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Ad Age Digital Day Two: Media, Branded Content, Talent

Ad Age Digital’s second day held a heavy focus on the evolution of media. Executives from Bloomberg Media, Daily Mail, HBO, and Nickelodeon were all part of several discussions that delved deep into their business and how brands intersect in this new era of branded content in a “post-digital” world.

Jon Steinberg, CEO of Daily Mail North America and formerly of BuzzFeed fame, told AdAge’s Michael Sebastian challenged creative agencies to step up to the plate. “I don’t want to be a creative agency, but the media agencies and brands come to us and want us to come up with the idea,” said Steinberg. “I’m still waiting for the creative agencies to jump in, and there is always going to be that opportunity for them.”

Sabrina Caluori, VP of Social and Digital at HBO, continued the Fail Forward series, this time talking about how HBO attempted to bring the second screen experience to its consumers in 2013 with HBO Smart Glass, but instead frustrated consumers by distracting from their top tier television shows, which is the main draw for the premium subscription service. Such humbling admission from a media company which is seemingly at the top of its game shows how grounded and self-aware one must be to stay ahead.

Later in the afternoon Andrew Benett, Global CEO of Havas Worldwide took the stage for a fireside chat with Ad Age’s Nat Ives. Continuing the theme of marketing in today’s “post-digital world,” Benett said this shift can be seen right down to the different workspaces seen today vs. in the 1980s, with 90% of the industry now shifting to an open floor plan model, which he says contributes to “always-on collaboration.” To that end, people and talent was a big focus of the talk, and Benett says the questions he gets most in big RFPs aren’t about award-winning work or strategy – it’s about culture and honing talent. “What do we do for internal people initiatives? How do you grow and manage talent?”

AdAge Digital Day One: Viewability, Humanity, #failing

 The 9th Ad Age Digital Conference kicked off today in New York with a packed first day lineup. Some of the hot topics addressed today included viewability, humanity, and failing.

The morning’s first discussion between Rob Norman, Global Chief Digital officer at GroupM and Lisa Valentino, SVP, Digital Sales at Conde Nast, surprised some in the audience when the two executives vaguely discussed the terms of a recent deal where Conde Nast agreed to only charge GroupM’s clients for ads that were guaranteed to be viewed by consumers. While 100% viewability is never a guarantee, the two partners stressed that they reached an acceptable & agreed upon viewability level for their ad units.

The afternoon panel “The Story Makers” talked about the evolution of storytelling to storymaking – where consumers work with brands to create the story. Hirschhorn stated that it can be much less risky for brands to enter stories already being told rather than create one of their own.  Anne Lewnes, SVP and CMO of Adobe, showed an inspiring video celebrating Adobe Photoshop’s 25 year anniversary wholly created with user-generated imagery and exhorts viewers to “Dream On.”

We loved the “Fail Fast Forward” series of 10 minute vignettes, that highlighted a “fail” moment, the learning, and what was implemented to “fix” things. Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP, Advertising, New York Times, led with the story of a 161-year old article in the Times about Solomon Northup, aligned with the release of Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, and a subsequent Gawker piece entitled “This Is the 161-Year-Old New York Times Article About 12 Years a Slave  that performed way, way better than the Times piece about the original article.

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The three actions the Times took? One was to “defy the gravity of tradition”, by embracing the notion that finding the audience is just as important as the story itself — Alexandra MacCallum was recently appointed to audience development and there is now a “masthead level” or leadership-level focus on finding the right audience. Two was to “Invent new ways to create value” which spurred the creation of T-Brand Studio and the Times’ entrance into the branded content biz, continuing striving to create content that makes people feel things, regardless of whether it is paid or not. Number 3. is to “never lose sight of what got us there in the first place” summed up with two simple words: Quality. Storytelling.

Our favorite quotable from the “Moving at the Speed of Culture” interview with Beats by Dre’s Omar Johnson: Jimmy Iovine said to me one day “What’s a SWAT? Your job is to sell headphones, right?” We had to work at a speed that most brands don’t have to. And they live it every day – Beats agency, R/GA, has to present every idea on one slide. Love this challenge!

Atlas’ Jennifer Kattula wrapped the day eloquently with “Five Things Marketers Ought to Know,” challenging us to move on from the Four Ps from Philip Kotler’s 1967 book Marketing Management, to the 4 Cs…. from Product to Choice, Price to Convenience, Place to Cross-Device, and Promotion to Creative Sequencing. Some compelling stats within, including touting the cookie’s demise and how people-based marketing is more effective for reaching the right people at the right time – something that digital marketers have a responsibility to aim higher on.

DGC Live from Cannes: Execs Weigh in on State of the Industry

The 2013 Cannes Lions Festival has officially come and gone but the thoughts and musings have returned stateside, leaving us inspired and energized.

We asked some of the industry’s top execs their thoughts about this year’s Cannes; what they learned, where they think the industry is headed, and how to make it even better.

Ignacio Oreamuno, Executive Director of the Art Directors’ Club, on what he’s seeing that’s new and different from other Cannes Festivals.

Katie Kempner, Executive Director, Global Communications, at CP+B, talks about gender equality within the advertising industry.

Chuck Porter, Chairman of CP+B, announces his “plans” for “Cannes 2,” a less crowded version of Cannes, taking place at his house in Boulder, starting in 2014.

Sam DiGennaro, CEO and founder of DiGennaro Communications, discusses how agencies, companies, and Cannes can improve the presentation, publicity and packaging of seminars next year by using hashtags, video, and more.

Gareth Kay, Chief Strategy Officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, talks about new ways to think about advertising and how to improve next year’s festival.

Charles Courtier, Global CEO of MEC, champions MEC’s Momentum study and why it’s an imperative tool for brand-marketing strategies.

Marla Kaplowitz, CEO of MEC North America, shares details of Momentum, a proprietary MEC study to help marketers get more efficient and targeted with their media plans.

Amanda Morgan McAllister, Director of Microsoft Advertising, thinks Cannes is back with a vengeance thanks to start ups and established companies pushing beyond traditional boundaries.

Matt Britton, CRO of MRY, on why Cannes is so special for the industry, particularly within the digital and social community.

Matt Rednor, Chief Innovation Officer at MRY, talks about what he’s looking forward to at his first Cannes Festival of Creativity.

Shane Ginsberg, SVP of Corporate Development at Organic, highlights what is new and different this year at Cannes.

Matt Batten, Chief Creative Officer of Wunderman Group UK, live from Wunderman’s “3rd Space,” on the vision that shaped it and how it came together.

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