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Creativity Matters

Thank you creativity.

It’s the clear theme of the 2016 Cannes Lions Festival. And it’s also what you can’t help but feel when you walk inside the Palais or stroll down the Croisette.

No one deserves that thanks more than Spotify’s Daniel who personifies creativity. His passion for innovation has helped Spotify become one of the world’s largest streaming platforms and he is not stopping there.

Video and data are two of the most prominent trends at Cannes – both of which Ek was quick to point out Spotify has in abundance and will look for innovative ways to good use. Spotify’s deep insights into who is listening to what, when and where has impacted every facet of the music business. Bands like Metallica are analyzing what songs are most listened to in each city on their tour to determine what their playlist will be for that particular show.

Creativity has also found its way into the American presidential race. Creativity on the Stump, a panel that featured PR players and writers from Politico, looked at the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In a “one-minute” news cycle, Trump’s unorthodox but authentic approach, especially on Twitter, is rewriting political campaigns. Not lost though was Sander’s more traditional TV spot “America.” Borrowing its soundtrack from Simon and Garfunkel, the comparably long (.60) spot demonstrates that even in an age of social media, the power of creative television advertising is very much alive and well. That ad notwithstanding, Politico’s editor in chief, John Harris, did proclaim that Donald Trump might be a better marketer than most everyone in Cannes.

While creativity is essential to winning Lions it’s vital to attracting and winning new business. Flanking the Palais are rows of cabanas where the likes of tech startup Luma hand out cans of oxygen to passersby and host clients and prospects for meetings looking out towards the Mediterranean.  Beyond the Palais are rows of yachts where agencies and their partners like SteelHouse and the Daily Mail have taken up residence for the week hosting clients. On land, SteelHouse’s CEO Mark Douglas looks to discuss how technology is making creativity more intelligent. He’ll be speaking alongside Jose Molla, Founder & co-chief creative officer at The Community and Peter Horst, Chief Marketing Officer for The Hershey Company. Global media agency, MEC has taken imaginative marketing to a whole new level with their welcoming presence at the Carlton Hotel. Throughout the week, MEC plays host to a number of sessions including Breaking the Band which looks at how MEC Wavemaker, its content specialist arm, helped uncover an aspiring new brand.

Other themes throughout the week remain centered on technology, the blurred lines between agencies and brands and the merits of the work being shown in the Palais. Cannes celebrates all the rapid fire changes in our industry, but holds paramount the one unchanging element that separates the best work from the ad clutter: creativity. That will never change.

The Holy Grail of Social Media: Creating Relevant Content in Real Time

The curious thing about social media marketing is that there is no right way to do things. There’s no wrong way, either. It’s still very much the Wild West – with no Sheriff in sight.

I wrote earlier this year about the Oreo “Dunk in the Dark” tweet as the most-talked-about branding execution of the Super Bowl. This one tweet in fact amplified the conversation around “Real-Time Social Marketing” – with nearly every conference of the year including some panel discussion about the hot topic.

However, real time marketing isn’t new; we’ve just never had the tools to make it as easy as it is now. If anything, Disney recognized the power of original, brilliant real-time marketing during major events – including the Super Bowl – before social media existed. For instance, the “I’m going to Disney World!” spots, which would air immediately following national sports championships with in-game footage and jubilant cry, represents a simpler era in real time marketing. 

Times have changed, and it’s now much simpler and less expensive to create content in real time that can be buzz worthy. Yet, as brands try to insert themselves into the conversation of non-branded events, one has to ask if they should. Everything from the birth of Prince George, to the anniversary of September 11, to the finale of Breaking Bad sees brands trying to catch the lightning-in-a-bottle effect that Oreo captured in February. Such activity begs the question though: What is the exact relevance?

I’m not suggesting brands should stop, because it’s well known they won’t. Brands must, however, think about what makes sense for what it already stands for as well as its target demographic. Like PR, there is a time and place to be part of the conversation, but it shouldn’t be for every single event. For instance, Chips Ahoy tweeting about The Walking Dead just doesn’t fit in.

