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Mondel?z prioritizes hyperlocal engagements over branding in year-two tests

More than one year after launching the Mobile Futures program that paired nine snack brands with start-ups to spur innovation, Mondel?z International is seeing initial results of what is working and not working for CPG brands on mobile.

Last year, Mondel?z launched eight out of nine identified pilot programs between snack brands and start-ups as part of a spinoff from Kraft Foods. These programs are continuing this year, with a few pilots showing potential to be launched nationally.

?I think there are two phenomenon in the extension of phase one [of Mobile Futures,]? said Valerie Moens, spokeswoman at Mondel?z, Deerfield, IL.

?One is more brands are working with more start-up partners,? she said. 

?The other thing is taking the learnings from the pilots that happened last year to try and scaling them at the national level. Out of the eight, we believe there might be potential in maybe two or three of those pilots to be scaled nationally, and that would mean [that the start-ups would also work] potentially with other brands.?

Stuck on mobile
One of the product areas that Mondel?z is working hardest to show mobile?s might is gum.

Ms. Moens acknowledged that the gum category has suffered a bit at the point-of-sale in grocery stores recently. Instead of looking at magazines and the CPG products sold in cashiers? lanes, consumers are instead now fixated on their mobile devices while checking out at grocery stores.

Two of Mondel?z's pilot programs with Stride and Trident show how the CPG company is looking to tackle that challenge.

Stride partnered with mobile navigational application Waze last year with a campaign that doled out mobile coupons to consumers that could be redeemed at retailers including Target and Kum & Go.

The pilot last year took place in California and Illinois with some successful initial results that are now being rolled out more broadly.

Per Ms. Moens, the main learning from the Stride pilot program is that there is an ability to influence shopping behavior from mobile, and it is a tactic that the brand will use going forward.

Stride also leveraged rich media takeover ads that automatically pop up when Waze detects that a consumer has been still for three seconds or more within roughly a six mile geofenced location.

According to Jordan Grossman, senior director of sales at Waze, Mountain View, CA, the average click-through rate on a pin button is about .3 percent. Three percent of consumers in Mondel?z's campaign clicked through to get directions to a store and were also served a rich media ad.

Going forward, the Stride and Waze campaign is being rolled out a bit to include additional retail locations.

The first phase of the campaign will be around brand awareness about a new gum flavor, and the second part of the campaign will include an offer for Waze users.

?The locations are still TBD, but it is going to be with retail locations that are more on a larger footprint ? it was really, really concentrated the last time that they ran with us,? Mr. Grossman said.

?What we did is that we?ve been isolating smaller C-Store mini-marts so we can run a Waze-only offer and we can do a control and exposed [sampling] to take a look and see the actual lift in sales activity as a result of this Waze-only offer so that we can tie it to a return on ad spend,? he said.

Trident also ran a location-based campaign with Roximity last year for the initial 90-day Mobile Futures program. That partnership has now extended to Mondel?z's Ritz cracker brand, which is not one of the brands included in Mobile Futures.

Building in rewards
Another successful pilot program last year included Mondel?z's Sour Patch Kids brand and Kiip (see story).

Mondel?z did not provide specific results from the Sour Patch Kids campaign but says that the pilot program generated CTRs more than three times Kiip?s benchmark.

Mondel?z also notes the program between Halls cough drops and Dailybreak as a pilot for the brand that will be a key part of the company?s mobile strategy.

Halls ran a two-part campaign with Dailybreak, which kicked off in March/April 2013.

The first phase of Hall?s campaign included a video and trivia game that leveraged location-based alerts and geofencing.

Ninety-four percent of the consumers who participated in the two-week campaign completed the mobile experience on their mobile device and averaged a 91 second engagement time.

Additionally, 90 percent of the consumers in the campaign fit into Halls? core demographic of 18-35 years.

Phase two of Halls? campaign pulled user-generated photos into an in-store and online campaign with near-field communication and QR codes that linked to a microsite.

Via the microsite, consumers could answer questions to unlock personalized content and coupons. The microsite also was incorporated into Dailybreak Media Network?s platform and mobile app and Halls? Facebook page.

According to Nancy Lieberman, chief marketing officer at DailyBreak Media, Boston, phase two of Halls? campaign netted 25,000 participants, and more than half of these users submitted photos for the campaign. Sixty percent of the participants entered their email addresses to receive a coupon.

Mondel?z did not provide details on what is happening to the brands that are now finished working with the mobile start-ups, but did say that these marketers are now applying the learnings from Mobile Futures to their current campaigns.

Chips Ahoy, for example, ran a March Madness-themed campaign last year with and created original branded video content for the Web and mobile. The cookie brand created five minutes of branded content, which resulted in an average engagement of 15 minutes with content, per Chris Kurdziel, product and partnership lead at, New York.

Divvying up mobile spend
Similar to last year, Mondel?z is continuing to invest 10 percent of its media budget into mobile this year around four priorities.

Speaking at a financial conference earlier this week, Mark Clouse, North American president of Mondel?z said that the company wants to invest more than 50 percent of media spend into digital and mobile by 2016.

Mondel?z's first priority with mobile is social television, and the brand sees two to three times more effectiveness with TV advertising when there is a social component involved.

The second area of focus is video equivalency, meaning that the brand is planning video investments with a digital reach in mind.

In fact, Trident created a TV spot from the mobile app Vine last year as part of the ?Paid in Layers? campaign (see story).

Mobile at retail is the third pillar of Mondel?z's priorities, and the final priority is around mobile media. Engagement rates on mobile can be upwards to four times more than traditional display, per Ms. Moens, meaning that the marketer's focus is on connecting with consumers at the impulse moment when a brand is top-of-mind and they are ready to buy through location-based technology.

Developing mobile technology
The goal behind running these pilot programs with start-ups is to eventually give Mondel?z the technology to compete head-on in the ad tech world, which is phase two of Mobile Futures.

For instance, the program could spur the company to create its own version of Instagram, per Mondel?z's Ms. Moens.

Although the pilot programs with brands are still running, phase two of Mobile Futures has already kicked off with a week-long ideation between the brand marketers and start-ups.

The teams spent the week brainstorming business challenges that could be solved with mobile marketing.

An example of the topics discussed during the ideation is improving the labeling of nutritional information on food better through a mobile technology.

The idea is to incubate these kinds of ideas and for Mondel?z's marketers to eventually pitch a concept to venture capitalists to acquire seed funding.

If an idea receives seed funding, the goal is that the concept would grow to be a stand-alone company that is separate from Mondel?z.

Mondel?z also launched Mobile Futures in Brazil last year (see story).

The brands in Brazil have selected their start-ups and are beginning to launch pilot programs. Unlike the United States version, Brazil?s Mobile Futures program does not include a second phase with pitching to receive seed funding for projects.

?When we announced the launch [of Mobile Futures] back in October 2012, we said there would be two phases, so the first phase was about pairing our brand marketers with start-ups, so that is what we did last year,? Ms. Moens said.

?Towards summer, we started working on phase two of the program, which was about basically identifying big business challenges with the aim of launching our own start-ups, and we are working on that process now,? she said.

?The objective of phase two is really driving the entrepreneurial spirit with our own teams, so empowering them to come up with their own concepts and basically deliver new innovative technology that can be disruptive in the market.?

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