Sears’ back-to-school social campaign punches with comedic slang


Retailer Sears is attracting shoppers with comedy in its back-to-school promotional campaign, focusing on stereotypical crush scenes from the first day of school in a series of YouTube videos that includes a social hashtag.

Given socials ability to resonate with a younger audience, Sears hopes to drive in-store and online traffic during the fall season as students begin a new school year by encouraging viewers to look their best with a new set of clothes. The retailer attempts to use the recognizable phrases and comedy to resonate with parents, children and teenagers.

“We all know that the back-to-school season can bring its fair share of stress for moms, and even kids for that matter, but this time of year is also packed with exciting and fun opportunities to reinvent your routine and your style, said Jamie Stein, vice president of public relations at Sears Holdings Corporation, Chicago. The Back to School, Back to Wha video series is a humorous take on the season and the idea of surprise.

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The videos spotlight how kids can feel renewed and confident on their first day of school with fresh looks from Sears and we hope resonate with parents by drawing attention to our great brands and unbelievable prices.

Simple but effective
One of Sears promotional videos features an attractive male athlete collecting his lacrosse gear from his truck as a female student approaches. She is blown away by his charming looks and proceeds to faint. Her hair flies in the air as she yells, Wha?

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LSN Mobile’s Local on the Go app unifies local news from major US cities


Mobile media company LSN Mobile has replaced its Local News mobile application with a more unified Local on the Go app, providing local news, weather and sports by city, according to the users preference, to give local coverage a single host.

LSN Mobile believes local media sources have a need for a mobile presence if they are all used together in one place. Through Local on the Go, users can find local news in New York City and San Francisco, for example, in one place.

We perceived there was a large hole in the marketplace around local news and a major opportunity, said Louis Gump, CEO of LSN Mobile, Atlanta. We felt there was a huge need in the market so we rebuilt our app from the ground up with our local news products.

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There is an opportunity to build sustainable business for local media on mobile through the new app. Local media can generate enough revenue to matter on a mobile platform.

Merging together
LSN claims to have been building products with aggregated local news for ten years. Its iOS and Android app was launched in 2011. 

While maintaining that app, the company repositioned itself as a mobile ad network by discontinuing some lines of business, such as building single purpose mobile Web and apps for local media companies.

The content on the app comes from local news sources, particularly 20 sources of the top 25 markets in the United States and over half of the top 100 markets.

The app encompasses multiple advertising capabilities through banners and interstitial Web pages and the company claims to be currently working with a number of big brands that plan on advertising with the app. However, LSN does not want to include any more than five brands to maintain more of a sponsorship model.

The user experience
The content is presented in an easy way to grasp but also is easily interchangeable for the app managers. News, weather and sports are all available on the first screen. Users can click into the news content, view a news provider of ones choice, and scroll from left to right to see what different stations are offering simultaneously.

If users scroll from top to bottom, they will see between one to 10 articles depending on what is available. 

We try to give snacks with the ability to immediately dive in, Mr. Gump said. If a person lives in New York City and are traveling to Los Angeles, and also cares about San Francisco, they can build in all three and can toggle back and forth very easily.

LSN executives claim there is not a shortage of local news information on mobile, yet there is a shortage of seamless ways to consume that information.

As we move into a world with more than 50 percent of digital consumption for news organizations is coming from mobile, we are trying to provide an easy discovery tool, Mr. Gump said.

LSN recognizes local news differs from national news media by being more fragmented, lending a need for a tool such as Local on the Go. By providing a single host for these publications, they will be able to grow their own business and mobile presence.

We did not enter this market to be a peripheral player, Mr. Gump said. We want to help move the market and are thinking about a mindset of mobile excellence for this market by establishing a standard for a very easy-to-use app that gives people all they want about news, weather and sports in one simple place.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York

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Lincoln targets mobile shoppers with redesigned, interactive site

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Lincoln website

Redesigned Lincoln mobile site.

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Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

Related content: Software and technology, mobile, mobile marketing, mobile commerce, Ford, Lincoln, Team Detroit, Hudson Rouge

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Zillow and Trulia combine resources to up industry ad sales


Zillow has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Trulia for $3.5 billion, forming what may be the biggest player in digital home search and laying the groundwork for a more aggressive push into digital real estate advertising.

Both Zillow and Trulia are primarily media companies, generating the majority of revenue through ad sales to real estate professionals. Despite continued growth as public companies, significant opportunities of scale remain as the majority of advertising dollars in the real estate sector have yet to migrate online or to mobile.

