How To Make Mobile Ads Less Useful: Make Them Longer
By Mike Masnick, Fri Aug 20 23:15:00 GMT 2004

A brewery in South Korea is excited about how they've created the first video ad not edited from a TV ad to show on mobile phones. The problem? It's eight times as long as the usual mobile video ad.


While there are plenty of reasons to be critical of TV on mobile phones, that doesn't mean all video is out of place. In South Korea, there's been some success with mobile video that focuses on content that's much more suited for users on the go -- short clips and snippets, rather than full TV-length programming.

To fit in with that type of content, advertisers have run 10-second ads for viewing on mobile phones, which are usually edited down versions of longer television commercials. A brewery in South Korea has decided to buck the trend and produce commercials only for viewing on a mobile phone. This seems like a good idea in theory. Television and mobile phones are used differently, and any revolution in mobile advertising has to involve embracing the way people actually use mobile devices, and not simply repurposing content from other media for the mobile phone. Since mobile phones are interactive communications devices, an even better idea might be to make the advertising interactive.

However, instead of doing anything like that, the brewery has simply made the ad 120 seconds long -- making it less useful on a mobile phone. Already, on television, there's a reason that ads are usually kept to about 30 seconds. The longer the ad, the less likely viewers are going to keep paying attention. Move that to a mobile world where there are many other things a person can be doing or looking at, and making a commercial so long seems particularly odd.

Every time new media comes along, companies try to simply think of it in terms of the older media they know, and look to repurpose materials from one to the other. It's great that some are trying to figure out ways to really focus on the mobile phone as a platform, but that doesn't just mean doing it differently, but looking at how people actually use the phone for accessing content.