Almost every great ad campaign begins with a strong creative brief – one that provides a solid framework for creative teams and a starting point for ideas. But briefing for mobile requires a different approach to other channels such as TV and outdoor.
As part of our Insights series, which aims to help brands and agencies make the most of Facebook and Instagram, we spoke to Alaina Crystal, Michael Case and Margaux Revol at AMV BBDO about the briefs that informed mobile campaigns for Libresse, Snickers and M&M’s.
M&M’s MIX: PUTTING PRODUCT FRONT AND CENTRE
AMV BBDO opted for a product-focused approach in its Facebook mobile campaign for M&M’s Mix, creating short animations that showcase the three varieties of M&M’s (chocolate, peanut and crispy) found in each bag.
The campaign was created through a series of workshops with Facebook’s Creative Shop and drove a 36% increase in sales. Michael Case, Senior Strategist at AMV BBDO, believes its success was down to its clear focus on the product’s key selling point – an idea that was set out in the brief – coupled with engaging visuals.
“When it comes to briefing, I think it’s important to be very clear with creative teams about the nature of the format and what you want to get across,” explains Case. “If you think about the consumer and how people consume mobile advertising, people scroll through news feeds so fast that you only really have time to make one strong point, so you have to think, ‘what’s the one key message the consumer needs to know? And how can we get that across in a way that’s interesting and entertaining?’”
“For this project, because it was very product-focused, it was about being very single-minded,” adds Case. “It was about saying, ‘you have three M&M’s in one bag, and you have to bring that to life using all the assets you have, in a way that will communicate instantly what brand it is coming from without having to spend time explaining to people what brand it is’.”
It’s a different type of creative opportunity…. Yes it’s more succinct, and it can feel a bit more contained, but that doesn’t mean it’s not creative
With product-focused mobile campaigns, Case believes it is important to be clear about any creative requirements or parameters from the outset: “If you know you need to get people’s attention in 1.5 seconds, then put that in the brief,” he adds.
This might sound a little prescriptive, but it doesn’t mean there is no scope for creativity. Instead, Case believes it presents a different kind of challenge: “It’s a different type of opportunity – how can you be as smart and creative as possible with the brand assets that you’ve got, and [bring that message to life] in an exciting way? Yes, it’s more succinct, and it can feel a bit more contained, but that doesn’t mean it’s not creative,” he explains.
He also recommends planning mobile campaigns alongside TV ads and thinking carefully about how different media can complement each other. The M&M’s Mix Facebook campaign is just one part of a much broader brand campaign – one that included character driven spots as well as in-store activations – so the focus of videos was firmly on educating people about the product.
“None of this creative exists in isolation … it’s about using the whole media mix, being smart with it and thinking, ‘what elements do we already have out there that people are going to instantly recognise, that we can build on rather than replicate?” he adds.
Lise Pinnell, Creative Agency Partner at Facebook, says the campaign offers a great example “of how to turn limitations into advantages”. By adhering to Facebook’s effectiveness guidelines and putting the product front and centre, AMV BBDO was able to create Mars’ best performing mobile campaign to date. Having a clearly defined brief for mobile gives creatives a clearer idea of what is expected, says Pinnell, and avoids the potential pitfalls of vague instructions to ‘put content out on mobile’.
SNICKERS RAP BATTLE: TELLING SIX-SECOND STORIES
Snickers’ ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ campaign has led to some amusing spots featuring high-profile celebrity cameos. The latest showed West Coast rapper Boogie losing his edge and morphing into Elton John in the middle of a high-stakes rap battle at a Compton barbecue, much to the embarrassment of his crew.
Alongside a TV ad, AMV BBDO created a wide range of content for Facebook and Instagram, from Stories featuring other rappers, to six-second teaser videos featuring Sir Elton.
The mobile brief was based on the core idea – Boogie the rapper being thrown off his game when hunger strike. But instead of creating cut downs of the TV spot for mobile platforms, AMV BBDO’s creatives were asked to create compelling short stories featuring Elton John, Boogie and his fellow rappers.
AMV BBDO had mapped out a detailed plan to build momentum ahead of the campaign’s launch, which helped inform mobile content such as teaser videos created for Facebook.
Teaser videos were released ahead of the ad’s launch
“It was first about creating the context for Elton John and Snickers, so people would see that and think ‘I wonder what’s happening there?’ You might see Elton in your Feed, and then the Snickers sign off, but you wouldn’t necessarily know the full story,” explains Alaina Crystal, Deputy Head of Strategy at AMV BBDO.
AMV BBDO also planned to use Facebook and Instagram to broaden the campaign’s reach. Creatives were asked to devise content that would engage younger viewers on Instagram, and created a series of Instagram Stories showing rappers freestyling. Facebook ads were aimed at a broader audience and focused on amusing moments from John’s performance in the ad.
“We still want to appeal to the broadest possible audience [with Snickers’ campaigns]. That’s where I think campaigns can play out in really interesting ways in mobile as well as in TV,” says Crystal. “In the TV ad, you’re able to reach a more universal audience with Elton John, and also a younger audience with the rappers. With mobile, it was about thinking ‘OK, how do you lean in to each of those audiences, both with the platforms that you choose, and how you leverage the talent?’”
