Beet.TV The root to the media revolution 2017-06-24T23:02:05Z WordPress Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell on Cannes: Excessive & Expensive But No Boycott]]> 2017-06-24T23:02:05Z 2017-06-23T22:02:36Z [...]]]> CANNES – Because it may have grown to become too big and too expensive, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity should be examined for its location and format, according to Sir Martin Sorrell. However, boycotting the event or not participating is not the right approach, according to the Founder & CEO of WPP.

Sorrell’s comments in this interview with Beet.TV came as the organizers of Cannes announced the formation of an advisory committee to help them decide what the event should consist of going forward amid controversy generated by the pullout next year of Publicis Groupe, as The Drum reports.

“Cannes as ever was a frenetic week,” says Sorrell. “Probably has become too big. Probably has become too expensive.”

Some people are questioning “whether Cannes should be Cannes, or Cannes should be in Cannes, or whether Cannes should be canned as somebody put it to me,” he adds. “I think it’s a good question.”

The value of Cannes to WPP “is that it’s important to our people and it’s important to our clients.” WPP staffers see the awards confab “as a way of enriching their careers and celebrating their success with their peers judging their work.” The holding company’s clients “also enjoy it in the sense that they get a great kick out of winning awards and being judged by their peers has having been responsible for producing great work.”

Seen in this light, Sorrell doesn’t think a boycott or withdrawal is helpful “but where it’s directionally correct is it does raise the question about whether this is the right place to do this and whether this is the right format.

“Because I think in certain respects, certainly in terms of expense, and maybe some excesses, it’s too much.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s Coverage of Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Robert Andrews <![CDATA[TV Is Moving Down The Funnel: Alphonso’s Gall]]> 2017-06-23T13:18:59Z 2017-06-23T13:18:46Z [...]]]> CANNES — Once upon a time, television advertising used to be all about igniting consumers’ initial interest, sometimes long before an eventual purchase.

It’s called “branding”, raising awareness at the very start of the marketing funnel – with no real ability to track a TV ad’s specific impact on sales.

But all that is changing, thanks to new technology that tracks consumers’ TV viewing – and follows consumers all the way to the checkout.

“We index all of television across the United States, so we know what people are watching,” says Mark Gall, chief revenue officer of Alphonso, one of the companies enabling the new practice.

“We have distribution in one out of three US households, where we have the Alphonso SDK (software development kit). We’re able to recognise what’s on TV in one out of every three US TV households.

“The (consumers’) smartphone goes to the store and we’re able to identify that smartphone’s been in a store nine minutes, you’re purchasing a product, and you’re able to use Nielsen Catalina or ROI to demonstrate a sale.”

This kind of attribution for TV ad viewership could change the game, bringing far greater certainty to TV ad spending – and perhaps even change TV advertising in to a medium used by companies that don’t just want to raise awareness, they want to achieve specific end sales.

This video is from The Advanced TV Summit at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by AlphonsoFor more from the series, please visit this page.
Robert Andrews <![CDATA[AI Will Be Huge, But Hidden: Luma’s Kawaja]]> 2017-06-23T10:07:11Z 2017-06-23T10:07:11Z [...]]]> CANNES — Who would ever have thought that the world’s biggest festival for celebrating creativity in marketing would have ended up discussing artificial intelligence, blockchain and cognitive technologies?

But all these new-wave developments could be set to revolutionise advertising, as well as the other industries they touch.

Companies like IBM and Microsoft are pitching their cognitive software technologies as helping to power deeper ad experiences or video recognition, amongst other applications. At the Cannes Lions advertising festival, IBM is showcasing its Watson AI tech, which also powers ad experiences with The Weather Company.

And the ad-tech sector’s biggest deal-maker says AI could be a big deal.

“AI is a big deal,” says Terence Kawaja, the CEO of media M&A advisory LUMA Partners. “It’s going to be everywhere – and yet it’s not a sector in and of itself.

“It’s going to be like ‘Intel Inside’ – every facet of workflow, monetisation, data will utilise AI. AI will be revolutionary but it will be on the inside, it should be ubiquitous.

“There’s great potential, especially when you get an industry (like advertising) that deals with billions and billions of payments and impressions. But it will be a ways to come.”

Once just for people in the ad community, Cannes Lions has now joined the ranks of CES and Davos amongst a handful of global super-conferences that now attract executive delegates from outside of their traditional core constituencies.

And Kawaja thinks the next wave of much-needed ad-tech consolidation is going to have been fuelled by this week’s Cannes festival.

“This has truly become a deal festival as much as it is about advertising or creative,” he adds.

“So many companies are here – the big strategic buyers, tech companies, agencies, all the media players – because it’s an aggregation of senior people.

“We’ve been inundated with discussions and dialog. I would expect a significant amount of activity to come out of the discussions that either started or at least were forward here in Cannes.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business and Watson. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[Mastercard Ad Intelligence’s Jay Sears: More Brands Focused On Business Outcomes]]> 2017-06-23T00:04:19Z 2017-06-23T00:04:19Z [...]]]> CANNES – Advertisers have made big strides in understanding issues like digital ad viewability and consumer attention. Now they need to focus more on understanding business outcomes.

To Jay Sears, this means focusing not on proxies or clicks or even intention “but actual sales lift as the result of an exposed population seeing an ad.”

In this interview with Beet.TV, Sears, who is SVP of the Ad Intelligence unit of Mastercard, talks about assisting brands in the categories of restaurants, retail, travel and telcos and the emergence of more infrastructure around planning and measurement.

Although advertising starts with understanding consumer behavior, starting with purchase intent and ending with actual purchase, there are many steps in between, according to Sears.

