Back in 2008, in our very first wave of ID, we asked Irish 12-29s a simple question: “If they had to choose, which could they not live without: TV, Mobile Phone or Internet”?

The mobile phone won out overall, particularly for teenagers. However, in our most recent wave of ID, the Internet has moved ahead to claim victory. We also saw over 1/3rd of young people claiming they were using their mobile less to communicate with friends, and using online methods instead. And over a 1/3rd who said they felt more comfortable communicating with friends online than using their mobile.

Luckily, we’ve reached the point where that question is just no longer relevant. The lines between mobile, internet and even TV, are not just blurred, they’re quickly becoming obsolete.

Every year for the last five years, some brave soldier has pronounced it “The Year of the Mobile”. And every year they’ve been wrong. But I’m fairly confident that we’re finally seeing a tipping point, as mobile internet becomes liberated from the confines of the geekiest techies. In this research wave 1/5th of 12-29s said they are using their mobile phones to go online on a daily basis, and 30% are using mobile internet on a weekly basis. Those figures are positively mainstream.

According to Mashable, the history of mobile, can now be divided into pre-iPhone and post-iPhone. They say the impact that the iPhone has had, on both the mobile industry and computing industry in general, cannot be overstated.  Yes mobile internet has been around a while, and LG were the first to release a touchscreen phone….but Apple were the ones who really cracked it.

And crack it they did. There are reportedly somewhere between a quarter and a half a million iPhone users in Ireland. Not all of that mobile internet usage is being done on iPhones, but they’ve bestowed a new relevance onto the concept of a Smartphone. The movement we’re seeing is a ripple effect, from the iPhone out.

A new wave of mobile is now upon us.



Now That’s Advertainment!

September 14, 2009

Product placement on American television

Product placement on American television

With product placement to be introduced into UK television, the Irish media community has been live with debate on the prospects for product placement here. It raises some very valid questions on editorial integrity and separation of creative and commercial interests – but will programmes really be compromised and more importantly, do people actually care?

In the last wave of ID, we tested out concepts such as brand created content with young Irish consumers, to find out how they felt about blurring the lines between advertising and entertainment. One of the examples we used was the series of BMW films starring Clive Owen and a rake of other stars from Madonna to Ray Liotta.

Granted, we’ve found throughout ID that the younger end of Irish youth in particular, are much less cynical than the generation before them, when it comes to embracing brands and advertising without guilt or resentment. But overall, there was quite a clear acceptance of content which was funded by brands. The catch, as always, being that this content would need to meet the high standards of any other media creator, in order to grab their attention.

Ironically, the main qualm they had with the BMW films, was that they were too subtle to be an effective advertisement vehicle – they felt the product placement could have been more obvious. However we found throughout our testing that there was a very fine line to be walked between effective explicit branding and gratuitous overkill.

A recent example of an advertiser who has walked this line perfectly (literally!), is Johnnie Walker (thank you Ignition 5 from Phillipa & Vanessa). Johnnie Walker have created a superb piece of branded content to celebrate their 100th anniversary. In this five minute short film, Robert Carlyle walks through the Scottish Highlands, telling the story of the local whiskey brand and how it rose to global fame. Not only is it a hugely enjoyable piece of filmmaking, but the content is completely focused on the unique brand and product benefits. Art that sells.



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