Advertising Week 2015 NYC: Attendees from Posterscope UK and USA give their views

Advertising Week 2015 NYC: Targeting the Micro-Moment, Programmatic Planning and a Cross Dressing Robot
By Samantha Brereton, Client Director, Posterscope UK
It’s Monday morning and Times Square is buzzing – but this time it is not just filled with tourists. thousands flock to the many events in the area for the start of Advertising Week USA. AdWeek USA proves Americans don’t do things by halves – it’s like AdWeek Europe on steroids. Now in its 12th year, it operates as a well-oiled machine as brands vie for the attention of marketers with freebies, parties and even job offers (check out MECs ‘Live Hire’ event). Almost four times the attendance of AdWeek Europe and nearly 1,000 speakers make up the eclectic and highly entertaining four day schedule.
Although the programme is busier than its European counterpart, the hot topics and buzz words draw close parallels to our market. Unsurprisingly, the big tech companies start the week with new announcements. Google launched Customer Match which offers advertisers the ability to upload email lists of valuable customers and have these matched to consumers who are signed in to Google platforms such as Gmail, YouTube and Search. This is all part of Googles aim to target “consumers in the micro-moment”. YouTube also announced it would make all ads shoppable and Facebook have launched a new buying platform of TRPs (Target Ratings Points) which aims to make it easier for TV buyers to plan, buy and measure Facebook ads.
What does this mean for OOH? Google knows better than most the value of relevance and personalisation and this is a move to create deeper connections with consumers in the right moment. With 60% of internet time being spent on mobile in the UK this ‘moment’ could very well be happening OOH. New OOH data and mobile partnerships as well as real time DOOH capabilities allow us to tap into this micro-moment like never before. We should closely monitor how the consumer responds to and interacts with this type of personalisation to ensure we can find the right balance to capitalise on this with OOH media. As quoted by Alex Amado, VP of Experience Marketing for Adobe “It’s creepy when you feel like you’ve been targeted–when it’s aggressively personalized is when it’s not of use to the user.” So with OOH we must ensure we create personalisation in a positive way. Utilising the mobile interface is one way to have a one to one conversation with consumers while they are OOH.
YouTube’s push towards shoppable ads across the board is a nod to consumer’s expectations for immediacy. OOH and Mobile get closer to the point of purchase than any other media and shoppable OOH ads are very much possible today. With the proliferation of contactless technology this is only likely to increase in the coming year. New technology will allow us to speed up the process from consideration to purchase with OOH media and therefore could be an area to watch for retail clients.
Facebooks launch of TRP buying seems to be an aggressive move to target lucrative TV budgets. TV spend is still higher that Digital in the US and thus provides a golden opportunity for Facebook to increase profits. In the UK, digital will this year reach over 50% of all ad spend and digital providers will continue to target traditional media budgets. Is this a threat to OOH? I think quite the opposite. £65 million is being invested by OOH media owners into DOOH this year and networks are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Its highly likely cross platform/media digital approaches will become much more prevalent moving forward and the OOH industry is in a strong position to take advantage of this.
Content and Data were once again huge areas of focus across the four days, but given they are so well documented, I decided to focus my attention on two alternative areas of interest. The first, which is timely for the UK OOH market, is programmatic. The second is just really cool, albeit scary; artificial intelligence:
Programmatic:
A whole three day schedule of events the ’OMAA Programmatic Display’ was dedicated to exploring the future of programmatic under the headline topic: From Automation To Storytelling: Solving For Display. Programmatic is a huge focus in the USA and there is a real push to extend this beyond the realms of online into more traditional formats such as TV and OOH. Although in its infancy, OOH and TV are already traded programmatically in the US and budgets allocated to this area are set to grow hugely across the board. With the addition of new media in the programmatic space the need for greater cross platform integration rises. There was much debate over whether omnichannel planning is the way forward and although still a fair way off becoming the norm, the general consensus was that type of approach will be needed in the future. As we are on the cusp of launching programmatic OOH in the UK, lessons from the USA point to the crucial need for collaboration with this movement to be spearheaded by OOH and digital specialists alike. OOH planners need to quickly equip ourselves with the skills and knowledge required to earn a seat at the programmatic table.