Because of its trove of privacy compliant consumer data, Mastercard Ad Intelligence is “in a unique position to help the advertiser in the start of that journey and also to complete the journey and understand the return on ad spend and what the impact has been on sales,” he says.

While a lot of infrastructure that grew up around ad technology continues to consolidate, what’s probably more interesting for brands is the convergence of advertising technology and marketing technology.

In marketing tech, there’s an understanding of planning and insights and measurement. Meanwhile, ad-tech has concentrated more on activation.

“As these two things come together, the marketer is weighing in more heavily in the decision making, which is a sign of marketing maturity and it’s a good thing,” says Sears.

He foresees a whole lot more infrastructure built out around “measurement and around planning and understanding in an audience-driven way.”

Asked to reflect on the evolution of media agencies, Sears observes that many have taken capabilities around data-driven advertising that were originally developed in specialty groups within a holding company “and making them broadly available in their operating agencies and pushing them closer to clients. That should be a big benefit for clients.”

A major trend he sees is brands taking action on managing their ad investments as they relate to business outcomes, having already solved for things like viewabiity and attention.

“So just keep going and let’s understand the impact all the way down to purchase, to sales impact,” Sears says.

This video is from The Mastercard Automated Advertising Panel at Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Robert Andrews <![CDATA[Britain’s Sky is Building ‘Common Addressable TV Currency’ With Rival Virgin]]> 2017-06-23T00:28:20Z 2017-06-22T21:22:41Z [...]]]> CANNES — The UK’s two leading pay-TV providers have teamed to develop a “common currency” for addressable TV advertising in the country.

Sky (satellite) and Virgin Media (cable) may be fierce rivals, but this week they announced a “strategic partnership” to scale advanced TV ad targeting opportunities, against the common enemy of online platforms.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Sky’s advanced TV advertising director Jamie West singles out two online behemoths, not Virgin, as competition.

“We’re trying to build a common currency and platform for advertisers to transact addressable TV,” he says.

“Our universe potential will grow to some 30 million individuals in the UK. That puts us on a level playing field with the big tech giants, whether that be Facebook or Google, in terms of reach.”

So, what is the partnership all about?

Sky’s AdSmart has been in market now for three years, and works by storing TV ads on satellite set-top boxes for playback in commercial breaks, targeted based on Sky’s deep customer data. It is arguably the world’s leading advanced TV ad targeting deployment, and is due for expansion to Sky’s Ireland, Italy and Germany operations.

Virgin will now begin using AdSmart for its own addressable offering.

Specifically, Virgin Media will enable AdSmart data targeting for customised ad delivery through its platform, for channels owned by Sky or its channel partners NBCU, Fox, A+E and Viacom/Channel 5.

West is realistic about addressable’s roll-out pace. “We haven’t got every single agency using addressable week-in, week-out or month-in, month-out,” he acknowledges, but says the benefits are significant. “Addressable brings optionality and choice – it means TV is more flexible for a brand.”

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[AI-Powered ‘Digital Humans’ Debut at Cannes Lions]]> 2017-06-23T01:39:10Z 2017-06-22T20:54:42Z [...]]]> CANNES – First off, don’t call them avatars. They’re “digital humans” with their own biologically inspired emotional models. And they are ready to help bring brands to life in amazing ways.

In this, Soul Machines Co-Founder & CEO Mark Sagar walks The Weather Company CMO Jordan Bitterman through three immersive and utterly absorbing examples of how AI technology is “humanizing” computing.  The Weather Company is part of IBM’s Watson group and Watson is being used by Soul Machines.

“You can basically bring anything to life, whether it’s a virtual spokesperson or we can even animate non-human characters,” Sagar says as he begins to summon virtual humans on a computer screen. “So it creates a level of engagement never seen before.”

The first example that Sagar presents is a baby girl who appears to be sitting in a car seat directly facing him. “She can see my face. She’s responding to me. She’s not copying me. She’s got her own emotional models,” Sagar explains.

This becomes evident when Sagar moves away from the computer. The girl’s expression sours as her eyes try to find him. A graph superimposed on the computer screen shows her stress level rising. When Sagar comes back into view and speaks, she smiles. “I’m basically calming her down with my voice and my facial expressions. Just like you do with a child.”

When he shows her a book, she tells him what it is. Her pupils respond as he adjusts her simulated level of dopamine.

The next two examples are virtual female adults who are programmed to be able to interact with humans, for example answering questions from customers on behalf of brands. All the while showing genuine human emotions.

“We’ve actually got absolutely precise control over what their faces can do,” Sagar says, noting that every single virtual eyelash is constructed individually.

To Sagar, such uses of technology represents for brands a “whole vocabulary which has been untapped so far in terms of human computer interaction and it’s totally ready to go now.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business and Watson. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[[m]PLATFORM COO Nicolle Pangis Explains GroupM’s Entry To AI Via Co-Pilot]]> 2017-06-23T01:39:58Z 2017-06-21T15:46:26Z [...]]]> CANNES – Just as brands want to have a singular view of their users and prospects, forward-thinking media investment companies know they can no longer maintain channel-specific teams. It takes big investments in technology—some of it artificial intelligence-enhanced—to accomplish both.

In the past 12 months alone, GroupM launched its global [m]PLATFORM and then bolstered its Xaxis programmatic digital media platform with the machine learning initiative called Co-Pilot and finally the acquisition of Triad Retail Media.

[m]PLATFORM is aimed at “streamlining and simplifying” so that GroupM’s clients can “see their consumers and prospective in the same way across the globe,” Nicolle Pangis, the Global COO of [m]PLATFORM, says in this interview with Beet.TV.