What might make more sense is for Hyundai, which is a sponsor for The Walking Dead, to tweet about its car and marketing campaign tied to the show. While Chips Ahoy is trying to be a part of the buzz without being an official sponsor, it doesn’t come across as an authentic, unique and relevant integration. Instead it feels like a brand forcing itself on you and, in some circumstances, embarrassing themselves.

At the end of the day, the Holy Grail of digital, social, and really all marketing/PR initiatives is to achieve the “viral” recognition – for the right reasons. So very few achieve it, and more brands achieve it for the wrong reasons.  While that doesn’t mean not to try, it needs to be an acceptance of all the varying factors that play into viral success – many of which are completely out of your control. There is no one formula for success (or failure) but with a little bit of luck, you might just pull off something amazing.  

Cannes: The World’s Advertising Fair

MediaPost’s Editor at Large Barbara Lippert shares her thoughts on how this year’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity has evolved. Barbara describes how she has witnessed this festival transform from a small scale creative gathering into the “world’s fair for advertising”, aggregating clients, media people, and digerati from all over the globe. 

Tech Talk: News Consumption in a Twitter, Facebook World

Where do you get your news? According to the recently released Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s State of the New Media in 2012 report, not Facebook or Twitter. While Facebook has made a concerted effort to expand its relationship with journalists and new organizations through Social Reader and Twitter has always been seen as a mini “newsfeed,” the numbers tell a different story.

The study determined that only 9% of digital news consumers regularly get their news from these social networks while 36% of people go directly to the publication’s website, 32% use search engines to get news and 29% use a news organizer site or app. These numbers rise to 52% when you look at people who “sometimes” get news from Facebook and Twitter – but that’s still drastically lower than the 92% who sometimes go directly to news sites and the 85% that use search.

Digging deeper into Pew’s State of the News Media, we learn that for the users who do get news from social channels, Facebook and Twitter function differently. On Facebook, for example, 70% of the news people read were from family, 13% from news organizations and 10% from non-news organizations that suggested a story to read. On the other hand, people on Twitter get 27% of news from organizations, 18% from non-news organizations and only 36% from family and friends.

While we had a bit of sticker shock at how low these numbers were, there is no denying that Facebook and Twitter should still be a part of your news distribution strategy. You just have to ensure that you’re using the channels to your advantage and sharing the news in a way that your audiences will take notice. As we shared last year, when you’re creating content for your social community you have to play to specific social audiences and should speak with an authentic voice, sharing relevant news and unique visuals to tell your brand’s story. Take the time to study how your audiences react to different posts and types of news. Experiment with continued personalization, visuals and editorializing of content to see how it boosts engagement across specific channels, then give them more of what works.

In time, we predict that there will continue to be an increase in the consumption of news from news sources across social media communities. But it’s clearly not there yet. So in the meantime, remember the power of personal connections. Don’t be afraid to ask for action from friends, family, colleagues and industry connections to spread the news and involve them in your company’s story.

CES 2012 – Where’s the Beef?

by Shaun Quigley, mobile practice director, Brunner

A Year of “incremental improvement?”

LAS VEGAS — With Apple strikingly absent from this year’s CES, and with Steve Ballmer making Microsoft’s swan song at the world’s largest tradeshow, I had tempered expectations as I touched down in Vegas.  And the show is delivering on that expectation: small, incremental improvements to things like TV and tablets.

Nevertheless, every tradeshow has a few golden nuggets. Here’s what we uncovered opening day.

App of the Day: EBay’s AWESOME augmented reality fashion app helps shoppers try on the product before they hit the store. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmYZ1YImWIw

Content Consumption and Co-viewing.  People are watching more TV than ever before. That consumption is the result of co-viewing (or multi-screen viewing) on tablets, smartphones and an increasing number of “ultrabook” options.

CES 2012 LG Cinema 3D Smart TV

Smart TV. Executives from LG and Best Buy acknowledged that 40% of TVs being sold in stores today are connected, with projections of 90% by 2015.  The smarter the TV, the more social the viewing experience. The more social the viewing experience, the more integration points for brands.

