TBWA\CHIAT\DAY’s Vaino Leskinen on Storytelling in Mobile Advertising


Vaino Leskinen’s career in mobile spans 16 years, four continents and numerous industry firsts. He created his first mobile campaign in 1998, first mobile marketing platform in 2000, first mobile app in 2002 and a fully functioning mobile banking system in 2005. Last year, Vaino’s teams took home a ton of advertising awards for Adidas Windowshopping and McDonald’s Angry Birds campaigns. Currently based in Los Angeles, Vaino serves as the Global Director of Mobile at TBWA\CHIAT\DAY. Mobile Media Summit CEO/Founder Paran Johar was able to chat with Vaino before his anticipated July 28 panel at Mobile Media Summit Chicago.
Paran: Welcome back to our favorite Finn, Vaino Leskinen. Vaino, Finland is obviously a global center of excellence in mobile. As you are now working in LA, what can you tell us about the differences in approach to mobile marketing in hyper-connected Finland from North America? What have you seen there that we will see here soon?

Vaino:Thank you for inviting me back. It is always a pleasure.

Storytelling has always been and continues to be a challenge for brands in mobile. Stories are the way we make sense of our world. For any brand, stories are also the strongest way to form an emotional connection with its audience. However, scalable mobile ad formats like banners and interstitials have been fairly simple and sometimes downright boring. Pioneers, such as Rovio and Supercell, followed by tens of game studios, have trail-blazed mobile as a narrative technology. Whether it’s been the actual mobile games, fresh in-game advertising formats, or video ads for user acquisition, Finnish studios have been at the forefront of storytelling in mobile for over a decade.
Paran: In Chicago you will join a panel on doing social and mobile correctly. Can you give us a preview of your discussion? Where do we start to make social work on mobile?
Vaino:I think all the usual suspects are important, such as capturing the data and listening. But when the right moment for engagement occurs, the brand needs to have something to say. It needs to be culturally relevant and it needs to have a clear point of view.
Paran: We hear so many organizations say they are mobile first, but how many are actually living up to that statement? How do you know when you are truly mobile first?
Vaino: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I do not believe a brand or its agency should be mobile first. I don’t believe TV or Virtual Reality should come first either.

You guessed it – brands should be story-led.

There are a few simple questions you can use to see if the way you tell your stories is mobile proof. (1) have you built an insight of a mobile moment where your brand’s story has natural attention? (2) Have you figured out a way your audience can turn into users of your story? (3) How can they immerse and engage themselves and how can they play your story? (4) Does your brand’s presence in mobile feel authentic and magical to the user? (5) Are you capturing the analytics that help you improve and improve again?
Paran: Finally, what changes and new developments in mobile will we be talking about next year at Mobile Media Summit Chicago in 2016?
Vaino: We’ll be focusing on the topic “How to advertise in a zero-interface environment”.