Crisp Voices Blog

Swiper no Swiping! A Response to the ClickZ Review of Wired's iPad App Advertising

1 Jun 2010 - Tom Limongello

ClickZ to my knowledge is the first site to dedicate a 10 minute video (see below) to reviewing mobile ads. The fact that they reviewed only the Wired iPad app advertising in itself is worth noting in terms of how important the iPad is to advertisers and publishers. Since the video is long I’ll boil it down for you, they were unhappy with the lack of interactivity, and since there were so many ads in the app, and because print ads are not by nature interactive, it was probably really difficult for Wired’s sales team to do much. We’ve been a part of the process of digitizing print ads for iPad apps over the past two months and we thought it would be great to do a deeper dive into what’s in the Wired App and offer some perspective, pointers and thoughts on how advertisers could do better.

Whoa There.
It’s not easy to change creative without creative direction and it’s not easy to make an ad digitally rich unless you’re given the right assets--but, it’s not impossible. Although the ClickZ review was all about the negatives, I would give HBO, eTrade, and Lea & Perrins points for their creative use of gallery buttons. Ads like Lea & Perrins full page ad with hotspots make a flat print ad into something highly interactive. Also, leveraging learnings from mobile content delivery, we’ve been proponents of galleries because it takes big sets of content and makes it bite sized. If you play with the Lea & Perrins ad you are getting 12 recipes – however they are laid out with 12 buttons, and this much more fun to tap through than a list, especially because the text changes quickly using CSS + JavaScript transitions.
Swiper no Swiping!
Content is King, and what we’ve learned at Crisp is that as we work with App developers who leverage the Swipe feature, is that we cannot count on using swipe as a gesture within advertising. If mobile devices are about vertical scrolling, the iPad is about horizontal swiping. As Swiper the Fox might say to Dora the Explorer "You'll never find it now! Ha, ha, ha!!"
Note: we’ve also learned that swiping content does not load as fast as tapping for content, because Apple’s gestural technology is not smart enough to start loading at the beginning of a swipe, so quick taps onto a navigation arrow will actually perform the request to either the local file or to a server faster in every case.
Follow the Arrows
Intel and HBO got dings for not offering readers a clue to find the rest of their ads. Without adding navigation buttons on the creative it would be nearly impossible for users to know that there were three panels for each of these ads. Why is that? Well because the Wired iPad app uses horizontal scrolling, they decided to offer vertical scrolling to show the rest of the ad content. Other than us reviewers of ads, will anyone else ever change their behavior to see ad content?
Danger Zone
Samsung only offered a full screen in portrait, which looks bad in landscape. You have a choice here, offering a cube-sized creative in the safe zone, anything smaller than 660x660, would have saved Samsung.  In the absence of the right sized creative you need to offer something different in landscape than you do in portrait. Even if it doesn’t fit the screen perfectly, it’s better to make it look like you are doing it on purpose rather than just have the wrong sized ad swirl down the whitespace well when you turn your iPad to landscape. 
The punchline also got lost in the rotation on the Heineken ad. Heineken gets points for having a call to action for rotation, and offering ‘can I touch’ in portrait and ‘yes you can’ in landscape. However, you cannot touch anything in the ad. Hmmf.
Link-in, not Link Out
Most advertisers with embedded links didn’t use webview, so they left the app to show a microsite rather than render the landing page in the app. Use the webview.
What do you get the advertiser that has nothing? ClickZ offered a wake up call to Tissot who did not even put their website link in the ad, but clearly leveraged ‘connectivity’ in the ad copy, so it looked like they were paying lip service to interactivity. 
No Tracking, no Interactivity
Giving agencies the benefit of the doubt, they may have said, ‘Why do I want to offer cool features if I can’t track them?’ Does your iPad app have an SDK that can handle rich media interactions and offer dynamic reporting? We suggest using our HTML5 open web standards approach because it can leverage the same rich media as you serve on mobile web, iPad safari and even on your desktop site. 
The takeaway for me is that mobile advertising is now getting the spotlight, and the size of the creative is now full page, which is bigger than any digital creative we’ve ever seen before. There’s a bigger opportunity and a bigger margin for error.

[Title inspired by Dora the Explorer's Fox nemesis named Swiper (credit for the reference, Nathan Carver)]
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Sprint Advertises Mobile Plans With Mobile Ads

20 May 2010 - Tamara Gruber
Sprint has brought back the low-priced unlimited plan and is using mobile advertising to roll it out.  In order to reach their target market, Sprint teamed up with Crisp Wireless and Hearst Magazine Digital Media’s Women network to create a mobile campaign that would get people talking. 
Sprint’s campaign ran on a variety of mobile sites from the Hearst network including, Marie Claire, Real Beauty, House Beautiful, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and Harper's Bazaar. The campaign featured two different ad executions, including Crisp's exclusive Adhesion fixed placement.  The banners promoted the $69.99 unlimited plan and allowed consumers to expand the ad unit.   Consumers who chose to “learn more” were taken to a specialized landing page from Sprint’s mobile site to explore phones, mobile broadband, and their unique “Any Mobile, Anytime” offering.
Through this campaign, Sprint was able to measure the number and rate of expansions and interactions.
Sprint Adhesion AdSprint Expanded
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Buying, Creating, & Measuring Mobile Rich Media Advertising Campaigns -- OMMA Mobile

