Cannes 2015: Facebook's mobile, emerging market push explained

Social network discussed mobile strategy at Cannes Lions.
Social network discussed mobile strategy at Cannes Lions.

The social network giant believes feature phones are "dream phones" when it comes to reaching emerging market consumers

CANNES Facebook aims to accelerate its growth in emerging markets by creating customized advertising formats that are "dream experiences" for mobile.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the Cannes Lions Festival, Mark D’Arcy, Facebook’s chief creative officer said that while the company focuses on the latest technology, it 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 phones, 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. As such, in March, Facebook unveiled its Creative Accelerator program, designed to help brands become more effective with their advertising in high-growth markets. The program has been rolled out in several markets, including India, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa and Kenya, working with brands such as Coca-Cola, Nestle and Durex.

Storytelling and storyselling

D’Arcy sees a huge split 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. 

This article first appeared on

Cannes Lions 2015 Coverage

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