From an organizational standpoint, [m]PLATFORM has brought together teams that used to plan, activate, execute and optimized clients’ investments across channels. This process had historically been done “in different pockets in the agency,” Pangis says. “Now we’re at the point of maturation of our industry that it makes sense to bring those all back together and create a single view.”

The biggest single acquisition by Xaxis was that of Triad, which helps retailers sell ads on their websites, for a sum in the neighborhood of $300 million, as The Wall Street Journal reports. Scaling through Xaxis’s many international offices affords Triad the opportunity to help retailers that don’t already sell ads on their websites.

Co-Pilot represents the entry point to machine learning, which is one aspect of AI. In the simplest terms, Co-Pilot’s contribution to brands engaging effectively with consumers is its ability to predict what may happen when ads are served “or what has the highest probability of happening” based on what it’s seen in the past.

“The great thing about technologies like this is that it can take both data that is specifically advertiser driven or just macro economic driven,” says Pangis.

Like other AI-inspired technology, Co-Pilot “learns as it goes.”

Among its abilities are predicting whether a particular ad impression might be viewable based on history and whether a specific consumer has engaged with ads before.

“As a technology it’s not one that is stagnant,” Pangis says. “It’s not like you put a model in and you leave it forever. You’re constantly putting in models and they’re constantly learning.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[More Advertisers Moving To Outcomes-Based Measurement: Nielsen Catalina’s Andrew Feigenson]]> 2017-06-22T14:16:04Z 2017-06-21T15:36:49Z [...]]]> CANNES – Andrew Feigenson joined Nielsen Catalina Solutions about six months ago hoping that the ad industry was moving toward an outcomes-based approach to measuring success. So far, he hasn’t been disappointed.

“From an advertiser perspective, we’re seeing a lot of that right now. Brands that are actually taking sales impact as a KPI and then adjusting all of their media tactics to meet that,” Feigenson says in this interview with Beet.TV at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

Meanwhile, on the publisher side, what interests Feigenson, who is Chief Revenue Officer at Nielsen Catalina Solutions, “is a wholescale embracing of this.”

The company has about 90 million households worth of frequent shopper data garnered from retail partners frequent shopper data. “That means we can go really deep in terms of creating segments for activation or in doing closed-loop attribution,” Feigenson says.

That data is complemented with insights from the Nielsen Homescan panel, “which allows us to create a representative view of what’s going on in the market beyond the retailers that participate with us through Catalina.”

Since the beginning of 2017, Nielsen Catalina Solutions has announced new relationships with Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat and Spotify.

With regard to business outcomes for advertisers, TV is still an easier medium to mine, according to Feigenson.

“It’s somewhat easy to look at effectiveness because you have one format and you can take that format and put it against a media mix model and get pretty predictive about what results are going to be,” he says.

Digital involves many different formats and ways of targeting, so outcomes can vary widely. “So from a publisher perspective, first and foremost they need to show that what they’re doing works.”

Some publishers exceed these expectations by using outcomes to influence their own product strategy. “In other words, they use outcomes as a way to figure for them what works, they work backwards to make it better.”

At Cannes, Feigenson is optimistic that all parties can come together in the common interest of advancing the ad industry and lifting certain clouds that have lingered overhead, among them digital ad fraud.

“I’m hoping here we address issues honestly and creatively and we come up with ways to make this industry better.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s Coverage of Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[Washington Post’s Jarrod Dicker: AI Benefits Journalism And Advertisers]]> 2017-06-23T01:40:46Z 2017-06-21T15:34:56Z [...]]]> CANNES – Lost in the headlines about so-called fake news is the reality that artificial intelligence is making things better. But it’s not lost on Washington Post.

“I think the way we think about AI is how to strengthen our journalism,” Jarrod Dicker, Washington Post’s Head of Commercial Product & Technology, says in this interview with Beet.TV at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

“How can we create more stories in a broader scope that are more factual, that allow us to be able to take artificial intelligence and API’s to help us bring our journalism farther.”

What he finds particularly interesting right now is how companies like his are using AI to benefit their advertisers. This is important when some people are questioning whether brands are funding fake news and whether “fake advertising” exists, according to Dicker.

“I think it’s up to the publishers to build in certain products and technologies and investments on our site and really bring them from point A to B faster,” he says.

Washington Post’s effort in this regard is Postcards on the Post, which allows it to identify each consumer’s consumption habit based on content type. It’s used for branded content.

As ADWEEK reports, the initiative breaks down an immersive piece of branded content into its multimedia components, which can include infographics, video, text and photo galleries. These can all be turned into standalone units that are then targeted to individuals using available data on their content preferences.

“You look at how different publishers are delivering their stories and it’s always the same thing,” says Dicker. “Headline with the description, similar to what the front page of a paper looked like in 1950 and 1960 a lot of modern home pages look exactly the same.”

This ignores the reality of how people consume content and how data brings these preferences to light.

“So if we know that a consumer prefers video over text, over images, then why don’t we deliver that medium to them directly where that promotion sits?” Dicker says.

Postcards on the Post delivers branded content “in a very seamless and authentic way” that our users are most likely to consume “at that given point wherever they are.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Robert Andrews <![CDATA[Turner’s Levy Sees Great ‘Race To The Middle’ Of Media]]> 2017-06-21T08:44:08Z 2017-06-20T15:13:59Z [...]]]> CANNES – Each side needs a little of what the other has got, and they are coming together to make something better.

That is one way to describe the current state of media – at least according to Turner president David Levy.

Speaking with Beet.TV in this video interview, he sees a convergence of digital and analog advertising worlds.

“There is this race toward this middle,” he says. “Television is the greatest reach vehicle in the world … but it needs the data, the analytics for targeted marketing. The data companies … need premium video content.

“You’re going to see winners and losers at the end.”

