2014 Australian Mobile & App Awards

mobile, web, IoT, desktop, connected devices
design champion, best studio, best start-up & IoT
plus 20 specialist nomination categories

demand design, celebrate courage



Project Overview

The innovative Her campaign saw voice activated technology applied to mobile banner ads for the first time.

The creative is an example of a new way in which brands can interact with audiences more meaningfully, with touch and speak functions eliminating the need for users to rely on keypad menu options, and instead use the most natural engagement process known to mankind – conversation.

Using cutting edge technology developed by the voice technologists at Nuance, combined with Mobile Embrace’s rich ad formats, the campaign took standard creative to a new level, creating the ultimate audio-visual experience.

To maximise campaign relevancy, Mobile Embrace placed the ad unit in highly targeted and contextual publisher environments, such as IMDB.

Over the campaign period (19th May – 15th June), Her generated over 5,500,000 page impressions and over 8,000 clicks.

Project Commissioner

Slingshot Digital

Project Creator

Mobile Embrace and Slingshot Digital


Simon Hilton - Head of Projects & Solutions, Mobile Embrace
Steve West - Head of Sales, Mobile Embrace
Kym Treasure - Senior Account Manager, Mobile Embrace
Mark Santander - Head of Creative, Mobile Embrace
Joseph Maynard - Front End Designer/Developer, Mobile Embrace
Millie Di Maio - Digital Media Strategist, Slingshot Digital
Gabrielle Davies - Senior Product Manager, Film Acquisitions, Universal Sony Home Entertainment

Project Brief

To promote the DVD and Blu-ray release of the Spike Jonze film Her, Mobile Embrace was approached by Slingshot Digital on behalf of Universal Sony Home Entertainment, to develop a highly creative mobile ad campaign that innovated on the unique relationship between consumers and their mobile phones.

Just like the story – where a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system (‘Samantha’) that's designed to meet his every need – we all have a love affair with our mobile phones. It’s the first thing we look at in the morning and the last at night.

To bring the film’s premise to life and offer audiences the next gen engagement experience, Mobile Embrace integrated this concept into our highly engaging visual ad formats and rolled this out across our premium advertising and publisher network – in the apps and environments that audiences can’t live without, which inform our behaviour, and that we feel most ‘connected’ to.

Key to the project was offering more than just your standard mobile creative, or a ‘click to watch’ the trailer execution. We needed to be clever in the way we integrated the ‘mobile phone relationship’ into the creative to add value and spontaneity in the way users could interact – just like the way ‘Samantha’ does in the film. We did this whilst ensuring maximum contextual relevancy in both the visual content and voice activated ad, along with a clear call-to-action that empowered rather than bombarded the consumer to share or purchase the film.

Project Need

The creative is highly innovative and ambitious. It fills a gap in the Australian advertising market on two fronts:

• It is the first time Nuance have integrated their world leading technology with Mobile Embrace’s ad server, Admarvel; and,
• It is the first time Australian consumers can interact with mobile ad units using natural speech.

By combining Mobile Embrace’s industry leading ad formats with Nuance’s voice activated technology, we were able to push the boundaries on innovation and engagement, to create a depth of interactivity never before offered between brands and consumers.

This was achieved by removing the constraints of the visual interface, and instead enabled consumers to have a conversation with a mobile advertisement via voice recognition technology.

When applied to Mobile Embrace’s creative, the key advantage of the technology is its ability to:

1) Dynamically customise the journey and messaging within the ad unit unique to the customer; and,
2) Direct audiences to customised content/destination pages and in high volumes – in the case of Her, by offering users three verbal queues from which to instinctively and authentically respond, followed by a tailored response from ‘Samantha’ prompting users to share or purchase the film.

See graphic 1) in additional information for user response flow chart.

Her demonstrated that custom rich video and voice activated ad formats can successfully generate deeper levels of interaction, achieving the following outcomes over the campaign period:

• A total of 5,516,038 page impressions;
• A high volume of user clicks (8,767);
• A click-through-rate (CTR) of 0.16 per cent; and,
• Twenty per cent of user’s who completed the ad sequence continued through to the option to purchase the DVD via iTunes.