 Artificial Intelligence (AI):
The final area of focus, and probably the most interesting was a talk from Yasuharu Sasaki, Executive Creative Director at Dentsu entitled “Will AI Disrupt Creativity Produced by Humans?” Many have predicted when the singularity will come. Some say 2030, some 2045 – either way, the thought that AI will surpass the human brain is worrying! In an industry where creativity and innovation is what we do, Sasaki’s hypothesising on whether our jobs will still be needed, or whether human creativity will become redundant had the rooms attention. The good news is, Sasaki predicts human creativity will still very much be needed in the future. But it comes with a warning – robots will soon become incredibly powerful and will be able to learn human creativity so they will likely beat our ‘mediocre’ ideas. But so long as we up our game and strengthen our creativity we will be needed long into the future – after all only human creativity can create new innovations.
Denstu are developing some fascinating AI projects in Japan including Pepper, a robot whose sole purpose is it communicate with and entertain humans and can be purchased for a mere £1,050. Pepper has been bought for personal use as well as commercial becoming the world’s first robot to work in a Tokyo Bank. They have also created a number of products for marketing purposes. Matsukoroid was an AI robot ‘double’ created to look and behave exactly like a famous cross dressing talk show host in Japan. At a cost of around £55k to produce, this stunt created huge amounts of PR and an impressive ROI. IBM Watsons ‘Chef Watson is another example of marketing related AI where the supercomputer learns and creates crazy recipes that the human brain may never have thought of – like chocolate sushi.
So what does this mean for OOH? Posterscope are already exploring AI in posters in the UK with a recent launch of a DOOH site that could learn and adapt to human responses – this allows for greater efficiencies in serving relevant content. But what next? Dentsu are exploring the emotional side of AI and this is something that could have fascinating applications in media. In a time where connecting with the consumer on a personal level is something many marketers are striving for, could we build AI into digital screens or experiential events that could actually interact with consumers on an emotional level giving them a positive but completely individual experience? This is all technically possible today but the question is whether UK consumers are ready for this type of innovation?
My final thought: Advertising Week has just announced the launch of Advertising Week Asia 2016. The UK are years behind Asia when it comes to adopting these types of technologies but it won’t be long until some of the ‘less crazy’ ones appear on our shores. I predict AdWeek Asia will be a conference like no other – where you will see these new technologies and their applications to media first hand. If you are lucky enough to get to AdWeek Asia I’m confident it will blow your mind!
New York Advertising Week : by  Louise Coshan, Supervisor, Account Manager, Posterscope USA
After my taster of Advertising Week earlier this year in London, I was eager to get my name on the list to attend as many events as I could in New York. Having moved to this great City in June, it still surprises me how much of a brands media spend is portioned to OOH advertising in the USA with the medium often being viewed as secondary to the likes of TV, Digital and Print.  We recently saw a YOY increase to OOH media spend, so is this set to change?  With that in mind, I was intrigued to see the trending topics of discussion and what this could mean for OOH planning and buying going forward.
The week kicked off with a splash of red, white & black from the OAAA (Outdoor Advertising Association of America) with the launch of their campaign, ‘Feel the Real’.  This was used to target media agencies and planners, whilst making a larger call to the public to engage with the real world.  As well as championing OOH as a real medium that reaches real people to drive significant digital engagement, it was also challenging the media industry to think about ‘How real is digital?’  This campaign demonstrates the impact that OOH sites can have to create engagement and complement digital marketing, especially the growing mobile market.  A great conversation starter for the week ahead, I think.
As we move into the era of ‘audience buying’, understanding a brands audience has become more and more important for all media budgets need to be accountable.  Carat’s insight and in-depth study on ‘The Millennial Disconnect: If you’re Not Winning with Millennials, You’re Just Not Winning’ definitely inspired and made me think how the innovation that is continually evolving within the OOH space could create great opportunities for brands to engage with this hard-to-reach audience.
Carat’s research showed how marketers’ current strategies only effectively reaches 42% of this group, so the “hyper-connected, optimistic, digital extrovert” stereotype that has been associated with all Millennials isn’t the whole picture.