The rise of targeted and programmatic video advertising has wet the appetites of many executives who also want to use data to better plan and buy ads on traditional TV. The going is slow but the prize is big.

That is why Levy’s Turner was one of the TV companies which this year launched OpenAP, consortium to introduce some consistency to the ways in which TV platforms describe their new viewer data segments.

Levy says OpenAp is “a big step toward trying to standardise things in this industry”, an industry in which he is keen to commission content that doesn’t just work on TV; it also excels on mobile, social and when a show isn’t even on-air.

Robert Andrews <![CDATA[Could Blockchain Improve Advertising Transparency? IBM’s Rangaiah Thinks So]]> 2017-06-20T23:30:24Z 2017-06-20T14:49:46Z [...]]]> CANNES – Who would ever have thought that the world’s biggest festival for celebrating creativity in marketing would have ended up discussing artificial intelligence, blockchain and cognitive technologies?

Those were some of the trends on the lips of ad execs as Cannes Lions got underway early this week – but how could they help advertisers?

In the latest development, tech companies are pitching a whole new way of conducting digital transactions as a cure-all for the many transparency issues now being suffered in a world replete with ad-tech platforms.

“The publisher only gets 35 cents on the dollar versus 85 cents on the dollar, the marketer’s money is not working as hard, nobody knows exactly who’s getting what,” says IBM’s Babs Rangaiah, executive partner at IBM iX, the tech giant’s interactive experience division.

“With blockchain for media, you’ll be able to have total transparency – who’s getting what, exactly what each company is doing, why they’re getting paid that. A lot of the issues in programmatic … are the kind of things that, done right, blockchain can help solve. I’m looking to help the programmatic space by building a blockchain for that.”

For the uninitiated, a blockchain is a public, distributed, anonymised ledger of transactions that is supremely trackable and traceable. It is the technology that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin, but, in theory, those “transactions” don’t have to be monetary.

IBM has already brought its Watson AI tech to bear on advertising, acquiring The Weather Company and, together, offering a system through which brands could make interactive brand assistants, for example. Now IBM’s Rangaiah wants to go further, using blockchain’s transparency, which comes as a default, to pitch to an advertising community plagued by concerns over opaque practices.

“Because it’s a clear supply chain, it’ll also be ad-tech players in that mix that will no longer be necessary,” he says. “If everybody has the same information, you won’t need every single one of them.

“I’m exploring a pilot as we speak right now with a big client, a big agency and various partners and players. We’re going to start that probably in the next month or so. We’d like to open it up to the industry at large.

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[AI Can Make Banking More Personal, Less Transactional: BOA’s Meredith Verdone]]> 2017-06-23T01:41:14Z 2017-06-19T23:38:22Z [...]]]> CANNES – Bank of America believes that artificial intelligence, along with its upcoming digital assistant dubbed Erica, will make the financial giant more nimble and predictive with its customers. “I think it’s going to be an incredible enabler and make us much quicker,” BOA’s CMO, Meredith Verdone, says of AI in this interview with Beet.TV at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

The bank hopes that Erica will help to humanize relationships in what has historically been a very transactional service category. As The Wall Street Journal reports, a client could say things like, “I want to send money to a friend,” or “I want to pay a bill,” and Erica could easily facilitate the transaction.

“I think this is really going to be a paradigm shift as we become much more relationship-centric,” Verdone says.

Another transition that has been under way at BOA is that of being more “audience-first” instead of looking for solutions and delivering them to audiences, according to Verdone.

“And what we’re finding, not surprisingly, is people do need more information about their finances. What we’re trying to do is deliver it in a digestible, easy way that they want to engage with it.”

One particular target is the Millennial cohort, which Verdone describes as wanting to “follow their passion” but not fully knowing whether they can afford to do so. This is one reason why BOA maintains an ongoing relationship with online learning center Kahn Academy.

On her list of exciting developments in advertising are addressable TV, “something that we’re starting to tip our toe into” given BOA’s range of service offerings and audience needs.

“The other thing we’re seeing a lot of success with is sequential video,” Verdone explains. For example, instead of running three separate 30-second spots on Hulu considering it an opportunity to have “90 seconds in front of this audience. What is the story that we want to tell them in 90 seconds and to really think about it as a short film.”

Amid all of the talk of technology at Cannes, what Verdone doesn’t want to lose sight of “is the amazing creativity that is here.” At the end of the day, “how we connect on a very human level and break through and touch our customers is really what’s going to make the difference.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[Starcom Worldwide’s Lisa Donohue Surveys The Spectrum Of AI Benefits For Brands]]> 2017-06-23T01:41:38Z 2017-06-19T23:35:32Z [...]]]> CANNES – Artificial intelligence offers brands a wide spectrum of new capabilities, from machine learning insights to enabling more human experiences and interactions. “AI is in many ways like that word innovation,” says Lisa Donohue, Global Brand President of Starcom Worldwide. “There are so many parts to AI that fall under the equation.”

In this interview with Beet.TV at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Donohue talks not only about the prospects for AI but the talent needs of the modern media agency and how Starcom has doubled down on its human experience positioning.

The continual increase in data and technology fosters the ability for brands to be more personal and “recognize people for what they are, human beings,” which is a change for the better, according to Donohue.

Regarding AI, she sees on one end of the spectrum machine learning leading to better insights “from a significant amount of data as well as then building strategies off those insights.”

On the other end of the band is the promise of more personal relationships, for example the growing use of chat bots. “Bots is a very technology term, but the reality is bots are allowing a more human interaction with a brand,” says Donohue.

Unlike technology that facilitates website transactions, bots can provide users with a direct dialogue with a brand “that can enable me to figure out how the brand can better serve my needs.” Overall, the range of the AI spectrum “is pretty powerful in how it can change marketing overall.”