Communications Planning. Demographics are out. Contextual relevance is in.  Also, media flowcharts are killing digital’s ability to make smarter, faster connections with consumers. (Why? Because it’s a line item that’s easy to cross off!).  Industry must find a better way to present media plans.

Mobile Strategy.  Business goals are different when your consumer is in the kitchen versus the store. Location awareness must factor into the strategy.

3D Everything. Last year there were just a handful of 3D enabled TVs on the showroom floor. Today there are hundreds.  Implication for brands:  how can your product experience reach out and touch someone?

Shaun Quigley is the mobile practice director for Brunner, and lead’s the agency’s innovation incubator, BHiveLab. Follow him @Squigster

Carbone Smolan’s Paul Pierson Talks Mobile and Canon at PDN PhotoPlus Expo

Last Friday, Carbone Smolan Agency’s Partner and Design Director Paul Pierson took a moment to talk with DGC during PDN’s PhotoPlus Conference and Expo. He was onsite to discuss the role mobile technology is playing in the photography industry, touching on everything from the best apps on the market to the way brands can create magic with mobile innovation. In addition, he unveiled the agency’s latest initiative – Canon Idea Mine – an app developed for Canon and the Canon Digital Learning Center set to help inspire creativity with photographers (and fill an app need in the sector) before the holidays.

Take a look and let us know how mobile technology is transforming your industry.

TV On The Go: Coming To A Mobile Device Near You in 2012

It happens to all of us. We’re on our way out the door to work and Matt Lauer announces a Breaking News report “coming up next.” We’re on a business trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma when the Giants are playing the Jets. We’re on a road trip with the kids and are one of those families without TV’s in the headrests.

These days, consumers have a device for everything. So why is it that they don’t have a devise for receiving high-quality, live TV, on the go?

At this year’s Advertising Week, Abby Auerbach, EVP & CMO of TVB moderated a panel which featured some of the top names in Mobile Digital Television including; Erik Moreno, SVP Corp Development, Fox Networks Group; Co-GM, Mobile Content Venture, Anne Schelle, Executive Director, Open Mobile Video Coalition and Jeff Minsky, Director Emerging Media, OMD Ignition Factory.

Turns out Mobile Digital Television, via the Dyle app, is poised to make its first major consumer push next year- offering consumers in 32 cities nationwide free, over the air TV directly to their tablets and mobile devices.

So what does this mean for advertisers and marketers? Extended reach and frequency – MDTV allows for an extension of the viewing day- on average consumers increased their daily live TV viewing by 38%.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Daytime is the new primetime when it comes to MDTV-  Consumers loved watching different types of programming during the day, especially local news
  • Consumers were watching live TV at new and different locations – at work during their lunch break, at idle moments waiting on line at the checkout or the doctor’s office
  • Moms enjoyed passing a mobile phone or tablet to kids en route to school or running errands
  • Consumers were staying in-tune with breaking news and weather

Watch Abby Auerbach offer a recap of the panel here.

Insights From TargetCast’s 2011 Advertising Week Panel “Phoenix Rising”

In this video interview with DGC, Steve Farella, co-founder and President, TargetCast tcm, discusses how technology is changing foundational media following TargetCast’s 2011 Advertising Week Panel “Phoenix Rising.”  In this annual  event, TargetCast execs talk to media insiders from companies like the NY Times, Hulu, and Emmis about how advertisers are using new technology to reach consumers.

Steve, whose panel focused on radio, shared the following takeaways: broadcast radio is healthy —  the revenue is there and people are listening —  and digital platforms like Pandora and iheartradio continue to enhance radio as an effective medium for advertisers.

A theme running through TargetCast’s three discussions on print, radio and video is that technology is increasing audiences overall — but the verdict is still out on how to marry scale and and targetability for some emerging technologies.

Audrey Siegel, co-founder and President of TargetCast tcm, also shared key insights from her discussion on the impact of technology on print media at “Phoenix Rising.”

Her key takeaways: content drives consumption and technology facilitates it, and there is good reason to be optimistic about the print business. Though the industry has faced challenges driven by advertising usage, readership is consistently strong, and tablet technology will only enhance that.

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