Marketers Start to Dial Up Ads for iPhone Apps

Take Advantage of Functions Built Into Device to Reach Targeted Audience

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Free applications, the darlings of the new iPhone, are the latest in tech cool. They're also the latest place marketers are plugging their ad messages.
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Brands such as Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Universal Pictures are among the first to enter the world of advertising within native iPhone applications.


IPhone users fall in a highly sought-after sweet spot -- the 25- to 34-year old male -- a fact not lost on marketers. And brands such as Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Universal Pictures are among the first to enter the world of advertising within native iPhone applications.

Ford's ad effort
Brian Bos, senior VP-convergence director at WPP Group's MindShare, which buys media for Ford, said the automaker will unveil an ad campaign exclusively on the iPhone in mid-August. While he would not reveal any details, he insists it will be "fun and really interesting. We're one of the first big brands to take on and play with other the components of the device."

Mr. Bos, who heads up Team Detroit at MindShare for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands, said iPhone users are more affluent and educated, making them an attractive audience for high-end Ford products.

AdMob, which sells mobile advertising, did the deal with Ford. It said it closely integrates ads with iPhone technology, using interactive ad formats that function in both the browser and the applications built specifically for the device.

Context-based banner ads now morph into GPS locators for the closest product from the user's current location. Ads can initiate calls or purchase DVDs for instant viewing. Ads can incorporate audio, video and web browsing, and can also direct users to the iPhone App Store or iTunes.

'Upped the ante'
Compared to phones such as Blackberry or Treo, "iPhone has upped the ante," Mr. Bos said. "The device lends itself to interaction and exploration. It opens a door for marketers and brings the brand to life on the device." He said the phone allows for a deeper and longer engagement with a brand.

AdMob is trying to lure more developers on board with promises of advertising credits. Beginning today AdMob will launch an iPhone and Safari App contest in which 200 winners will get $5,000 of free advertising credit to promote their products.
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