Donohue segues to the organizational change at Starcom within the past year or so during which management “took a step back” and decided to determine whether the human experience positioning it had staked out was a viable one.

“The resounding answer among our people and among our clients is that human experience is absolutely the right positioning,” she says. “And in fact, you could argue that it’s more right than when we first created it.”

So Starcom “laser focused” on the notion of the power of a human experience with brands. “Human experience is right, but what’s the modern iteration of it? That’s what we spent the last year on.”

With about 30 years of agency experience behind her, Donohue has a keen perspective for the changing role of what used to be referred to as personnel or human resources. The modern media agency needs everyone from data engineers and scientists to storytellers to managers who can horizontally manage those resources.

“It’s a diverse range of talent needs that we have, which on one hand does make it challenging,” Donohue says. “It also opens up a much broader competitive set that we have to deal with.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[Clients ‘Want Us To Pull Down The Walls And Make It Easy For Them’: OMD’s Mainardo de Nardis]]> 2017-06-22T14:22:28Z 2017-06-19T18:19:46Z [...]]]> CANNES – The OMD Oasis, an annual fixture at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, doesn’t lack things to do and see. But its core mission is to make things simple for marketers at a time when creativity and technology are always intersecting.

At the same time, the personal ambition of OMD Worldwide’s CEO, Mainardo de Nardis, during the festival is to learn new experiences and meet people. “I make a list throughout the year of all the people who I actually want to meet here,” de Nardis says in this interview with Beet.TV in which he opines that data has become so commonplace that people “should stop talking about it.”

He recalls an important client telling OMD that the Oasis is the only place one needs to be at Cannes “because everything happens there,” whether it’s new initiatives, presentations or live video streams from the Palais des Festivals.

“I’m very passionate about the OMD Oasis here at Cannes because I think it’s a great program. It’s a place where our clients, our friends, our colleagues, our prospects want to spend time and therefore it’s important to us,” de Nardis says.

With creativity and technology constantly colliding, “It’s extremely complex for our clients,” he adds. “They want us to pull down the walls and make it easy for them,” a process that includes not adding the agency’s own complication “to the complication of the marketplace.”

Even with the influx of digital and tech partners at Cannes over the past decade, it’s important to remember that at the end of every marketing connection point there is a human being. “Whatever techniques and data and support we use to get there, it’s about the story that person will engage with,” says de Nardis.

Data has become so important “we should stop talking about it,” he adds. “It’s not about the data. It’s about the insights, the understandings, the learnings that the data allows us to extract in order to do things in a different, more precise way.”

Likewise, the role of an agency is no different than it was three decades ago, according to de Nardis. “It’s just that the means that we have available today is what we’ve been dreaming all our life and now we finally have it.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s Coverage of Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[The Weather Company’s Jordan Bitterman: Rolling Out Name Change, More Watson API’s]]> 2017-06-23T01:42:07Z 2017-06-19T17:30:55Z [...]]]> CANNES – The near-term forecast at The Weather Company calls for Watson—as in a name change that will place IBM’s artificial intelligence capabilities at the forefront of a company heretofore known for its atmospheric aptitude.

“The experiences that we’re are bringing our clients through here that are all Watson-based is really where the future is for us,” The Weather Company CMO Jordan Bitterman says in this interview with Beet.TV at the 2017 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

All things weather-related won’t disappear altogether when The Weather Company undergoes its name change. The future “does not exclude weather, because weather is obviously a big part of how we can utilize AI going forward,” Bitterman says. “We’re going to be rolling it out in the coming months.”

IBM envisions Watson as akin to the Android or iOS app stores “where it’s a platform that people can develop on.” Bitterman cites companies like Soul Machines that are building their technologies on top of the Watson stack via application programming interfaces.

For Soul Machines, building “virtual humans” involves using such Watson skillsets as natural language recognition to sentiment analysis. Auckland-based Soul Machines recently unveiled its first virtual assistant, Nadia, voiced by actress Cate Blanchett, as idealog reports.

“Right now there’s 38 different API’s that Watson has and there’s more in testing right now,” Bitterman says. “Probably by the end of the year there should be close to 50 or even 60 different API’s that Watson can enable companies with.”

Cannes attendees can demo various kinds of AI interfaces at The Weather Company’s encampment at the Carlton hotel. One of the experiences is operating the self-driving car called Olli that is powered by IBM’s technology.

“We also have a mirror here that will let you know if you have early signs of melanoma,” Bitterman explains. “Which seems highly appropriate for the south of France.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Robert Andrews <![CDATA[Cannes Lions’ Organizer Eyes Continued Diversification]]> 2017-06-19T09:54:40Z 2017-06-19T09:54:40Z [...]]]> CANNES — In recent years, it has added tracks for entertainment, innovation and even health. But now the creative ad industry’s main event is considering expanding to encompass an even wider array of media industry topics.

Speaking with Beet.TV in this video interview as Cannes Lions kicked off, event CEO Phillip Thomas said the biggest recent expansion had come with the addition of Lions Entertainment, meaning a host of new delegates from music, TV and film this year – but other segments may yet be to come.

“I had a number of conversations already this week, one with a big music company who have brought people down for the first time in big numbers,” Thomas said. “There are so many music people here, it is absolutely incredible.”

Today, licensing music to brand campaigns is a growing business for labels, whilst ad buyers increasingly can target listeners through on-demand music services and apps.

But Thomas says Cannes Lions still under-delivers on several other media segments.

“There are quite big areas that we’re not exploring – for instance, sport,” he said. “We don’t really cover that very much. Gaming is another area that we’re not particularly deep in to. People are saying to us, ‘That needs to be part of what you do’.