12 May 2010 - Tamara Gruber

For those of you who couldn't attend OMMA Mobile today, you missed a great show.  Crisp hosted a special breakfast workshop for brand advertisers entitled: Mobile Rich Media Advertising: Buying, Creating, & Measuring Campaigns.  We've included the slides below.  Questions? Want to learn more? Contact Crisp Sales at

 Buying, Creating, and Measuring Mobile Rich Media Advertising Campaigns


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American Museum of Natural History Exhibits on

7 May 2010 - Tamara Gruber

 With new exhibits on display at the American Museum of Natural History, they teamed up with Wit Media and Crisp Wireless to create an array of engaging mobile ads.  Targeting mobile users in NYC, the American Museum of Natural History leveraged Crisp's new Adhesion fixed ad placement technology and six different mobile ad executions to create a dynamic, integrated campaign. 

The campaign included a blend of auto-expanded ads that closed after three seconds, expandable banners, and two tap-to-video banners, with a mix of creative executions, to promote the popular "Journey to the Stars" show and "Lizards & Snakes Alive!" exhibit.  The expandable and click-to-video executions utilized Crisp's exclusive Adhesion ad placement, which remains at the bottom of the screen as the user scrolls through the site.  These ads were displayed on's mobile site.

The campaign is running April through June 2010 and is measuring consumer engagement with the various ad formats including banner and expansion panel interaction rates and video plays.  

 Accuweather with American Museum of Natural History Expandable BannerAccuweather with AMNH Snakes Alive Banner

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Stop Arguing about Flash vs HTML 5 and Let's Move Mobile Advertising Forward

3 May 2010 - Xavier Facon

 MicrosoftAdobeApple and many other leading Internet enablers are now all involved in an active debate on how to move forward with content authoring in the multi-platform world.  The launch of the tablet device has prompted an escalating discussion on the merits of technologies like Adobe Flash versus Object C and HTML5. It has taken ridiculous proportions.  While it didn’t bother anyone initially that smart phones often don’t support Flash, with the launch of the Apple iPad, many were starting to question why.  I wrote a blog post on the lack of Flash on the iPhone about a year ago but Steve Job’s comments recently have really exposed the issue in a different light.

Apple has turned from reluctantly allowing content authored with 3rd party technologies like Flash on their mobile devices, to Steve Jobs doing a hatchet job on Flash.  He provided justification for that in an open letter which revealed his passionate dislike for technologies which aren’t native to his own platform.  I'm not buying every technical concern he has about Flash, but I'm not suspecting him of being disengenuous neither.  I do believe however, for Apple to not give the consumer and the developer the choice to use Flash is clearly a business model issue.  Some companies like to allow publishers, advertisers and developers to author content once and distribute them on many platforms.  Other companies - like Apple - require native development on their platform, so that content is only available on their own market leading platform. 
For apps from the App Store, Apple forces developers to use Apple's Objective-C based Cocoa API, a native and proprietary platform. Until recently, developers could also program in Flash and re-package it in Objective-C before submitting it to the App Store. This is now not allowed anymore, but the alternative Objective-C is still practical enough.  
However, for content on the mobile web, Jobs makes the impractical suggestion of using the W3C defined open HTML5 standard as an alternative for Adobe's proprietary Flash. That would make a lot of sense, except no one has any tools for developing similar content with the nascent HTML5.  Adobe Flash is many years ahead and, after carefully reading the technical specifications of both Flash and HTML5, I’m wondering if HTML5 will ever be able to match the level of expression that the author can achieve with Flash.  This is a challenge that authors of web based rich media like video, games and advertising have to deal with now.

HTML5 is a specification for video (H.264), vector animation (canvas), interactive logic (JavaScript) and layout (CSS/HTML).  Adobe Flash also covers video (FLV), vector animation (FLA), interactive logic (ActionScript) and layout.  Aside from the video part which can automatically be converted (be it with some loss of functionality), the other parts of these technologies are absolutely not automatically convertible and aren't even comparable due to vast differences in sophistication.  Flash is far better with animation, while HTML5 is far more efficient in simple content layout.  It has been surprising how many opinions are published where that critical fact is omitted. (Including Steve Jobs open letter)

What About Mobile Advertising?
Crisp Wireless has made the bet that Flash would be too slow to come to mobile in order to be a practical technology for mobile rich media advertising.  We have invested in developing a compelling framework for designers of ad units that leverage HTML5, without requiring the designer to program. Using HTML 5, we are enabling advertisers to use a single technology to deliver compelling ads across the broadest range of platforms. Using Crisp's ad building blocks, the designer can simply and easily create mobile rich media ads. Individuals interested in experimenting with the beta version of this technology are welcome to contact us –end mandatory plug.
As for mobile devices from Apple. The debate is now over. Even Adobe has cancelled their Flash initiatives on iPhone. However, Adobe will keep improving their mobile Flash technology and will find plenty of platforms, including Android, that won’t reject their technology in the near future. Apple will require developers to give their mobile devices special attention at the expense of standards that publishers and ad agencies are familiar with today.  Here at Crisp Wireless we are investing in products that can bring that cost down and make the process to run more compelling display advertising easier on all leading mobile platforms. Our HTML5 strategy is part of that, but we're working to support Flash on Android as well.


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