Mobile messaging and advertising company Affle and Japanese mobile advertising firm, D2 Communications have formed a mobile marketing joint venture in the Indian market called ad2c. ad2c, at launch has acquired Mobimasta, a Gurgaon based specialist mobile marketing agency founded in November 2009 by Anurag Singh, Viraj Singh and Alok Pabalkar. Anurag Singh is now the COO of ad2c, while Madan Sanglikar, previously a Principal Partner at Mindshare India leading its digital team, has joined ad2c as its CEO. MobiMasta had clients such as Samsung, Yahoo, Coca Cola, Reebok, Adidas and NDTV.

Ad2c has a holding company in Singapore, in which Affle and D2 Communications has ownership. The India venture has offices in Delhi and Mumbai, is planning to launch an office in Bangalore, and in Indonesia.

D2 Communications, a subsidiary of NTT DOCOMO in a JV with Dentsu, had invested around Rs 50 crore in Affle in October last year.  D2 Communications claims around 25% of the mobile advertising market in Japan, and plan, according to Anuj Khanna Sohum, Chairman of the Affle group, is to bring thousands of case studies from D2 to India. According to Sohum, mobile marketing in India is currently just a Rs 150 crore market. The venture will also look to bring data, research and insights into the Indian market, which it currently lacks, Anurag Singh added.

Advertisers Perspective

CVL Srinivas, Chairman of SMG India pointed towards a few challenges that Mobile marketing faces in India:

– The ecosystem is far too complex: too many players offering too many things and often not at scale. The ecosystem needs to be simplified

– Too many standards, devices and platforms, and a creative agency used to doing a 30 second ad and a front page ad finds it complex

– Lack of adequate knowledge on the side of advertisers.

– Even digital advertising is seen as a separate function. Until and unless it gets integrated into the mainstream, it will not be the centre of the media plan.

Responding to MediaNama’s question on whether the need to grow mobile advertising will push the medium down the same path as digital advertising – highly metrics and performance driven, Srinivas said “We need a relook at the metrics to measure the effectiveness of advertising. We’ve only looked at exposure led metrics so far, and agencies need to look at engagement led metrics, which is going to make evaluatng the mobile medium different.

On whether we’ll be in a situation where brands will need to use TV to drive engagement led mobile advertising, Srinivas felt that brands will have to look at advertising from a medium neutral manner, and it won’t be a case of either/or.

Updates: corrected the name of the company to ad2c. Apologies for the error.

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