“We normally finish the festival, take a breath and then pull the learnings from the festival to try to start to build next year.”

Robert Andrews <![CDATA[‘Artful Intelligence’ Can Make Stories Matter: OMD’s Rozen]]> 2017-06-19T09:48:04Z 2017-06-19T09:48:04Z [...]]]> CANNES — Over the last year, a noticeable apology for ad-tech has grown louder in the advertising community, as ad execs – once sold on hyper-targeting super-powers – cast their eyes back toward the basic tenets of creative ad craft.

To Doug Rozen, that means “making stories matter”. It’s one of the mantras of OMD, the global ad agency where Rozen is chief digital and innovation officer.

And he hopes this week’s return to Cannes Lions, the ad industry get-together that has always aimed to represent creativity in the trade, means a return to recognizing the art of messaging, as well as math.

“It can’t just be the machines alone,” Rozen tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “We, as people, need to really have an understanding for how to apply this new intelligence to marketing communications.”

Whilst Rozen sees technologies like artificial intelligence play a part in the modern marketing mix, he is also advocating what he calls “artful intelligence”.

“I’m really hopeful here at Cannes that we’re going to pivot in to the opportunity of creativity, how we can break through the programmatic world,” he adds “Whilst automation is key to us continuing to drive greater efficiency, we also have an opportunity to be more creative, rise above the banner ad.

“Anyone can make a story. But how do you make it matter to the business to actually drive impact? Storytelling needs to do something.”

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[OpenSlate Creating A ‘Safe Version Of YouTube,’ Says COO JoAnna Foyle]]> 2017-06-16T10:02:52Z 2017-06-16T10:02:52Z [...]]]> Back in 2012, before the words “safe environment” for digital video became industry mantra, a company called Outrigger Media launched OpenSlate. It was a tool to help advertisers target the long tail of video production.

Among other things, the company knew “there would come a time in an industry that got hyper focused on audience and eyeballs and finding the right human that context would matter again someday,” says JoAnna Foyle, COO of the company now known as OpenSlate.

Given the recent and widespread advertiser backlash against their ads appearing alongside objectionable video content on places like YouTube, context has indeed arrived front and center.

“Our whole mission in life became how do we create an analytics system leveraging all of the ingested meta data from every scrap of videos that have ad opportunities on them,” Foyle recalls in this interview with Beet.TV.

This no small task considering there are 300 million videos on YouTube with ad opportunities. OpenSlate’s platform analyzes and scores YouTube content on quality, brand safety, subject matter expertise and audience.

In essence, OpenSlate helps brands create “a safe version of YouTube,” one that is tailored to their audience targets and objectives, according to Foyle.

The company scored a major coup in March of this year as brands began to flee some video platforms by partnering with WPP’s media investment management unit GroupM. As the companies announced at the time, their effort was aimed at providing GroupM clients “additional controls and content safeguards” to support their YouTube buys.

“We’re talking to a number of the other holding companies,” says Foyle.

YouTube seems to be keeping a low profile with regard to the safe content theme, telling Digiday that it’s focused on reviewing its policies and giving brands more control over ads.

OpenSlate covers both reservation media, including Google Preferred, and auction-based inventory bought through AdWords or DoubleClick Bid Manager. Its compensation is in the form of a CPM upcharge or percentage of media spend.

The premise of OpenSlate is “making sure that the video you your brand is appearing against is one where your brand would choose to appear,” Foyle adds.

One example might be a cosmetics brand aligned with appropriate female content as opposed to “stuff that’s completely irrelevant, like Minecraft videos.”

We interviewed Foyle earlier this week at the VideoNuze advertising summit.

Robert Andrews <![CDATA[UK’s Virgin Media Takes On Rival Sky’s AdSmart For Advanced TV]]> 2017-06-15T14:14:29Z 2017-06-15T11:36:04Z [...]]]> In the UK pay-TV market, they are two fierce rivals. But now satellite operator Sky and cable company Virgin Media are forming a “strategic partnership” to scale advanced TV ad targeting opportunities, against the common enemy of online platforms.

The pair have announced Virgin will use data from Sky’s existing AdSmart addressable TV system, as well as tech from its parent company Liberty Global, to underpin its offering.

The key to the deal is billed as providing a consistent currency, targeting characteristics and capabilities for ad buyers, the pair say. We have recently seen similar moves in the US, with operators teaming to harmonize their customer datasets.

But what the pairing says about the relevant positions of these UK companies is fascinating…

Sky’s AdSmart has been in market now for three years, and works by storing TV ads on satellite set-top boxes for playback in commercial breaks, targeted based on Sky’s deep customer data. It is arguably the world’s leading advanced TV ad targeting deployment, has opened up TV ads to smaller and more local companies, and is currently being rolled out across Sky’s European footprint.

Virgin Media, which is the smaller company, uses a box running TiVo software and is seen as lagging behind. It has long had the capability to dynamically insert ads in to catch-up TV, but has only made its biggest push now that its ownership by Liberty Global, which acquired it in 2013, has bedded in.

Whilst this announcement is of a “partnership”, it does not state that Sky will be receiving any assets from Virgin Media.

Both Sky and Virgin Media both have their own media sales houses to sell ads against their own channels, but last year, John Paul, advanced advertising and data VP of LibertyGlobal, told Beet.TV that Virgin Media would primarily act as the platform for other channel operators to sell  inserted ads in to their own content aired over Virgin.

It is telling that the companies’ announcement singles out online platforms as rivals: “Advertisers will be able to target a potential audience over time of more than 30 million viewers; putting it on par with leading social networks.”

