Agencies Divided on Where to House New Mobile Units

Posted: August 17, 2010 in Advertising & Marketing, Mobile, Technology

(AdAge.com) — In a matter of weeks, several new mobile units have sprouted up within adland, prompting debate in ad circles about whether the offerings should take root within creative agencies or form under media shops.

Omnicom Group recently launched a mobile-marketing consultancy called Airwave under media agency giant OMD. According to Jon Haber, U.S. director of OMD’s Ignition Factory, a media shop is the intuitive place to house a mobile unit.

“Mobile is bought in many of the same ways that digital media is bought, but it stretches across coupons, CRM, texts and out of home,” he said. “It bleeds into all other media types. An agency like OMD touches other media units, so it makes sense for mobile to be in-house so it can integrate into everything from TV to digital.”

OMD has also dabbled in mobile creative work; in 2009, it created the Dockers shakable iPhone ad with rich media provider Medialets. While paid media was a component of the Dockers campaign, it also received a lot of attention for creative.

Paid media has dominated recent buzz in mobile advertising with Apple and Google buying into the category. In January, Apple acquired mobile ad network Quattro and just recently launched its souped-up mobile ad unit, iAd, with big-budget advertisers such as Citibank and Unilever in tow. That followed Google’s $750 purchase of AdMob, which was under prolonged investigation by the Federal Trade Commission until just recently.

But for a platform that also includes brand apps, partnerships with developers and location-based services, there’s much more to mobile than display.

Boston-based shop Mullen earlier this month announced its dedicated mobile unit and, with it, is trying to bridge the divide between media and creative. The unit is aligned with the agency’s media planning and buying group, MediaHub, though mobile lead Brenna Hanly will be embedded in the agency’s creative department. A spokesman for the shop said the agency will have three dedicated staffers in the mobile practice to start with. (get the rest of the story)

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