Over the last few years, the advertising, technology and media sectors have all scrambled to adopt a strategy they call “mobile-first”.

But that is a device-centric strategy in a world that many now see becoming increasingly device-agnostic, as more people experience more content across a range of gadgets and screens.

For Harsh Kapadia, the group director of WPP creative agency VML, all that turbulence and creative opportunity comes back to what has been the core tenet of the creative agency business for decades.

“Until a few years ago it was all digital first, it was all social first and now it’s becoming mobile first,” Kapadia says in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“I think, at the end of the day, it is still about the idea – ideas should always come first.”

For the evidence, look at one of the ways in which Kapadia’s VML has exploited the unique properties of mobile.

In a campaign for a Motorola Droid phone with a shatter-proof screen, VML cooked up a challenge for audiences – drop their existing handset on the floor, and they could unlock an exclusive collection of clothing to purchase online.

It was an idea that could not have been realized were it not for the accelerometers now built in to most modern handsets, allowing VML to test whether consumers were brave enough to test their existing phone against the claims made by Motorola.

“I couldn’t do that with a TV spot,” Kapadia explains to Beet.TV.

Similarly, VML built Quest to Legoland, a smartphone game for backseat kids, en route to the theme park, to test themselves with quizzes about real-life landmarks along the journey to the gate – something which depended on mobile GPS locators, and which likely kept the sanity of more than a few parents along the way.

Key, for Kapadia, to creating compelling mobile experiences for brands is staying ahead of the curve and forging partnerships with the platforms that run the show.

“I, for one, look very closely with our global creative technologist to make sure we’re constantly pushing the boundaries,” he explains. “If something is expected to hit four months from now, six months from now, how can we try and get ahead of it today? What if you mix two technologies, how can that come up with something new?

“Technology never comes first. Technology always helps the idea to come to life. If you don’t have a core idea, you don’t have anything to do with the technology.”

This Beet.TV series, presented by Facebook and WPP, is titled Creativity in a Mobile First World. Please find more videos from the series here.

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