These outcomes are proof that brands can now have a two-way conversation with consumers, whilst more deeply understanding consumer wants and preferences.

See supporting notes for campaign outcomes.

User Experience

To engage user interest from the second a user arrives on the m-site or app, a Her branded call-to-action was featured on banner ads running on Mobile Embrace’s premium publisher advertising network during the campaign period.

The call-to-action requests the consumer to click on the 320x50 banner ad unit and “tap to meet Samantha” where they hear: “Hi, I’m your operating system, but you can call me Samantha.”

Users are then asked a series of three verbal questions from ‘Samantha’, with their voice replies receiving a tailored response, followed by the final interaction promoting the film.

Step-by-step user interaction with ‘Samantha’:
1. User sees the banner in app and is prompted to tap;
2. Ad unit expands and prompts the user with an initial question;
3. User responds with an answer;
4. Answer is then decoded to plain text via cloud servers;
5. Text is matched against a number of different outcomes;
6. User is then played the appropriate response;
7. This process continues through a ‘tree’ of branched questions and answers until a final page is shown with a call-to-action to purchase the DVD direct from iTunes.

Watch the video to view the creative.

See screenshot images 1, 2, and 3 for an illustration of the creative ad sequence.

Over the measuring period, Her demonstrated the enormous engagement opportunities available to brands, achieving the following outcomes:
• A total of 5,516,038 page impressions;
• Over 50 per cent of users who engaged with the ad completed the ad sequence; and,
• Twenty per cent of user’s who completed the ad sequence continued through to the option to purchase the DVD via iTunes.

Analysis of Mobile Embrace and Nuance developed and powered campaigns also shows that users spend an average of 1 minute participating in voice ads. This is far more valuable than passive ‘watching’ of an ad – this is participation.

See supporting notes for campaign outcomes.

Project Marketing

The project marketing aims and strategy were twofold. First, to target a consumer audience comprised of film buffs, the ‘thinking’ type, anyone who loves a good dose of entertainment via their mobile phones and who are aged between 25-55 years. The second was to entice them with captivating audio-visual mobile ad content to drive awareness, engagement and potential purchase of the Spike Jonze film, Her.

At Mobile Embrace, we believe that engaging and interactive mobile ad formats that go beyond the banner and which integrate rich media and video content such as HTML5, offer brands a powerful and more meaningful way to engage with consumers. By merging our ad formats with Nuance’s voice activated technology, we were able to create a highly engaging campaign that ignites user interest from the second they arrive on the m-site or app which featured the 320x50 banner ad unit – where users were invited to “tap to meet Samantha”.

Being unique and not your average ad format, the creative was successful in capturing the attention of curious audiences, with more than 8,767 users clicking on the banner ad during the measuring period, and more than 50 per cent of users who engaged with the ad had a conversation with ‘Samantha’.

To ensure the creative was featured in the most appropriate and consumer-centric mobile environments, the creative was rolled-out across Mobile Embrace’s premium advertising and publisher network comprised of news, sport and entertainment m-sites and apps such as IMDB.

See Her consumer journey screenshot images 4, 5 and 6 in additional information.

Project Privacy

When it comes to privacy, one of the advantages of the Her campaign is that is does not collect or store consumer data. While the voice ads do take input from the user – this being user responses to three verbal questions asked by ‘Samantha’ – the user is never personally identified. User responses are also not stored and are simply transmitted for decoding and then disposed of within seconds, only to be acted upon via Samantha’s subsequent verbal queue.

The only other data collected is aggregate pipeline numbers as a measure of user engagement with the ad. This data includes user ‘clicks’ on the banner ad, seconds spent on the ad and custom event measurements. Hence, the only data collected is user ‘habits’ rather than personal information. This approach greatly assists in ensuring confidence to the user on their anonymity during and post ad engagement, whilst offering Mobile Embrace a strong and reliable measure (numbers) of campaign performance and success.

This category recognises campaigns that use elements such as competitions, promotions & messaging to engage customers on the mobile channel exclusively.
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