Byravee Iyer
Jun 24, 2015

Cannes: Facebook's mobile, emerging market push explained

CANNES - Facebook is looking to reach emerging markets in a fresh way, and the company is focused on building advertising formats to demonstrate just that through its in-house Creative Shop.

Mark D'Arcy explaining Facebook's approach to creativity
Mark D'Arcy explaining Facebook's approach to creativity

The company, which is currently developing new ad formats for mobile devices, stressed that the phone will be the central canvas for all its advertising strategy.

Speaking at press conference on the sidelines of the Cannes Lions Festival, Mark D’Arcy, Facebook’s chief creative officer said that although a lot of what the company looks at is latest technology, the team is also heavily invested in feature phones, which remain dominant in emerging markets. “There’s a huge number of people with limited bandwidth and we have believe that they shouldn’t be limited in the way they are connected to brands,” D’Arcy said.

He added that the company has transformed the way it talks about feature-phone consumers, referring to them as 'dream phones' instead. “Advertising on a dream phone should be a dream experience, and these consumers deserve the world’s best experience,” he said.

D’Arcy emphasised the need for brands to customise their advertising for different markets. In line with that, in March, Facebook unveiled a new program designed to help brands become more effective with their advertising in high-growth markets. The Creative Accelerator program has been rolled out in several markets including India, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa and Kenya and is working with brands including Coca-Cola, Nestle and Durex.

Facebook’s Creative Shop began operations in Singapore last year, and the social network hired former Ogilvy executive Riley Riley to lead creative output in the region. At the time, Riley told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the accelerator program was largely in response to the “staggering rates” that consumers are coming online, mostly on mobile devices. Riley added that in APAC, Facebook was currently focusing on India and Indonesia with the accelerator program.

Storytelling and storyselling

D’Arcy sees a huge bifurcation between performance marketers and brand marketers and urged companies to bridge the marketing void. “We see an extraordinary connection to be made between these two worlds both organizationally and for measurement. Don’t discriminate between brand marketing and direct marketing.”

Commenting about video and mobile, Facebook’s chief creative officer said that people should be the starting point. “Who are we building this for and what reward are we offering them?" he asked. "We think they deserve an experience relevant and tailored to them.” 

His other advice included hiring celebrities with a strong connection to the brand or product and using movement within the canvas to tell a complete story. Don't bury a piece of branding, showcase it upfront, he added. 


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