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Dockers shake ad yields 42-second average engagement: IAB Keynote

NEW YORK -- Apparel brand Dockers recently "shook" up the industry by releasing an ad choreographed to leverage the power of mobile advertising to go far beyond SMS and banners.

The Levi Strauss & Co.-owned khaki maker allowed users to control a street dancer's movement and averaged 42 seconds of engagement per viewer.

"With the Dockers campaign we were trying to create conversation where none existed before," said Jamie Wells, U.S. mobile director at OMD's Ignition Factory, New York. "The goal was to increase purchase consideration and brand relevancy by taking a leadership position in emerging media."

By combining the reach of an ad with the popularity of mobile apps, Dockers used the iPhone's motion-sensitive functionality in a new advertising channel to interact with mobile consumers and engage them with the Dockers brand (see story).

The Dockers iPhone ad, titled "Shakedown 2 Get Down," features Dufon Smith, a.k.a. Orb/Orbit/Orbitron, a freestyle dance expressionist from a Seattle group called "Circle of Fire," dancing around the screen wearing Dockers Vintage Workwear Khakis.

Targeting tech savvy 30-39-year-old male consumers, the Dockers campaign is the first "shakable ad."

The ad ran for four weeks starting within free iPhone applications such as iBasketball, iGolf, iBowl and i.TV.

"Measuring in mobile has always been challenging but the iPhone changed that. Now we can measure the unique time spent with ads, online or offline and much more," Mr. Wells said.

He told attendees that Dockers has been fighting back the threat of becoming synonymous with ordinary khaki pants and that it didn't want to be generic.

Eric Litman Chairman/CEO of Medialets said that entirely new performance indicators had to me defined because a shake became a new metric of brand engagement. He stressed to the audience that the ad should not be confused with an app.

"We thought about video, but that's been done and it's not as innovative as we wanted this campaign to be," Mr. Litman said. "There was no click action. There was shake action."

Mr. Litman said that the average engagement for online rich media ads is 12 seconds.

Of the people who saw the ad, 33 percent shook.

During Q&A time an attendee asked how many ad impressions there were. Neither of the panelists revealed this number.

Mr. Wells said that this was a "pure branding campaign."

Medialets and OMD collaborated for proof of concept, preliminary creative concepts, media planning and negotiation and then the two companies made a presentation to the client.

The panelists agreed that by using this type of advertising, Dockers was able to change the target audience's perception of a "generic" khaki brand.

There was a huge surprise in store for attendees, as Dufon Smith, the dancer from the ad performed twice.

"A lot of folks ask how to sell the idea to the client," Mr. Wells said. "The media agency can drive creative."

He also said that the agency must really do the work and then take the client further.

"Mobile is not the Web without wires," Mr. Wells said. "All it takes is a creative mind and a PowerPoint deck."

Medialets did the coding and media production.

OMD did the project management and feasibility.

Razorfish handled the creation of raw and creative assets.

"They are ads built using standard Web technology," Mr. Litman said. "Execution from a build perspective is fairly inexpensive."

He said that rich media in mobile is a high performer for brands, agencies, and publishers and it addresses mobile's biggest challenges.

"It helps publishers make money, agencies measure mobile performance and brands leverage media beyond the banner," Mr. Wells said.