Thoughts 09.05.13

The Future of Advertising … in one afternoon

Yesterday a couple of us popped along to ‘The Future of Advertising…In One Afternoon’ which was pretty much what it says on the tin. Put on by the APA, the IPA, and The Marketing Society, it was a really insightful glimpse into the role that new technologies can play in society and how our approach to these new technologies could shape how successfully brands talk to consumers. With speakers from Twitter, ITV and Nexus amongst others, the talks covered strategy, mobile, social media, the relationship between data and moving image, real time animation, television, internet television, and the list goes on. With such a vast array of well-informed speakers bringing a variety of ideas to the table, it was an overwhelming amount of insight to soak up in just over 4 hours. Here were some of the things we took away with us:

The crossovers between multiple platforms seemed to be the theme of the day, with dual-screening taking precedence. In particular, Tom McDonnell from Monterosa championed the effectiveness of driving TV viewers onto other platforms at the same time, to help convert them from passive viewers into engaged users. This way, brands or shows are capable of creating an immersive experience thanks to a simple call to action. Tom Ollerton from We Are Social backed this up, stating that in order to truly engage people on social platforms, you have to offer something else that isn’t available anywhere else. Whether this be content or products, dual screening is only desirable if the second screen offers something that the first cannot.

ITV’s Chris Goldson delivered a particularly compelling 25 minutes, giving a quick look into some of the ways that ITV are hoping to make their advertising space more valuable to both brands and consumers, by thinking more creatively. He cited how they were able to involve the British Heart Foundation in an episode of Coronation Street where one of the characters suffered from a heart attack. Blurring the lines between where programming stops and advertising starts serves to open up a whole world of opportunities for brands to talk to viewers when it’s most relevant. If this approach continues to evolve, it could become very exciting stuff indeed for the world of television advertising.

Another theme of the day seemed to be the iteration of where technology sits in the vehicle of change. Suranga Chandratillake of Blinkx perhaps put it most succinctly by stating that ‘Technology itself doesn’t drive change, technology provides the medium for creativity to drive change’. Chris O’Reilly from Nexus supported this view, adding that technology free from storytelling was effectively novelty. For all of our obsessions with the next big thing, the next new platform, it is practically valueless unless we are truly able to connect to it as individuals. We could ramble on for hours but in the name of pithiness we’ll wrap it up here, leaving you with perhaps the finest quote of the day from Chris O’Reilly:

‘It’s not about being the first people to do things, it’s about being the first people to do it meaningfully.’