Starting next month, P&G will run 15- and 30-second spots before and after programming on Amp'd Mobile video channels, such as Break TV, the History Channel, A&E, Biography and the Amp'd College Football Season Pass. Some Amp'd programming will be reformatted to allow for commercial breaks similar to those of TV programs, said Seth Cummings, Amp'd's senior VP-content development and programming.
Amp'd, a mobile company whose calls are placed through Verizon Wireless, has 50,000 subscribers but is expanding its distribution through Best Buy and other big-box retailers.
P&G's wireless ad play could be a boon for the nascent mobile marketing industry, whose executives feel it has the potential to offer marketers addressable ads. In compliance with federal requirements, and without disclosing personal information about their subscribers, wireless service providers believe they can place ads on the mobile devices to target customers who opt to receive the ads.
Discounts to opt-in
Amp'd Mobile, which targets its service to 18- to 35-year-olds, is looking to offer discounts as early as next year to subscribers who opt to provide gender, age and home location, Mr. Cummings said. He said the popular Amp'd Overdrive package, at $20 per month, could be offered at a yet-to-be-determined discount to subscribers who opt to view advertising. In exchange, subscribers would sign up to receive mobile-video ads and also would grant permission for marketers to use that information to reach them.
"Addressability is the holy grail in brand advertising," said Ujjal Kohli, CEO, Rhythm NewMedia, a company whose platform is serving the P&G campaign. "TV-style advertising running over TV-style content" is not only available but capable of "sending an appropriate ad an appropriate number of times to the right people." Marketers also will be able to know how much of the video was viewed. "There's no room for click fraud here," he added.
P&G has been dipping its toe into mobile marketing, offering Herbal Essences ringtones in the past, and earlier this year launched a mobile-text-messaging program for Crest Whitening Plus Scope Extreme Toothpaste targeted to young club-goers. Its Interactive Marketing Innovation Consumer Solutions Program group, headed by Jean Berberich, is expected to roll out a number of other mobile-marketing programs this year for products such as Pampers.
Executives at P&G did not return calls seeking comment.
Mobile's CPM rates
And in a sign of the kind of money mobile media could command, the deal, according to three executives familiar with the situation, was running at cost-per-thousand rates of $150 or more, considerably higher than web CPMs and the average $30 CPM for traditional broadcast prime time. Revenue is being shared among the carrier, the content publishers and intermediary companies handling the deals. Mr. Kohli said mobile TV's CPM might decline over time, but right now the "demand far outstrips the supply."
The jury is still out, however, as to whether there will be demand, particularly in relation to sensitive consumer concerns. Jonathan Sackett, senior VP-director of digital operations, Draft, said of mobile addressability: "As a marketer I love it," but as a "consumer I don't much care for it."