Mobile’s Greatest Hits (this month): Sausage Nonnas, AR from Senna, and interactive kid’s stories

Malcolm Poynton returns with his monthly pick of his favourite pieces of recent mobile entertainment and advertising. We’re liking the sound of the Sausage Nonnas


What the hell does that mean these days?
Ask ten people and you’re likely to get ten different answers.
For Mr or Mrs Uber driver, it’s their business. For YouTubers, it’s their production suite. For kids, it’s everything and to parents, it’s how they know what their kids are up to.
Surprising then that marketers give it so little attention and less than 20% of their spend (pretty much all of which is swallowed up by the mobile media bill from platforms such as Facebook).

So it’s refreshing to see brands go off the beaten track and define for themselves what mobile can be. And while doing so, many are finding ways to unlock the power of mobile ideas to deliver emotion.

That’s exactly what Johnsonville sausages chose to do recently with their ingenious Sausage Nonnas campaign. This campaign shows a brilliant idea brought to life with the kind of commitment to production that mobile is crying out for. From three custom-built tiny Nonna houses hauled by Uber to the redesign of the Uber interface and ‘hug cam’, every ounce of Sausage Nonnas has been beautifully thought-out and executed.

For one special day, Italian Nonnas Lidia, Antonia and Gina made their way across Chicago while cooking up Johnsonville’s Italian delights for folk that requested the Nonna service on Uber. Booking was made simple with a delightful Sausage Nonnas Uber icon. Uber hauled the tiny Nonna houses to the address and the Nonnas delivered sizzling meatballs and sausages straight from their mobile kitchen. The rest is history. Millions of views and thousands of hugs later, Johnsonville had hit the TV headlines and found a renewed spot in the hearts of Chicago.

From Chicago to Rio, where the Brazilian Olympic team members were each gifted a special AR activated wristband from Instituto Ayrton Senna. (A welcome AR distraction from the rapidly passing popularity of Pokémon Go.) When activated with a mobile, the wristband triggers an AR film (shown above on Vimeo) that appears projected on the athlete’s forearm, depicting the remarkable struggle and ultimate triumph of Ayrton Senna winning the Brazilian Grand Prix against a series of seemingly insurmountable setbacks.

With the Brazilian legend’s voice talking us through the animated skirmish of a race, this shows just how powerful and moving AR and mobile can be. In fact, I witnessed first hand the tears it brings to Brazilian faces. Here’s hoping it gives some of Brazil’s athletes the extra dose of inspiration and tenacity is takes to win a medal at the games.

Finally, while in Brazil, Itau Bank has a history of investing in education – as part of the commitment, over the years Itau has gifted 40 million books for children. However, thanks to digital distractions of our age, children’s interest in reading books has fallen off a cliff. Not to be deterred, Itau found a digital solution. More specifically, a mobile solution.

They commissioned several of Brazil’s bestselling children’s authors to write a series of new interactive children’s stories, especially for Facebook Canvas. Before bedtime, the stories are delivered to the Facebook newsfeeds of parents (via Facebook ads) and so they’re not just encouraged to read with their kids but also armed with the stories too.

Another great example of how mobile has moved far beyond the domain design and UX expertise, into a place where creative agencies are landing ideas that move people through mobile, weaving stories you could only conjure up working in our industry.

Meanwhile, I’m off to video call my own family from the other side of the world. I guess that gives a whole other meaning to mobile.

Malcolm Poynton is Global Chief Creative Officer at Cheil Worldwide. He tweets @e1even5ive

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