Editor’s Note: This video with Jamie West was produced by Beet.TV in London.  It has been previously been published.  Whilst it gives a thorough overview of AdSmart, it was recorded in 2014 and the platform has been expanded significantly since. 

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[Facebook’s Michelle Klein: Mobile Video ‘Exploding’ But Marketers Need More Agility]]> 2017-06-14T16:28:48Z 2017-06-14T16:28:48Z [...]]]> Creation and viewing of mobile video is growing in leaps and bounds but marketers aren’t moving fast enough to keep up with the trend. This is the focal point that Facebook will bring to the fore at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity as it continues to roll out new video formats.

The social media behemoth next week will kick off a campaign to showcase new ad formats like 360 and vertical video as it seeks to instill a heightened sense of agility in brands that want to engage with its users, Facebook Marketing Director for North America Michelle Klein explains in this interview with Beet.TV.

“The power of mobile video is incredibly important and it’s exploding on Facebook,” says Klein, noting that more than 100 million hours of mobile video is watched on the platform every day.

She cites research predicting that by 2020, 75% of all mobile data will be used for video.

Facebook’s recently launched vertical video ad product “allows you to tell a taller tale using the longer format” instead of shooting horizontally and adapting it, according to Klein.

She wants brand marketers to understand the need to create “for the speed of feed” while trying to capture users’ attention in short time span. “If you’re trying to engage with somebody in a longer-form, lean-in format you might want to look at in-stream video or longer format,” Klein says.

“If you’re trying to reach people on the go, then short-form is the right format.”

Facebook’s raison d’être is to encourage an open and connected world. “That mission translates into the way we engage with the industry.”

To this end, the company has created industry councils dedicated to clients, measurement and creative. At Cannes, the Creative Council will to create marketing programs in an agile framework.

“As marketers today, we need to move much faster,” Klein says. “We need to test, we need to learn, we need to iterate, we need to respond. Agility is key and it’s different to how it was even a year ago.”

This segment is part of the Beet.TV lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. 2017. The series is presented by Storyful. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Robert Andrews <![CDATA[AI “Will be the Thing This Year at Cannes,” The Weather Company’s Jordan Bitterman Explains Why It Matters]]> 2017-06-15T10:09:10Z 2017-06-14T10:40:37Z [...]]]> Artificial intelligence (also referred to as augmented intelligence) is expected to be one of the most talked about topics at Cannes next week. But it can be hard to fathom exactly what AI could mean, and for whom.

That’s why the Weather Company CMO  Jordan Bitterman and his team plan to bring the technology to life to the marketing and and media world at the Cannes Lions Festival next week.

Watson at the Carlton

Weather is hosting an event on Monday, together with Beet.TV and media agency MEC a the Carlton, featuring Mark Sagar, Oscar-winning entrepreneur building life-like AI avatars. Sager is founder of New Zealand-based Soul Machines.  IBM’s Watson will be demo’d at the Weather’s suite at the Carlton for the entire week.

Why AI Matters:

“When you call a call center, you have a conversation with a person at the other end of the phone,” Bitterman explains, in this video interview with Beet.TV. “That costs that company lots of money.

“With avatars, you program it, the cost of service is a lot lower. If it gets to a place where the humanity and it feels real to you as a consumer, you won’t mind whether you’re talking to a customer service representative that’s flesh-and-bone or zeros and ones.”

Below is a video on the making of  avatar “Nadia” with Sagar and actress Cate Blanchett who provides the voice.

Why is The Weather Company in this space? Because IBM acquired the company in 2015, putting in its Watson AI division.

Now Bitterman says the IBM-run Weather Company has three layers – an Internet of Things division taking data from millions of sensors, a content division creating knowledge out of the data, and the classical Weather Company, a media entity with what Bitterman, in engineering speak, calls the “end points” to deliver that information.

This segment is part of the Beet.TV lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. 2017. The series is presented by Storyful. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Robert Andrews <![CDATA[FCB’s Credle Calls On Cannes To Celebrate Enduring Stories]]> 2017-06-13T22:47:51Z 2017-06-13T22:47:51Z [...]]]> In a fast-moving world with fast-changing technologies, new strategies and ideas prompt constant innovation in the way we construct messaging and communicate for companies.

But is constant reinvention necessarily a good thing? In this video interview with Beet.TV, one of the creative chiefs from a major international agency calls for longer-term thinking.

“We talk a lot about purpose-driven brands, but I definitely don’t think we’re doing long-term storytelling,” says FCB Global chief creative officer Susan Credle.

“I wish more brands would think about the stories they can tell throughout a brand’s life. All the actions a band does become chapters in that story. The best brands have a feeling of never being finished, they are out there with a purpose that becomes relevant depending on culture changes.”

In 2009, Credle moved from BBDO to Leo Burnett USA, where she was credited with the shop’s creative resurgence, and joined FCB in 2016 as part of a renewed creative talent drive. She has a long list of advertising judging roles.

Ahead of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, she calls on other judges to look beyond the immediate.

“Even at Cannes, we really don’t celebrate … consistency of an idea,” Credle says. “We’re so interested in changing it up and doing something new.

“Every time you change, you’re asking that muscle to restart, to learn agin. We need to think more about building up equity in our storytelling.”

This segment is part of the Beet.TV lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. 2017. The series is presented by Storyful. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Robert Andrews <![CDATA[TBWA’s Garbutt Takes New Creatives To ‘Surprising Spaces’]]> 2017-06-12T11:22:08Z 2017-06-12T11:20:06Z [...]]]> One of the world’s top ad agencies is well used to making messages for TV screens – but TBWA also sees an opportunity to break free from that screen.

Speaking with Beet.TV in this video interview, TBWA’s global chief creative officer Chris Garbutt says: “There’s never been a more exciting time for storytelling. All these new opportunities have shown up in the most surprising places.”

