Globile Phones: The New Voice of Culture?

Summer 2008 • by Jake Aull


Poised to strike a world already wary of the globalization steamroller, is a new tsunami of video advertising and entertainment deliverables. What’s scary is that the channel is already here and omnipresent - welcome to the world of mobile phone video media. According to a recent USA Today article, “…its potential as a medium far outstrips the Web on PCs. Mobile tops 3 billion users worldwide, while PC use is at 1.2 billion, and each of the increasingly Web-enabled digital handsets is a personal connection to an individual (Howard).” This individual connection applies to mobile phone brands as well - Nokia was just recognized as the most-trusted consumer brand in all categories in its second largest market, India (Adkoli). Suddenly, phones are more important than ever before.


Non-Americanization. While video entertainment across the world has predominantly showcased American pop culture, ironically this time, the U.S. falls drastically behind in embracing this unique medium for its own style and capabilities. In fact, mobile video presentations were already featured at this year’s Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival (Howard). “The pace for mobile won't be set in the U.S… It's a global medium that's different from all other channels… Europe and Asia are ahead in mobile social networking and video, and doing mini-websites, content downloads and film trailers (Howard)."


Mass Customs. There is no doubt that the smaller mobile screen presents its challenges for content creators and marketers, but content is already being accessed regardless, “Mobile Internet just passed a billion new cell phones per year (Williams 85).” Likewise, we should expect that current marketing tactics will be attempted for the medium’s new content. One historic approach, geared for Apple’s iPod and now for the iPhone, is the “…’Just for You’ recommendation engine at Apple’s iTunes, which was introduced in 2005 (Schrage 82).” Recommendation engines are considered great examples of modern marketing’s “holy grail of deep customer insight… mass customization... (McKinsey).” Simultaneously, mobile’s potential transcends traditional micromarketing capabilities. “Being both direct and mass is advertising's holy grail. And mobile offers direct access to users wherever they go, including points of purchase… (Howard).”


Driving the Engine Forward. Technologically, recommendation and other new engines demonstrate the growth of “cloud computing,” externally driven applications (Gruman and Knorr). Google, as a prime example, “hopes that [its new app engine, API] will increase developer interest in cloud computing as well as spur a new generation of more powerful browser-based applications (Nichols).” Looking at its popular browser apps such as YouTube, which hosts 38% of all Web video, it is easy to see their importance to the new creative mobile Internet (Hardy and Hessel). The technology is there and strongly advancing.


Pre-Show Entertainment. A crucial question for our collective future is: What cultural representations will dominate this new global entertainment medium? With the U.S. lagging in authorship, can other cultures, or new creative styles, make their global debuts? With such a boundless medium, how regionally specific will the creative be? For critics of American cultural imperialism, the stage is truly set for new voices, images and icons. So let the show begin!


By Jake Aull Summer 2008

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Works Cited


Adkoli, Jayashree. “Nokia Tops India's Brand Equity 'Most Trusted Brands' Survey 2008.” 12 Jun 2008


“Eight business technology trends to watch.” McKinsey Quarterly. 26 Dec 2007 <>.


Gruman, Galen, and Eric Knorr, “What cloud computing really means,” InfoWorld.
7 Apr 2008


Hardy, Quentin, and Evan Hessel. “GooTube.” Forbes 16 Jun. 2008: 50.


Howard, Theresa. “USA lags on cellphones' marketing potential.” USA Today. 18 Jun 2008


Schrage, Michael. “Recommendation Nation.” Technology Review May-Jun 2008: 82.

Nichols, Shaun. “Google Readies App Engine API.” VNUnet. 28 May 2008



Williams, Mark. “The State of the Global Telecosm in 2008.” Technology Review May-Jun 2008: 85.


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