While working at Liftoff as a Senior Creative Strategist, my main duty was to help clients tailor their ads to the mobile programmatic landscape. Within this landscape, potential users are shown these targeted ads while already on their phones playing games or browsing in their favorite apps.
These ads interrupt the user's desired experience and are quickly dismissed or begrudgingly sat through. Designing for a captive audience can be brutal, unless you get to the point and show them something worthwhile.
Oftentimes, I would receive assets from clients that were specifically designed for social or broadcast tv audiences who usually have more time to ruminate on the ad's message. Here's an example from Dropbox:
The video above highlights many aspects of the Dropbox app, but not enough time and space is given to explore any individual feature that might hook a potential user to install the app. The lack of focus makes it easy to just ignore the whole thing.
The first step was to narrow it down to just one feature to focus the video on. At the time, Dropbox was specifically interested in highlighting the ease of sharing files through mobile chat and text so I went with that.
Through many creative A/B tests at Liftoff, we found that showing an actual real-life user flow of an app was more successful than flashy imagery or flowery language, so the next step was to form a narrative that took place within the framing of a mobile phone and within the Dropbox app itself.
I had a brainstorm session with other strategists and came up with a handful of real-life situations that could work and ultimately decided on the concept of sharing a birthday video that was requested through a chat thread. This concept was both highly personal and common to the potential audience.
With the core idea and story in place, I worked with the video team to produce this asset which was much better suited towards the programmatic audience: