Pimentel-Pinto also argued that smart brands and publishers are focusing on the key innovations found on the new breed of phones, such as touch screens, and developing content that makes the most of their strengths.
However brands being able to effectively use mobiles for marketing is a fairly recent occurrence. ‘It wasn't that long ago that mobile phones offered very limited opportunities to brands,' says Pimentel-Pinto. ‘They could use ringtones WAP sites, themes and occasionally some clunky video, but that was all. It was therefore not surprising that mobile marketing activity was often tagged onto the marketing campaigns as an after thought. Pimentel-Pinto also cites the limitations of the handsets from a few years back and the cost of data as being key reasons why brands often overlooked the potential of mobile.
According to Pimentel-Pinto the catalyst for change was the arrival of the Apple iPhone in 2007. ‘The device rewrote the game plan and meant that that primary content could now be developed for mobiles. Content suddenly became easy to install (via the iTunes store), brands now had rich design opportunities and the device's touch screen offered true interaction.'
The iPhone also engineered the shift from mobiles as primarily voice-centric devices to gadgets where data becomes, for some users anyway, the mobile's core function. It also sparked the growth of similar devices using Google's Android operating system as well as the introduction of inexpensive data plans.
There are now three key mobile channels says Pimentel-Pinto. ‘Firstly apps, which are now available across a number of devices and not just the iPhone. Secondly mobile websites that have been created and optimised with mobile in mind. Finally messaging alerts, which is essentially good old fashioned text messages.'
Pimentel-Pinto then went on to highlight three recent examples of work Agency Mobile has done for brands. He showed a ‘Design your own trainers' iPhone app for Reebok, which enables those who download it to create customised footwear and a ‘how to' app which the agency made for BBC Good Food. Pimentel-Pinto also showcased an iPhone app called Stuck which was developed for Swift Cover and has been downloaded 50,000 times.