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Michelob Ultra stirs up brand awareness via mobile ads

Anheuser-Busch?s Michelob Ultra is using rich media mobile advertising to give consumers an interactive behind-the-scenes look at how the new beverage is made.

The ads are part of a broader marketing campaign from Michelob Ultra to promote its new light cider drinks. The ads are appearing in the TV Guide iPhone application.

?Rich media is really just a buzz word - the real goal is to create a rich user experience that captivates and inspires our audience to act in a specific way,? said Mike DiMarco, director of media at FiddleFly Inc., Columbia, MD.

?Obviously great content is better than vanilla and boring nonsense, and for mobile this is even more critical because mobile gives users the ability to take action right there and then,? he said.

Mr. DiMarco is not affiliated with Michelob Ultra. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Michelob Ultra did not respond to press inquiries.

Sip on mobile
The copy for the mobile ad introduces the new beverage with a picture of the bottle and encourages users to tap to learn more.

When tapped on, the ad expands into a full page where users click to watch how the alcoholic beverage is made.

The ads walk consumers through six steps of brewing. Each step requires users to interact with the ad before moving on.

For instance, users begin by picking the apples off of a tree that then shoot down a chute to go on to the next process.

Consumers also have to juice, ferment and bottle the drink.

Ending on a sour note
After all of the steps have been completed, a page encourages users to learn more about the drink via the company?s Web site.

When users tap to continue the ad experience, they are taken to a landing page with the company?s un-optimized Web site that forces consumers to pinch and zoom to read content.

Although the rich media portion of the ad is engaging and enticing to consumers, the ad unit misses the mark at the end by leading users to an un-optimized Web site.

For consumers that have already made their way through the entire ad experience and are therefore most likely users that are highly interested in interacting directly with the brand, ending the experience with an un-optimized page is a poor choice.

Instead, the ad unit could have directed users to a landing page optimized for mobile with features such as social media links or additional information about the product.

?Optimizing for mobile isn't just about creating a mobile site, it's about crafting specified, action-driven parallel experiences that customers can easily engage with," Mr. DiMarco said.

"If you go to a doctor with a broken wrist, you don't need him to give you a full body physical, you need a cast on the wrist," he said. "That's the same as clicking a mobile ad and being sent to a full desktop site."

"Smart advertisers utilize mobile to build complete, targeted mobile experiences from start to finish."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York