After developing an innovative tablet format for the content from its 55+ magazines, Swedish media giant Bonnier
has turned its focus to the advertising.
The company turned heads with its Mag+ platform
- a concept developed with design consultancy BERG
anticipating a more interactive way of viewing magazines on tablets, which has since been rolled out to 11 of its titles, such as Popular Science+
, since its début in April 2010. Now Bonnier has enlisted Crispin Porter + Bogusky
to help field a study and use the results to develop concept advertising for tablets, which will be unveiled late this spring.
In a statement, Bonnier R&D program director Megan Miller
, pointed to the dozens of new tablets from this year's CES
and the prediction from analysts at Gartner
that over 200 million tablets may be in the wild by 2014 as rationale for the project.
The effort comes as publishers' honeymoon with Apple has ground to a halt
, with both consumers and mag-makers disappointed over restrictions imposed by Apple's framework, such as lack of subscription options, and underwhelming initial adoption.
We tracked down Miller, CP+B partner and managing director Winston Binch
and Gustav Martner
, CP+B Europe ECD for answers to some initial questions about the project. Contagious: Do you think this'll be a one-off, or are you developing it as a business capability?
Every great thing we've done has been defined by our ability to invent, and it's our belief both brands and agencies need to think and act more like start-ups, to think about more than just the message and press release-about making the product experience as powerful as possible. More people rely on consumer reviews than they do marketing when making purchases, so a bad user experience can kill a brand. Great ads can slow the bleeding, but until you address the product issues, you're only going to get so far.
The great thing about digital is that it can be both product and media. Modern marketing is a mix of both brand and product experience building. The opportunity to develop and invent product and ad platforms with our clients is exactly where we want to be.
Contagious: How large of a team is working on the project?Miller:
On the Bonnier side, we have two R&D strategists, several developers from the Mag+ team and stakeholders from our magazine teams, particularly Gregg Hano
, group publisher of Bonnier Technology Group who has been very involved. Binch:
We have a team that includes folks from our Cultural & Business Insights, UX, Creative Technology, Integrated Production, and Content Management groups. The exciting thing for us is that it's collaboration between our people in the US and Sweden. Contagious: What are some of the initial findings of the survey?
We're still in the midst of the research and we haven't
fully analyzed all the information we've been collecting yet, but it's
much more than a survey - we've talked to publishers, ad sales staff,
media buyers, and perhaps most importantly, consumers. We sat down with
individuals and groups in three U.S. cities, going into their homes and
talking with them about print, online and tablet media and watching them
interact with tablet devices. We want to get a better idea of how they
perceive and consume content - particularly advertising. How are they
using magazines? How are they using tablets? Is there a way that tablets
can bridge the gap between the best magazine ads and the best online
experiences? Can we create ads that engage and entertain people and do
So far we've seen a few things that surprise us. It's fascinating
watching the way people hop around from digital magazines to the Web. We
used to believe that magazines were by definition contained, curated
experiences. But people don't necessarily use them that way on tablets.
We're seeing a lot of people using them as springboards into topics that
interest them, with that supplementary information coming from the
Internet.Contagious: TBWA's Nissan client got the first shot at the iAd platform, developed by another client of theirs, Apple. Do you expect we'll see some live creative from CP+B clients in the initial concepts?Binch:
We're still focused on developing insights but think it's important that all of our clients have a presence in this developing media channel. One of the reasons for us being so excited about the partnership was that it would put us in a position to create effective and newsworthy advertising for them in the space. As far as what's going to be launched, that's all still being worked through. You'll have to wait and see.Are you pursuing patents/IP for the concepts you develop? Will those belong to CP+B or Bonnier?
We're creating two things: a technical back end for making really cool ads, and a series of really cool ads. The technical part will belong to Bonnier, or more specifically, to Mag+, the digital magazine publishing platform that Bonnier developed. CP+B will be making best-of-breed ads that show off the full range of capabilities of magazines on tablet devices. What both parties get out of this partnership is an amazing opportunity to learn and innovate.
Contagious: Are there standards yet for tablet advertising? Why not? What will be the most important initial points to consider for whomever does?
Not to my knowledge. My guess is that tablets still don't have the reach and it's too early
to tell which demands there are on tablet ads. I guess it's better to be
more of a curator, rather than decide over people's heads about these
things. It's important that this media is easy to compare to other medias in question of metrics, effect, costs and reach. Good standards should help agencies have decent production costs for big campaigns with big reach, at the same time as not limiting the creative too much.