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22 March

Advertising Week Europe 2019 Offers Opportunities to Evolve


Advertising Week Europe has come and gone, featuring hundreds of speakers from some of the major players in creative and advertising—including our very own Sir Martin Sorrell of S4 Capital and Martin Verdult, Managing Director at MediaMonks London.

Over the course of the week, brands and agencies alike aired out their grievances, celebrated achievements and explored emerging opportunities for storytelling and connecting with consumers. While there’s a lot to talk about among the 200-some events hosted by the conference, we’re zeroing in on a handful of overarching themes most urgent to brands and agencies alike.

5G is Coming (Eventually)

It’s no advertising conference without a lot of talk about 5G. And while there’s a lot of talk about the technology, there’s still a dearth in tangible examples of how the next generation of mobile connectivity will affect creative storytelling.

But that’s fine for now. 5G is said to revolutionize the way people work and consume entertainment, and political or privacy concerns are sure to rise in response to any technology that promises to change everything (especially in Europe). We’re happy to see the discussion around 5G approached from all angles; tech brands that are ahead of the curve will welcome these discussions rather than shy away from them, building consumers’ and partners’ trust in the process.

TV is Still Exciting to Brands…

The future of TV ad spend is unclear thanks to cord cutters’ mass exodus to streaming services and OTT boxes, but one thing at Advertising Week Europe is clear: brands still place TVC on a pedestal. This may be because broadcasters’ response to recent streaming video controversies was to  frame their own environments as brand-safe alternatives, according to Digiday. Or it might just be because TV viewing is on the rise once you add digital to the equation.

While the one-to-many model of the TVC is rather outdated in today’s omnichannel, connected and stream-binging world, there’s no denying that hero content or a quality film has a certain caché to it. That’s why we’re excited to see the opportunities that addressable TVC provides for brands to reach viewing audiences in a more personalized way. Essentially, the value of TVC won’t be as a primary pillar on which entire campaigns are built; rather, they become one of several entry points to hook consumers’ attention with increased contextual relevancy.

…But Audio is Gaining Traction

With growing popularity of smart speakers and audio content, organizations are beginning to wonder how they might use sonic branding to their advantage—whether that takes the shape of investing in voice or finding ways to better use a new class of influencers within radio and podcasting space. The rewards of sonic branding can be grand: after all, who will ever forget the sound of MailChimp’s iconic ad spot in popular podcast Serial’s heyday? But regarding influencers brand safety is of chief concern in the European market, which is why we’ve come up with some tips for how brands can collaborate while safeguarding themselves.

Every brand knows the importance of its voice, but now they’ll have to take things a bit more literally. When 5G does finally hit, it can drastically increase the capabilities of Internet of Things devices—the very same devices that users commonly invoke via Alexa, Google Assistant and sometimes even Siri. With the importance of voice rising as an interface, brands are looking for opportunities to speak up and be heard.

Brands and Agencies Feel at Odds

At The Drum’s “10 Questions With…” event on Tuesday, the general vibe of the room suggested that agencies in attendance were slow to recognize the need for a digital-first approach. Comments about a return to the old way of doing things—eschewing data-led campaigns and chasing the singular Big, Creative Idea instead—got the audience nodding. You know what they say: old habits die hard.

“Brands want to own their data, better understand their consumers and their media buy."

Storm Keys

Director of European Partnerships, MediaMonks London

Unfortunately for them, brands aren’t keen to wait on an obsolete approach. The reality is that they require results for their advertising and marketing spend, highlighting the essential role that data and metrics play in their everyday needs. “Nowadays, more CMOs are compensated on how well they deliver ROI,” says Storm Keys, Director of European Partnerships at MediaMonks London. “The responsibility of a campaign’s success falls directly on them.”

In general, brands desire more control over their marketing, as we’ve seen in those that have gone in-house. “They want to own their data, better understand their consumers and better understand media buy,” says Keys. And that trend isn’t a bad thing; we know that brands and agencies can play nice because we’ve done it before. Through new, flexible models and end-to-end services, the agencies of the future will help brands become nimbler and faster in producing the content their audiences crave.

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