Same goes for TBWA’s own productions lately, which include executions specifically built for Snapchat, bedroom walls and the streets of Tokyo. Garbutt gave Beet.TV the low-down on his favourite recent campaign highlights.

Tokyo (Adidas, 2017):

“The team found all the data to do with the traffic-light systems of Tokyo. With street running, you don’t want to wait for a red light to change, you want to keep running. They synced all the green lights with an app on a mobile phone, and created an experience all based on data, unlocking the potential of street running, the seamless joy of continuing the run through the city.”

Snapchat (Gatorade, 2016):

For Gatorade, TBWA helped build an old-school tennis game inside the social network, in partnership with Serena Williams

“We’ve been looking to where the audience is already engaged,” Garbutt says. “Snapchat was a great opportunity to gasify an experience. It was hugely successful.

Wallpaper (Castorama, 2017):

“(For French DIY store Castorama), we created wallpaper, which is a product they were selling in the store, with characters printed on the wallpaper, for bedtime stories. It’s an interactive experience with your mobile phone – you can point your phone at the wallpaper and the wallpaper tells you a bedtime story.”

This segment is part of the Beet.TV lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. 2017. The series is presented by Storyful. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[Mindshare’s David Lang On Purposeful Content, Driving Millennials To Jaguar]]> 2017-06-09T15:41:55Z 2017-06-09T13:28:10Z [...]]]> The digital ecosystem is awash in content, but it’s not a case of more is merrier. “We think less is more,” says David Lang, Chief Content Officer for Mindshare NA and President of Mindshare Content+ Entertainment.

As he looks ahead to the 2017 Cannes Lions festival, Lang talks about the importance of conducting content strategies and audits for brands and explains how Mindshare used data and technology to tackle the challenge of getting Millennials to consider buying a Jaguar automobile.

“As a Chief Content Officer, this is going to sound funny but there’s too much content out there because a lot of the content doesn’t have a reason for being,” Lang says in this interview with Beet.TV. “It’s not based on a strategy, it’s just noise and clutter.”

He prefaces his thoughts by noting that Mindshare has removed the word “branded” as it relates to content. The bigger issue is that content needs to have “a reason to live and a purpose,” for both brands and their target audiences.

This was a particularly thorny issue facing Jaguar when it came to convincing the Millennial age cohort to include the brand in their consideration set, something they’d never really done before. Mindshare decided to create a two-minute action movie with a Jaguar model in the hero role and seven separate shots of potential protagonists. The goal was to lure 10,000 Millennials to Jaguar dealers for test drives during a six-city campaign.

Using the understanding that Millennials are the “selfie generation” and proprietary technology from Canada, Mindshare was able to film the 10,000 people and put each of them in the seat of the protagonist so that it appeared they were starring in their own action movie.

“So we had a technology stream, we had a data stream and because the content was relevant to the Millennials themselves, we had a 50 percent shareability on Facebook with a target that didn’t consider this brand at the very beginning of the conversation,” Lang says.

Via RFID technology, Jaguar dealers were able to follow up with the test participants. The effort was “hugely successful” and Jaguar “sold a ton of cars,” he adds.

“I would say in Cannes, less is more” with regard to the plethora of content available to consumers, says Lang. “It’s really important to do a content strategy and content audit to help drive what you should be doing, why you should be doing it and the metrics associated with those outcomes.”

This segment is part of the Beet.TV lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. 2017. The series is presented by Storyful. For more from the series, please visit this page.

Steve Ellwanger <![CDATA[Twitter’s Stacy Minero on Cannes Road Map: It’s “Feed-First” & Live Video]]> 2017-06-07T21:03:17Z 2017-06-07T21:03:17Z [...]]]> Like many other companies, Twitter uses the Cannes Lions festival to showcase its product offerings. Unlike others, it’s adopted a “feed-first” mantra as opposed to mobile-first.

At this year’s festival, Twitter will spend a lot of time talking about the value of experiences, how it’s doubled down on live streaming and what it takes for brands to create a value exchange with the platform’s users, the company’s Director of Brand Strategy, Stacy Minero, explains in this interview with Beet.TV.

“We talk a lot about how you can creative feed-first content,” says Minero, who joined Twitter three years ago following stints on the buy-side at Mindshare and ZenithOptimedia. “Everybody’s talking about mobile-first and we’re focused on feed-first.”

Some of the best work done on the social platform by brands involves designing memorable experiences. “We know that consumers skip ads but they don’t skip experiences,” Minero says.

Foremost among these are brands becoming live broadcasters, the increased use of 360 video and harnessing the power of bots. One example she cites is when fast-feeder Wendy’s teamed up with Twitter during the NCAA final four playoffs, which enabled fans to create their own team brackets on the rails of Twitter, as ADWEEK reports. “It was a really interesting way to capitalize on that heat moment but to bring consumers into an experience that was more immersive,” Minero says.

The company’s feed-first approach is based on the knowledge that “people are more likely to scroll or to swipe than they are to stop on content.” Among its suggested best practices for brands are “having a bias to short form,” engineering the front end to create stopping power and adding captions to content.

To create a value exchange with users, brands need to understand their mindsets and motivations, but also their need states “so that you can either deliver entertainment or some type of utility.”

Twitter has “doubled down” on live streaming because while people are attracted by content, being part of the conversation keeps them engaged. It’s the result of the “first screen” and “second screen” melding together for shared experiences.

“There’s a lot of opportunities for brands to not only draft off of live streaming and be a part of it but to actually create their own live stream content,” says Minero.

This segment is part of the Beet.TV lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. 2017. The series is presented by Storyful. For more from the series, please visit this page.