The Appification Of Content

The Appification Of Content

PSFK talks with Mark Mulhern of JWT in anticipation of his presentation at the upcoming PSFK Future Of Mobile Marketing Salon in Austin.

Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs
  • 2 march 2011

For our upcoming PSFK SALON at SXSW this year, we’ve invited JWT’s Mark Mulhern to discuss the future of mobile tagging. We’re excited that Mark will joining us at this year’s salon in Austin. Here are some questions we asked him in preparation for the event.

What emerging trend, idea, or technology are your excited to see develop in the future?

I feel like there is a huge opportunity in the convergence of traditional broadcast media, mobile devices, social media and the “appification” of content.

We’ve all been talking about the dual-screen habit and the social media Backchannel for a while, but I feel interesting new things are starting to happen in this space now.

A couple of examples from just this weekend – the live online commentary of the Ireland –v- Scotland rugby game at blended not only the typical high quality live blogging, but also viewer tweets, third-party professional input and imagery. These elements were deftly blended into a really compelling whole that felt deeper and more interesting to me than just a normal Twitterstream. is starting to be not just a Substitute when you are away from your TV but a rich, curated Complement to the game when you are in front of your TV.

Separately, the Oscar app on the iPad acted more as a Sidechannel into ABC’s Oscar coverage allowing the user to access multiple live feeds and information and choose their own experience.  Ultimately the experience wasn’t that great- the feeds just never seemed to capture what you expected- but the app worked perfectly in executing something very complicated, ABC got people to pay for content that is basically a by-product and they demonstrated the opportunity that lies ahead.

These two examples show how two content owners are expanding their offering to meet the changing desires of their audience. I’m excited by the trend and interested to think about if and how other types of brands can be part of this emerging consumer behavior.

Have you seen any advertising campaigns that are using mobile tags in particularly innovative ways?

Ha! I don’t have to go very far for this one. I work beside the Macy’s team here at JWT and believe that the work that the work that they are doing is very innovative.

Their new campaign, called “Backstage Pass,” deepens the retail experience by putting QR codes around the store where consumers can scan and receive exclusive fashion content and advice. You can get the specifics by texting LEARN to 62297 (see, how mobile is that!).

From a deployment perspective I admire the scale at which they’ve done this (nationwide), the involvement of 150,000 in-store staff and nice touches like adding Wi-Fi capability in-store to help with streaming video.

From a conceptual perspective I like it because it shows us how we now use mobile to truly augment our day-to-day lives. It’s typical to use mobile as a bridge from offline to online (QR codes in press ads) but using it to add depth to reality is much less typical. Credit to the agency and client here for seeing the trend and helping to take it mainstream in a meaningful way that works.


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