app for Chevy that also won them a Cannes Gold Mobile Lion and some other awards.
'Chevy Game Time' promised users trivia, live polls, exclusive half time content, and more, all to run during the game. They also had the chance to win 20 Chevys and other prizes. It was downloaded 725K times, and at one point had between 12 and 13 million pageviews.
The two creatives also provided a live mobile concert at SXSW for Doritos. The app let people watch with a 360 degree view and create special effects during the concert.
Green has found an exciting way to marry print and mobile advertising -- essentially, put an iPad under a magazine page and bring the print ad to life.
Team One used the specially technology, called CinePrint, to spice up a flat Lexus ad in Sports Illustrated. Readers could hold their tablet under the page and the car's headlights turned on to blasting music.
The team created another Sports Illustrated Lexus ad that used a smart phone to reveal swimsuit models in the background of the ad.
Green has worked in digital advertising for more than 13 years at McCann, Ogilvy, and now Team One. Past clients include Microsoft, Nortel, Cisco, American Express, GlaxoSmithKline, Kodak, and Nestlé.
Gargan started experimenting in the digital sphere 15 years ago and has worked on award winning projects for Disney, 20th Century Fox, Sony, Showtime, A&E, and NBCUniversal.
Gargan led the creative for Homeland and Dexter's iAd (OMD worked on the campaign, too) that revealed exclusive content. The ad also allowed users to send their friends e-mails that would automatically become encrypted -- the code could only be broken by shaking an iPad.
The Homeland app was downloadable only through a simulated thumb scan, which is appropriate considering that the series is about spies.
Shazam used to just be an app that allowed people to tag a song playing in a bar they wanted to remember. It now has more than 300 million users and is used for a lot more than aiding those with poor music recall.
The Shazam symbol can now be seen on many television ads (it was very present during the Super Bowl) to give interested viewers more content and deal opportunities.
Jones is in charge of all Shazam partnerships and helmed this initiative.
Weisberg is the man behind the first-ever Cannes Gold Lion winner in the mobile category.
The app was called Band-Aid Magic Vision and used augmented reality to make it look like muppets were dancing on top of bandaged boo boos. One scan with a mobile device would prompt Miss Piggy to pose for the paparazzi or Gonzo to do a crazy stunt.
Weisberg created JWT's first fully integrated creative group that integrates traditional, digital, and CRM advertising. He heads projects for J&J, Lean Cuisine, and Royal Caribbean.
During his 10 years at R/GA, Ting has dedicated his work to creating exciting and integrated digital experiences on mobile, the web, and social media.
Ting oversees creative and strategy for R/GA's mobile and social group working with clients such as Nike, L'Oreal, Johnson & Johnson, and MasterCard.
One of Ting's recent claims to fame is NIKEid Mobile. Consumers can use it to design their own shoes, clothes, and gear, customising their own experiences.
The Weather Channel is one of the biggest players in the mobile ad world because its app is on almost every phone, no one ever deletes it, and people check it every day.
Saras leads the company's advertising creative innovation team, The Weather Company's CreativeFX.
The lab has won an MMA Smarties Award for Westin's Wipe Away Your Weather, Vivaki's Tablet Study for 'GoodYear's Most Innovative Rich Media iPad Ad', and the IAB Mobile Rising Stars for the 'Slider.'
According The Weather Company, Saras' work 'harmonizes the emotional and meaningful brand impact that bridges consumer needs and marketer needs across Weather's mobile properties, as clearly seen in his team's most recent work supporting the new branded backgrounds offering on The Weather Channel Apps for Android and iPhone.'
Here's creative Saras led for the Oz ad campaign on The Weather Channel. It adapted flawlessly from desktop to table to phone.
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