When the largest real estate website acquires the second largest website, it means a broad opportunity for ad sales, said Melody Adhami, president and COO of Plastic Mobile.

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Having a cross-brand reach creates better value driven and smart ads. Zillow and Trulia will also have a better control on the market, streamlining web experiences and creating higher standards.

Since both websites have target audiences that are consistent, it not only enables ads to reach a broader audience, but it also encourages more user experience and interactivity, she said.

Closing the loop
The deal, once approved by both companies boards, is expected to close next year though each brand will continue to operate under its individual name.

The two companies’ combined revenue currently represents less than 4 percent of the estimated $12 billion real estate professionals spend on marketing their services to consumers each year, according to Borrell Associates Real Estate Advertising 2013 Outlook.

Zillow and Trulia are two rapidly growing real estate sites on mobile and the Web, enabling advertisers to reach a large and expanding consumer base. In June, Zillow reported a record 83 million unique users across mobile and Web. For the same month, Trulia reported a record 54 million monthly unique users across its sites and mobile apps.

The two brands have limited consumer overlap approximately half of’s monthly visitors do not visit, and approximately two-thirds of’s monthly visitors across all devices do not use, according to comScore. Maintaining the two distinct consumer brands will allow the combined company to continue to offer differentiated products and user experiences, attract more users and maximize the distribution of free content across multiple platforms, apps and channels.

Expected benefits of the deal include an accelerated innovation on mobile and Web tools, greater access to free real estate market data by sharing housing trend analysis and forecasts and broader distribution for home sellers and their agents, brokerages, and participating MLSs.

The companies are also predicted to offer shared services and marketing platforms for advertisers that enhance agent productivity and marketing to deliver greater return on their investment.

The problem with ad sales
In 2005, print real estate advertising had just begun its demise as a red-hot housing market cut newspapers out the picture due to the fact that homes were selling so fast in select markets that they were never advertised.

Consumers wanted more information up front in the buying process and the Internet offered more control and purchasing power than ever before.

In 1999, four percent of buyers found their home through the Internet and 11 percent in 2003. The Internet surpassed print newspaper ads in 2002, according to Borrell Associates, and print ads have steadily fallen into the single-digit category ever since.

The National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers, completed in 2004, showed that the Internet was almost as powerful a marketing tool in selling homes as yard signs. Sixteen percent of the respondents said they found their home through signs, 15 percent through the Internet.

Consumer demand for interactive access to product information has not wavered since, and companies such as Trulia and Zillow who were able to capture and disseminate that information were expected to retain billions of dollars in advertising, but that is not yet the case.

A report by Clariety, an Arizona-based real estate industry information technology consulting firm said that Zillow and Trulias real estate networks Web traffic totaled 84.6 million unique visitors this past May. That compares with the 40.2 million combined unique visitors in the same month of three other online real estate networks.

Even with that dominance, not all local real estate brokers are convinced of Zillow and Trulias benefit because the information is not always accurate. Sites such as are perceived to be more accurate and timely because of their marriage with MLS databases, which have stringent requirements about the input of data.

App happy
Trulia and Zillow both offer mobile apps which extend the convenience of search and allow for an even faster transmittal of communication between buyers, agents and lenders .

In a joint study by National Association of Realtors and Google entitled The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate, it was discovered that 89 percent of new home shoppers used a mobile search engine and that 68 percent used a mobile app throughout their research process.

Trulia and Zillow will be creating the ultimate database for home search. And while this may scare other players, this move wont necessarily create a permanent dominance for the two companies, Ms. Adhami said.

Rather, this will nudge the entire industry into higher engage experiences within their digital platforms, whether through responsiveness to mobile-web or an app.

By 2017, online is expected to be the medium of choice for real estate, with nearly 41 percent of the advertising pie, according to Media Ad View Plus. Meanwhile, newspapers share of the real estate advertising pie is expected to decline, reaching less than 7 percent by 2017. Mobile is also expected to benefit from the newspaper industrys continuing decline, as its share increases from 1 to 12.6 percent.

The industrys shift from traditional offline marketing to online marketing has reached new levels of disparity because while real estate professionals control a large portion of ad dollars, they prefer to spend it on digital marketing products and services that are native but sometimes poorly run, exist on fragmented platforms with publishers, or lack accountability and support which does not translate into new relationships.

