Meet Milton Elias, Head of Mobile & Tech Futures at OMD UK

Milton Elias, Head of Mobile & Tech Futures at OMD UK, takes some time to chat to us about his career to date, the role of mobile in today’s media landscape and his work on Peugeot’s haptic technology mobile campaign.

Hi Milton – thanks for catching up with us today. Can you explain what your role is here at OMD UK and how you ended up doing what you do?

I started my career in the industry back in the noughties as a planner/buyer at a small mobile marketing agency in Paris at a time when feature phones were still the norm and Android, now the world’s largest mobile operating system, hadn’t yet been launched. Through a series of very fortunate events, I eventually found myself in London working with big brands and bringing them on-board the mobile advertising journey. A few years after that, OMD UK called and I very happily answered. I joined the agency as Head of Mobile back in 2012 and, after working with internal teams to integrate mobile into the heart of our planning, my role evolved into what it is today when we launched OMD Create last year. As Head of Mobile & Tech Futures within our agency’s OMD Create department, my role consists of a number of moving parts. Working across the range of our clients in an industry where technology evolves quickly, one day can easily vary greatly from the next.

The key part of my role is to identify opportunities and formulate mobile-led marketing strategies for our clients that result in successful executions. This can range from working with our specialist teams to  create a comprehensive plan for a mobile app launch to drive downloads to generating a campaign idea where mobile experience is integrated to seamlessly connect our audience to other media channels and maximise engagement. In addition to advising our clients in regards to mobile marketing best practice fit for their brands, I work very closely with our strategy and production teams at Mobile5 to build everything from dynamic cross-screen creative and responsive websites to mobile apps and branded games for our brands.

Another exciting part of my role involves working closely with Toby Gunton (our Head of Innovation) to identify up and coming start-ups and technology platforms that will allow us to drive tech innovation and help our clients gain competitive advantage. In addition to working closely with our agency’s Innovation Hunters group (a group of tech lovers from across the agency who help us identify, champion, and integrate innovation into the business), I regularly attend tech conferences and events to identify and recruit relevant tech partners that can add value to our clients’ businesses in the near future.

How important is Mobile in today’s media landscape?

Mobile is now ubiquitous. Not only are there more active mobile devices on the planet than people, the smartphone has officially become the most popular device for accessing the internet in the UK, commanding a large share of our time and attention. These relatively small but powerful computing devices that we all carry around with us are always on and always connected. This is of massive importance for marketers, which is evidenced by a rise in UK mobile ad spend of £1 billion from 2014 to 2015.

A little birdy told us you were heavily involved in Peugeot’s recent mobile campaign using haptic technology. How did that idea come about?

The rumours are true. It all started with a meeting I had with Immersion, a California-based tech company who specialise in haptics vibration (the tech that enables the shaking and ‘rumbling’ effect in video game console controllers). They were interested in integrating this tech into mobile video ads for the first time ever in the UK so we kept this in the back of our minds until we could get a hold of the right brief to bring it to life.

Our campaign for Peugeot’s new 308 GTi model provided the perfect opportunity to make automotive and media history. We hardcoded these haptic vibration effects into a video ad where we made smartphones vibrate exclusively when the 308 GTi’s engine accelerated within the advert, allowing our audience to feel the car’s speed and performance in a way they had never experienced in an ad before. The campaign generated great results and was recently nominated for multiple awards at this year’s MOMAs (The Drum’s Marketing On Mobile Awards).

And finally, what’s the best piece of advice you give clients looking to delve into the world of mobile?

Dive in, Learn, Improve! Audiences are already primarily mobile in terms of their digital behaviour so it’s a crucial environment  to reach and engage them. Whilst some marketers are concerned about navigating what can sometimes feel like a complex space, especially when it comes to attribution in a cross-device digital world, it’s only by investing in the platform and learning where/how maximum value can be unlocked for your brand that success can be achieved. This will of course vary by brand and industry but if one prioritises the needs and experience of the end user when implementing mobile as a marketing channel, it’s the best place to start.


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