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The Future of Advertising in one Afternoon

19 March 2012

For those of you who missed our annual Future Of Advertising…In One Afternoon at BAFTA, here is a little snippet of what our guest speakers shared and what our delegates got up to.

This year our audience enjoyed brilliant insights from 10 speakers, who jammed the afternoon with a variety of information on advertising, its new formats and how it will evolve in the future. The emergence of broadband and rise of the internet as not only a point of reference but a social, community and identity building tool has spawned new possibilities for advertisers. The session took in a broad variety of insights.

Jeremy Tester from Sky Media shed light on targeted audiences. Advertisers can now adapt campaigns which are sensitive to their audiences demography, location and culture in reaction to the growth of out-of-home media experience in androids and mobile phones; consumers are engaging with content in a variety of social situations; in a park, waiting for a train …etc. 

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Access to consumer data, age, current location and interests is developing new possibilities for adverts to be broadcasted to specific audiences. SkyTV are introducing AdSmart which will automatically run the same brand campaign but split it such that a single woman, for example, will watch the advert tailored for her and a family would be viewing an entirely different advert selling the same thing. For us, working in the advertising industry, this means more content and creative work - having to provide the client with a selection of adverts, promoting the same campaign.

Reflecting on our aim on having a broad range of speakers, Simon Roberts, an anthropologist from Red Associates argued against the common thought that ‘TV is dead’. Looking at TV in a new light, it can be said that TV is now more active and hence increasingly present in our lives. It is no longer hiding in a corner but proudly displayed. Simon also looked at how TV will be serving content based on the knowledge of the household and consumer data - an idea consistent with the Adsmart innovation. The idea that TV is dead IS dead, perhaps best summarises his conclusions.

Matthew Matthew, Creative Director, Digital at DraftFCB clarified the often loosely used term of Gamification. It is a concept that has existed throughout the ages, and only recently have we coined the term. The system of reward has long been used. Real physical companies have begun to extensively use this strategy and apply it to modern man by advertising, selling a product and offering rewards in a virtual gaming world. He provided vivid examples of games that advertisers and how their use of popular online games like Farmville, allows advertisers to build a deeper relationship with customers rather than traditional advertising.

Chloe Grindle, a Creative from McCann London brought great case studies to the talk. They revealed how the new generation of creatives are entrepreneurs too.  They problem-solve for clients by fusing both creativity and business, they approach them with an idea for a product and campaign instead of simply creating an advert from a brief. All this of course due to the birth of new social tools and consumer communities. In this way advertisers and their agencies are utilizing new means of communicating with consumers to forge strong relationships with them.

Dara Nasr, Head of YouTube and Display, Google showed us how professional content is taking over YouTube. The use of video is growing exponentially with the predication that 90% of all new content will be video - good news for the ones making it. With Google and YouTube now partnered, videos appear on Google searches just as prominently as text. Google will be streaming 300 channels some of which are specifically dedicated to brands.

He also showed how in 2010, 8% of content viewed on You Tube was professionally produced content, with most of the rest being User Generated Content of the ‘Charlie bit my finger’ variety, but by 2012, 43% of the content viewed on YouTube is professionally produced.
This shows that the public increasingly want to see professionally produced content, which effectively means TV shows and films have the same potential to advertise around content as TV has traditionally provided.

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Ben Bilboul, CEO, Kamarama told us what he had learned from the IPA and agency trip to Silicon Valley and Hollywood. They had gone to observe how advertisers can best utilise new developments. Bill offered five main conclusions from the trip but actually offered many more thoughts than that: 
Think insights from Google are something we should all be looking at to understand our own businesses and those of our customers.

Info overload means people trust people rather than websites.
 Bill gave the example of http://www.airbnb.com. Sign on via Facebook,  Airbnb recommends accommodation your Facebook friends have recommended. Imagine Tripadvisor with recommendations from people you trust. The growing popularity of Yelp local/social search reflects that. And this can be seen to be increasingly applied for any consumer interests: music, shopping, travel, entertainment..etc

Patrick Collister, Creative Director, Creative Matters, gave us an overview of the key ways in which advertising is changing and, within that, some more new examples to learn from: 
Zinger are bigger than all ad agencies combined. 
90% of all new content will be video and someone has to make it, good news for us. 
Club card points for watching commercials is in beta. 
Brawny academy and Wheat Thins delivered large industrial amounts to consumers households in response to their tweets saying they had run out of the product.
These were two examples of new means of communication being used to good effect by advertisers. This generated fresh advertising and new content that was fast-paced spreading virally due to emotional value.

Matt Elek, MD EMEA, Vice Media Group, offered us his opinions from a perspective of a brand which has embraced new media and successfully 
transformed its business by doing so.
His key conclusions were: Consumers expect constant dialogue. So seasonal campaign for example doesn’t work. 
People want real entertainment not advertising disguised as it and if you provide real entertainment your audience does your job for you by willingly broadcasting it.

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Alex Jenkins, Editor, Contagious Feed, provided a conclusion to an afternoon packed with fascinating learning. Alex gave us some great examples of new ways of engaging consumers, by providing them with something useful and which they actively engage with, such as App tours of Gothenberg by tram. He also told us about the Freedom Project in South Africa, using a live event and video to dramatically make a point about society ignoring domestic violence.

With 90% all online content being video, video-professional video is the future. 
It is important we focus on genuine engagement, meeting needs rather than advertise. We need to concentrate on effect rather than number, reaching out to consumers who emotionally engage with the product rather than simple push the like button.

Although we hosted very different speakers, they had common themes emerging: How the internet is becoming a video medium and how internet video is drawing away from UGC to professionally produced content and the opportunity all these new means to engage with consumers represent to advertisers.

Finally, to advertise successfully, we need to engage with our audience and provide them with content that connects with them, rather than advertise in the traditional sense.

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