And as social media, mobile and video continue to develop, it is more important than ever to deliver contextualized advertising.

The Borrell report cites that future growth rates in real estate advertising are directly correlated with the number of planned purchases by consumers, which is expected to increase for every home type into 2014. Economic indicators are calling for consistent market growth and are married with a substantial shift of cash moving from traditional into online advertising. There will undoubtedly continue to be unprecedented digital marketing spend from the industry. Trulia and Zillow are aiming to zero in on attaining more ad dollars, and it really is a no brainer for brokers and agents, should they realize that the couple attracts and represents more than two-thirds of all Internet home search traffic.

The ideology and acceptance of ad sales on mobile and web havent quite reached mass acceptance. This is especially true with real estate since it is a very traditional business thats been later to adapt to the digital and mobile game, Ms. Adhami said. Since most ads dont contribute to the content and context of a mobile experience.

That said, ads do have a place in the digital realm, as long as brands know how their consumers are using and engaging with them, they can effectively reach them meaningfully.

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

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Weinstein Studios bets on Kik to build word-of-mouth for The Giver


Film studio The Weinstein Company chose social messaging application Kik over its competitors several of which have much larger user bases to promote the film adaptation of Lois Lowerys novel The Giver due to the apps photo-sharing capabilities and emerging presence.

The campaign centers on virtual stickers that Kik users can use to decorate their photos and then share on social media. A trivia contest is also among the film-related content on the app being used to entice sharing and encourage word-of-mouth advertising.

Adaptly recommended Kik for The Giver campaign because it offered a combination of large reach to the films target audience, as well as the opportunity for significant earned media, said Sean O’Neal, president at Adaptly, New York. The Kik platform was literally built for sharing.

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“What weve observed of the Kik user is a high propensity to share, or kik, engaging content like photos and videos,” he said.

Up and coming
Weinsteins established relationship with Adaptly has resulted in social advertising campaigns for the companys films on Facebook and Twitter, and because of the demographic profile of the Kik user base, Adaptly recommended the messaging app to Weinstein for this particular campaign.

Adaptly believed Kik would deliver a high number of shares given the frequent sharing tendencies of the average Kik user.

Kik users sharing their creations

Kiks partnership with Weinstein is the messaging apps first official theatrical advertising campaign.

Adaptly hopes to surpass 1.5 million engagements through Kik, which aims to target ages 18-24 through its efforts. Kik currently reaches more than 150 million users and adds an average of 2 million new users each week.


Recent data also shows that Kik has acquired more downloads on Android than SnapChat and WhatsApp. Kik trails behind Facebook messenger and Skype in a ranking of most downloads total on iOS and Android.


eMarketer data

Continuing the entertainment
Sectors within the entertainment industry have been leveraging mobile apps to extend the life of films by providing some type of interactive experience for smartphone users.

Broadcasting and cable company Comcast and entertainment corporation Lionsgate initiated a partnership to build mobile applications for Lionsgate films, offering bonus clips and features for Comcast customers purchasing movies through Xfinity On Demand.

For starters, the team created an app for Lionsgates Divergent in an effort to combat a decrease in DVD sales. The collaboration shows an attempt to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for fans of the Divergent franchise and future Lionsgate films to come (see story).

Broadway musical Holler If Ya Hear Me promoted strategically through social to target urban, hip-hop enthusiasts, particularly a younger generation.

The musical was inspired by the life of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, with the marketing strategy designed to connect the world of hip-hop to another area of entertainment: Broadway.These initiatives showcased how entertainment properties can leverage mobile to reach a targeted audience (see story).

Given Adaptlys targeted strategy combined the tailored content for smartphone users specifically, Weinstein hopes the Kik platform will deliver an experience that will resonate with the audience and drive engagement.

In the past, Kik has shown a lot of potential for marketers that are trying to reach a younger demographic with creative, engaging material that goes beyond the banner ad (see story).

Perhaps the success of the campaign will determine future partnerships between Kik and other entertainment industry leaders.

Adaptly are experts in the entertainment category, and over the years weve seen that high engagement yields results, Mr. ONeal said. Given the quality of the content and the viral nature of the Kik platform we are confident the campaign will drive traffic to the film.

The video trailer that is being used for The Giver campaign is fantastic. It is an extended trailer with stunning cinematography and compelling clips of dialog. When viewed on a smartphone, particularly with headphones, the trailer is quite powerful.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York

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