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BP, McDonald's are betting on mobile to transform their images

Oil and gas company BP and quick-service restaurant chain McDonald's are betting on the personal nature of mobile to help them transform their public images.

While McDonald's is aiming to develop a social presence to serve as a resource for its consumers, BP is testing mobile ads on British publication The Telegraph using mobile platform Celtra?s new ad unit Interscroller. Through its efforts, BP is finding that mobile can be an effective channel to leverage to improve its image. 

"Mobile advertising enables BP to build brand image ?bottom up? rather than rely on the ?top down? of traditional broadcast,? said Amy Gale, associate planning director at Isobar U.S. ?There are a couple benefits BP has with this approach.

?Firstly, they connect with consumers on their most personal device,? she said. ?Mobile by nature commands high attention and will do even more so in this case because the ad is served somewhat natively through scroll. As a result I?d imagine they?d achieve good ad recall if the unit were engaged with.?

?Secondly, BP has more creative freedom. They can deliver messages in ways that aren?t bound by traditional advertising strictures.  Their campaign uses the BP team as subject matter and with this mobile format they can tell team stories in different ways that lean into informative and engaging narratives rather than high-level brand storytelling.?

Making right with mobile
Both McDonald's and BP have faced public image challenges as consumers have become less enthusiastic about their traditional fast food and fossil fuel offerings. 

To reestablish itself as a more thoughtful brand, McDonald's is relying on social to transform the way consumers view its food offerings.

Similarly, following the 2010 BP oil spill, the oil company has had to dig itself out of a huge hole. Mobile is conveniently an ideal channel to leverage given BP?s current situation.

The oil company has doubled itsmarketing spend across digital for 2014 and mobile features as part of that integrated mix, so mobile is a newer territory for them, Ms. Gale said. 

?Their ambition to try new media formats is in tune with their brand goals for this campaign and it?s a good move,? she said. ?I would imagine we?ll see more mobile advertising from them if this performs well.?

BP?s ad in The Telegraph takes over the screen in the middle of editorial content and appears with an emotional quote from a BP employee. Below the quote is a profile video on the employee and her personal story of working for BP.

The quote reads, ?I?m inspired by social initiatives that help people get their lives back on track.?

Below the video is BP?s logo statement, ?That?s energy moving forward.?

While the content of the ad is emotional and attractive to consumers, the delivery of the ad is also conducive to the editorial content. Combining innovative content and format is what drives BP?s mobile efforts.

?Innovation is the key message BP wants to build through this campaign,? Ms. Gale said. ?Their choice of a new mobile format serves to perpetuate the theme of innovation on all fronts, building great synergy between creative message and media format. 

?Rich mobile formats as a whole are underutilized by brands, therefore this new interstitial will have a novelty feel and BP will capitalize on that,? she said.

Deep, emotional content
Celtra?s ad unit Interscroller allows brands to transform advertising into content.

?By offering full canvas in a friendly way, Interscroller is ideal format for brand advertising,? said Matevz Klanjsek, co-founder and chief product officer at Celtra, San Francisco. ?It offers a full range of features and creative options, including video, store locators, social media features, product galleries, etc. and is fully flexible in terms of creative use. 

?As such it can be leveraged by a range of different industry verticals and is particularly well suited for entertainment, auto, retail or CPG,? Mr. Klanjsek said.

Interscroller was designed with editorial content in mind and fits organically into it without disrupting the user experience. Offering a full canvas, it appears like a native format given its interactivity and placement in a publication, according to Mr. Klanjsek.

While publishers rely heavily on their advertisers for revenue, they are continuously looking for ways to better the advertising content and increase their monetization from these sources. 

?Publishers love high impact formats like interstitials as they can charge more for them compared to standard banner placements, but at the same time such formats are hurting the user experience of the editorial content and annoying the users,? Mr. Klanjsek said. ?Interscroller's promise is to deliver best of both world, which is a high impact format that would be sold at higher CPMs and at the same time a user friendly format that fits beautifully into the editorial content.?

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York