BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Looking south over the Los Angeles landscape from a balcony adjoining his top-floor suite, Jamie Foxx says he has some big plans for mobile. It’s hard not to take him at his word, especially considering the crowd of mobile marketing leaders that were hanging around his press room the day before his keynote at the Mobile Marketing Forum. After getting his start in comedy in the early ‘90s — think back to LaWanda from his “In Living Color” days — Foxx has gone on to become the quintessential superstar.
“I have an idea that is absolutely mind blowing, but I’m afraid to say it,” Foxx said. The Academy Award-winning actor and Grammy Award-winning singer has quietly started his own company to develop content and hopefully spark some new ideas for mobile, but he’s saving the fun for later and not getting into many details quite publicly yet. “It is going to be revolutionary. It seriously is,” he said. For example, “you can hit an app and everything that I have can come up from radio to television to commentary to the people I touch as far as different entertainers, different political figures — it’s a one-stop shop. I’m pretty comfortable that with all that we have to offer, someone is going to say ‘wow, I dig this.’” As he travels around the world, Foxx carries cameras with him and shoots whatever strikes his interest along the way, oftentimes sparking conversations with people on the street. “I got this thing now where I just jump out of my car with a camera and just start talking to someone and I’ll ask them a couple things,” he said. “When you hit that mobile thing you’ll be able to see, for one, something that’s very funny that happens organically on the street and then get a chance to see what the world thinks.” Whereas mobile is still very much a silo in the established entertainment business, it takes on a sense of immediacy for Foxx. “Everything that we do that’s what we’re thinking about,” he said. The importance of staying connected with fans, especially on their mobile phones, has never been greater and Foxx is thinking about new ways to keep engaged. “If you don’t get connected, you know, you really will be lost. A lot of the entertainers that were my peers — it’s not about them anymore — it’s about how quickly can I get it and what the idea is. I mean, the day of the big star, the big celebrity, it’s diminished. If you don’t do your due diligence and let people know what you’re doing you’ll be lost,” he said. While entertaining might be Foxx’s strong suit, he also wants to serve as a form of encouragement and give back wherever he can. “It’s not just about us trying to get rich off whatever we’re doing, but really give an opportunity to give back and since you sit with that mobile device all the time it’s going to be fantastic,” he said. “We’re so connected to our phone that when you get a great message it sort of uplifts your day,” he said. “What we want to do is connect the whole world… Say I’m sitting next to George Clooney, say I’m sitting with the President of the United States — ‘what would you like to say to all these millions of people?’ — and boom, we hit it. And by having that amount of people, you’re able to give them information.”