The ForwardPMX Advertising Week New York Roundup: Part 1

October 18, 2019

AI Identity Crises, CTV Measurement Woes & Empathetic Approaches to Brand Messaging

Advertising Week is truly the Super Bowl of the advertising industry – it packs pomp, circumstance and celebrity into four days of cutting-edge and thought-provoking industry panels. I think we can all agree, thought provoking from many angles…

This year, ForwardPMX teams across a variety of agency functions divided and conquered, gathering as much insight as possible from the event. From speakers like comedian and talk show host Trevor Noah, to data scientists from Twitter, to top brand marketers, Advertising Week presented an exciting mix of topics, ideas and debates. Some of the themes felt throughout the week were: the changing Connected TV landscape, data and privacy regulations, the power and possibilities of AI, and the changes that Gen Z will bring to the world. Broken down into two parts, our team shares some of their own top takeaways from the event.

Part 1 Advertising Week NYC Recap: 

Marisa Braca, Associate Director, Paid Digital Media

“During the session “The State of AI”, the conversation around where artificial intelligence is going and how it will affect marketers’ jobs was a huge topic. Some of the great questions to consider for how to make an effective system are: What do we feed the machine? Who feeds the machine? And, who is checking it? These points were made to prove that without diversification in our systems, they do not run properly. The fact is that a computer can learn much faster than a human can, so when it comes to unbiased decision making, a computer can absorb behavior much faster than humans. This being said, the amount of data that a computer can now incorporate is so much larger now than it ever was, that our jobs as marketers are not diminishing but increasing due to the amount of available information there now is to review. The data only helps inform our creativity, it does not create it. So, because of this, we need a variety of people to ask the right questions, to challenge and to adapt our programs.”

“In the “Omni Customer is the new Omni Channel” session, the big conversation was around the consumer. The fact is that consumers see online and offline brands as one, so it should feel that way at all touchpoints. If a brand is not the most convenient in all aspects of their business, they will lose the sale. With so many more choices, the brand needs to do everything it can to make it an easy choice for their products.”

Tiah Jones, Senior Manager, Marketing & Business Development Support

“One key message from the “Wired Brand Storytellers” panel was that, ‘Consistency revolves around the idea of the brand message.’ Figuring out what any brand’s message is, involves having an empathetic and data-driven understanding of how you want to make your customers feel. This reminds me of our agency’s recent merge/rebrand, where we define our core values around ‘People, Process and Tech’. Brand identity is where emotion meets science, and we have to keep that top of mind even as an agency, as it’s our job to tell our brand story and why it matters as in-depth as possible. This comes from knowing our purpose as ForwardPMX and constantly building upon it.”

Kaitlyn Schembri, Marketing Manager

“Dr. Laurie Santos, Professor at Yale University, gave this advice to advertisers in her session with Pinterest: ‘Find campaigns that tap into people’s values.’ Science suggests people don’t get that much out of a good (or product) itself, but rather, the identity that good brings them. So, use ad campaigns to remind them to savor it. Allowing people to take time to enjoy the things they purchase increases brand loyalty.”

“‘Being a fan has intensified over the last few years,’ said Lisa Cowie, Senior Manager of Research at Twitter. Her team’s analysis of Twitter, which included mining the top 3000 hashtags for trends, found that fandom in general has increased, with more ways than ever before to connect people. A signal of this is that they found people are using the word “stan” in everyday language, and usage of it has quadrupled over the last few years.”

“There was an overall trend in recognizing mental health, and the advertising industry’s responsibility to address it, felt throughout Advertising Week. Pinterest CMO, Andréa Mallard, spoke about the importance of integrating compassionate search into the platform. Compassionate search is offering a user a ‘dose of comfort’ through things such as guided meditation, when they search for things like anxiety or depression. Next, Twitter research found that conversations about mental health and wellbeing are now double that of physical health, which was on top in 2016. They also have seen a rise in what they call ‘DIY Spirituality’ – with people promoting the state of being zen, and the concept of good and bad energy. Also, Trevor Noah spoke about the level of responsibility people working in the tech industry need to take: ‘You have to think about how the mind of the consumer will be affected when you create a platform. And every platform has to do that in a genuine way. Toxicity can flare and grow on different platforms.’”

Liz Hunter, Associate Director, Account Management

“Throughout Advertising Week for the Connected TV (CTV) space, I noticed the main theme is that the ad industry is working hard to come up with measurement solutions and capabilities for CTV and OTT. Many advertisers are still reluctant to move budgets into the CTV/OTT space due to measurement limitations, but every day there are more and more solutions being innovated to make the space more measurable, and increase advertiser confidence in the performance capabilities of Connected TV.”

D’Amber Allen, Associate Manager, Account Management

“My favorite session was Saturday Morning and P&G’s “Let’s Talk about Bias, Let’s Talk About ‘The Look’”. Saturday Morning is an organization that helps build awareness, promote change and shift the overall perception that the lives of black men and women are in some way not as important as others. They partnered with P&G to produce a piece titled The Look, in hopes of bringing awareness to the conscious and subconscious bias that black men face every day through ‘The Look’. P&G has shown themselves to be bold and brave in a world where controversial conversations sometimes get brushed under the rug and the majority of commercials aim for what’s ‘safe’ versus what’s bold.”

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our roundup early next week!

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