Thousands of ad pros gather in New York City to kick off one of the industry's true mega-events
If New York is the "City that Never Sleeps," it's probably because Times Square is keeping it awake. The epicenter of the city's Theater District is pulsing with activity 24/7, filled with noise, bright lights, and bustling hordes of people---now joined by thousands of ad industry professionals gathered here for Advertising Week.
More than 200 panels, speeches and other events have been scheduled in sites all around Times Square, from towering hotels to quaint little theaters, all within walking distance ---except you're walking through mobs of tourists, ticket hawkers, street performers like the country guitar picker wearing only a Speedo, and panhandlers with signs reading, "Need money for weed, why lie?"
Yahoo! Ad Blog will be here all week to report on all the sessions, parties and happenings that we can pack into our schedule. To give you a running start, here's a video look at what's buzzing at Advertising Week; what ad visionary Faris Yakob sees coming; and these highlights from Monday's sessions:
"In Memory of Advertising": Seems weird to kick off Advertising Week with a faux funeral for the industry, but that's what JWT New York did, featuring eulogies from ad execs and stirring performances of famous ad jingles by the Madison Avenue Gospel Choir, who lent weight and soul to lines like, "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener."
By the end, it was obvious that reports of advertising's death were exaggerated. Said Charlotte Beers, former CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, "I'm still in love with the idea that advertising is one of the best possible ways to make a living. How can you not love a business that … uses every bit of wit, color, visual, music, sound, energy, and imagination, to not only explain and clarify, but to inspire?"
Emerging ad models for mobile-social: Some see this as a new niche market, but Facebook and Twitter report substantially higher click-through rates for mobile ads compared to desktop. Panelists said using content to drive engagement in mobile-social campaigns is proving to be a successful approach.
"Time and space are limited in social-mobile, so we try to create engagement points around content," says Patrick Albano, Yahoo! vice president of Social, Mobile and Product Solution Sales. That was the core of a successful social-mobile campaign for Verizon last year on the Yahoo! Sportacular mobile app.
App users were asked who they thought would win a game and encouraged to share their picks with the Sportacular community, says Albano---which they did by the hundreds of thousands every week, carrying Verizon's branding along for the earned media ride. "It provided a huge amount of engagement, he said, adding that Yahoo! is expanding the approach to more of its properties.
Mark Binns, CMO, Mobio Technologies, compared results from two publisher clients to show the strength of content-driven ads. One publisher ran display banners in mobile ads and reaped a 0.04% click-through rate. Another made content an integral part of their ads and enabled users to interact with each other or a celebrity spokesperson. The result was a whopping 56% CTR.
Video advertising on second and third screens: This OMMA Video panel identified a key opportunity and key challenge for running video ads across mobile devices.
Opportunity: IPG Media's study of why people ignored TV ads showed that they were turning to their smartphone and tablets during commercial breaks, presenting a "super opportunity for super-integrated ads" for TV and mobile advertisers, says Natalie Bokenham, IPG's director of Strategy. "Consumers aren't looking for more ads on the second screen," she warned. Rather, they want more ways to interact with the shows they're watching or get more background info on them, she said, adding that mobile apps that are synching live with programming are best, citing IntoNow from Yahoo!
Challenge: Several panelists lamented the lack of standard measurements for gauging the effectiveness of ads running across several screens. "What we really need is to find some common currency that we can all agree to as a baseline," said Ryan Bremer, CRO of Rhythm New Media, adding that this baseline would have to take into account the relative strengths and weaknesses of each screen. For example, when comparing an ad's effectiveness on tablets and TV, he said, some tablet features might be deemed more valuable than TV features, but discounted by the disparity in screen size.