They highlighted that although media and tech has shaped this audience there are several segments that form this audience.  So digital is not the only way this audience want to be spoken to.  We have moved from that Mad Men age, where people trusted a brands message to a time where people work harder than advertising.
We now trust people and their conversation and enjoy being part of it. DOOH now allows brands to broadcast a consumer’s comments and brand experience through photos or social media conversation, and also update a screen through a Live Feed.  This is a great way to build trust through conversation and understand this key audience more and should be a consideration for brands going forward.
While we are on the subject of segmenting audiences, Programmatic was a topic that could not be missed over advertising Week calendar. The OMMA (Online Marketing Media and Advertising) held a 3 day advertising week event dedicated to the subject. The first panel I attended was ‘People, Not Pages: What Does “Buying Audiences” Mean for Media and Marketers?’
This discussion focused on the fact advertisers are now looking to find and buy audiences, data and programmatic technologies and allow this approach to targeting.  Online has always been a strong medium for audience buying.  But, with the access now to more data being heavily supported by mobile, we move to a time where ‘Location is the new cookie’.
With OOH buying being extremely location driven, this is an exciting time to be looking at OOH and DOOH buying as the market begins to evolve and move towards a more flexibility.  This will of course make a time of change for media buyers, planners and owners. But, it’s something all parties will have to embrace to allow OOH to keep up with consumer behavior and their relationship with brands.
Posterscope’s CEO, Helma Larkin, joined the discussion for ‘Automating the Next Frontier’ which focused on Programmatic buying capabilities across multiple platforms.  Programmatic OOH buying is being pioneered by Posterscope at the moment, and we are already seeing brands add multiple touch points to their media plan considering the target audience and timing for a brands messaging.
As well as reaching the right audience at the right time through media placement, creativity will also need to be a part of this to ensure we are adding to the consumer experience making the message as timely and contextual as the media buy. The subject of ‘Ad Blocking’ was a big part of this conversation and the need for a mix of strong creativity and media placement.
If the content delivered is relevant enough, will consumers block brands or welcome their content? Following the Millennial insights that Carat shared the later certainly seems the case and more context will lead to a more trusted market place for consumers.  It seems that there could be certain segments such as the tech savvy millennials that would ‘Ad block’ making it difficult for online to reach these audiences?  Could this be where OOH is considered for brands to cut through the cluttered market and help make digital media become ‘real’ to achieve more effective brand messaging.
John Montgomery, Chairman GroupM, led the discussion for ‘The Rise of the Audience.’  He looked at the future of a market being driven by both digital platforms and a data and how it is moving away from buying just media but audience.  It terms of how this will work for clients and media in the future, Programmatic really is about making the media work harder to deliver the message to the audience.  It shouldn’t be thought of as saving money but fitting into the clients business. There will be some brands that will need to build audience delivery over time still.
My final session at Adweek that I was blown away by, was some of the new technologies and projects that Yasuharu Sasaki, Executive Creative Director at Dentsu shared in his seminar on “Will AI Disrupt Creativity Produced by Humans?”  From seeing Pepper, a Robot that can guess how humans are feeling and responds to emotions based on gestures, to a complete robot replica of a TV Presenter that helped to build their fame and became a celebrity in their own right.
This session left me thinking, ‘what is the art of communication going to evolve to?’ What was once the future, is almost here where screens can deliver a personalized message – ‘Minority Report Style.’ But, is that really what consumers want to see?  Thankfully, Yasuharu did leave me with some reassurance by summing up his discussion with communication. I couldn’t agree more. Having recently been given the great opportunity to move to New York from the UK, I’ve realized now more than ever how important quality-daily communication is to me.
Technology has completely supported my move, allowing me to stay in touch with loved ones in the UK via many platforms.  So, as we wrap up Advertising Week NYC in the traditional media way of enjoying a cocktail at Soho House amongst the chatter of real, face to face, conversation (maybe a social media post to share my activities was involved!). I’m left with the thought, ‘if we can get the mix of data, how we use technology and content as good as my Gin & Tonic, I’m sure we’ll have a happy party of people trusting and enjoying a brand’s conversation.