AMV BBDO created short videos for Instagram Stories featuring rappers from the Rap Battle ad
Storyboards were drawn up for mobile assets before the TV ad went into production: “When you have a celebrity-based campaign, you have to have all of that ready to go as you head into the shoot,” explains Crystal. “With talent of that calibre, people like Elton John or Joan Collins [another Snickers star], you’re going to get a couple of days with them, and you can’t just call them up afterwards and say ‘hey, there’s another Instagram Stories video we thought of – we’d love you to come back’…. We had to nail everything in that day or two because there wasn’t going to be another opportunity.”
The campaign doesn’t attempt to retell the story of the TV ad – instead, AMV BBDO created new stories that reflect the nuances of different platforms and the behaviours of people using them, resulting in short vignettes that complemented the TV ad and felt native to the platforms they appeared on.
It’s another misconception that one size fits all – that what you do on Instagram Stories can also play out on Facebook Feed
“Ultimately, the thing that’s going to be the most fame driving about this [campaign] is the talent and the story we’re telling, and in six seconds, you can still get a snippet [of that story] across. Can you tell the full story of Boogie being off his game, turning into Elton John and eating a Snickers bar and killing it? Of course not. But you can capture some of those key moments,” says Crystal.
When preparing mobile briefs, Crystal recommends creating individual briefs for specific formats such as Stories and Facebook Feed, rather than trying to create a single piece of content to suit multiple platforms.
“It’s another misconception that one size fits all – that what you do on Instagram Stories can also play out on Facebook Feed. All of those pieces should be treated and briefed differently in the same way that you wouldn’t assume your TV ad could run as a digital OOH,” she says.
“Generating insights into your audiences’ behaviours on mobile, and exploiting them in the right way can yield big returns,” adds Pinnell. “The [team behind the] Snickers campaign knew their audience and designed a story and the user journey to capture the attention of hard-to-reach audience groups.”
LIBRESSE: PROVOKING DEBATE
Libresse’s Blood Normal campaign was praised for challenging the stigma around periods
Libresse and Bodyform’s Blood Normal campaign, which launched in 2017, was the first to show realistic blood instead of the mysterious blue liquid that has long been a staple of ads for period products.
The campaign was a huge success and the brand was widely praised for challenging the taboo around menstrual blood. But it also provoked negative comments from people who described it as “gross” and “disgusting” – proof that the stigma around periods still exists.
This year, AMV BBDO created a series of Instagram and Facebook videos highlighting some of this negative feedback. Quotes were imposed on short videos showing the much-talked about scene where blood is poured on to a sanitary towel, along with a message which read ‘We have become so desensitised to blood in everyday culture and media, yet the sight of menstrual blood (probably the most natural blood of all) still generates this sort of response. Share if you agree that it’s time to make #bloodnormal’.
AMV BBDO had anticipated the ad would receive a mixed response, so considered how this feedback could be used to sustain the campaign’s momentum and spark further debate when planning a second wave of creative.
We have become so desensitised to blood in everyday culture and media, yet the sight of menstrual blood (probably the most natural blood of all) still generates this sort of response. Share if you agree it’s time to make #bloodnormal
Gepostet von Bodyform am Freitag, 20. April 2018
Videos created for Facebook and Instagram highlighted negative responses posted online
This led to the idea of creating a Facebook and Instagram campaign which juxtaposed scenes from the original ad with negative responses posted online, highlighting the problem the original ad sought to address. The campaign proved hugely effective: one video had 870,000 views on Facebook, and Bodyform’s UK Instagram following increased by 20%.
Videos reflect mobile best practice guidelines (each one is concise, with eye-catching text and works with sound on or off), but Revol believes the campaign’s success is down to the concept first and foremost. Without a strong idea, she says, even the best designed creative will fall flat.
What really made this a success for us was that idea of sparking conversations and showing people that we were carrying on with this cause
“What really made this a success for us was that idea of sparking conversations and showing people that we were carrying on with this cause,” she explains. “I think [this] shows that you shouldn’t just throw things into the world and move on. For us, the big lesson here was that planning for mobile is not just about planning for the visual format – it’s about thinking, ‘what is engaging on those platforms? What is likely to get people involved? How can you take your campaign further, instead of always [looking to] the next thing, and what can you reintegrate and keep using? You want to confront those views so people can have a wider discussion.”
Getting it right on mobile isn’t harder or easier than other channels, but it’s important to plan and brief
“The success of this campaign lies partly in the fact that it turns what could have been a weakness into a strength,” adds Pinnell. “Clever planning and a deep understanding of the audience’s behaviours on mobile [resulted in] some strong, thumb-stopping executions. When working with agencies, I always ask teams to think, ‘what is it that mobile can do for this campaign that nothing else can? And I think Libresse is a powerful example of that,” she adds.
The success of Blood Normal, Rap Battle and M&M’s Mix demonstrates how a clear creative brief and a strong understanding of mobile platforms can lead to some engaging – and effective – work. Offering some advice for brands and agencies planning campaigns for mobile, Pinnell says: “Getting it right on mobile isn’t harder or easier than other channels, but it’s important to plan and brief to get the most out of [different platforms]. If you adhere to creative effectiveness principles, understand mobile behaviours and define a clear role for mobile, then you are more likely to succeed.”
Insights is part of Inspire, a partnership between Creative Review, Facebook and Instagram to help people make the most of the platforms. More inspiration and advice to help with creative briefs – including insights into audience behaviours on mobile – is available at Facebook IQ (facebook.com/iq)