Tag: CES 2017

OMD Oasis at CES 2017: I want my own TV – the rise of addressability

What are the three scariest words to a marketeer? Well, according to David Pogue, Tech Critic at Yahoo Finance, at the OMD Oasis at CES last week they are “skip this ad”. The four members of the panel delved deeper into why consumers want to skip ads and their conclusion? It’s all down to relevance (or lack of it).

Bastien Schupp, Vice President Global Marketing Communications at Groupe Renault, explored the notion of relevance further by equating it to the car industry. He explained that, at any one time, 96% of people are not in the market for a vehicle and yet around 90% of communication is attributed to them. He talked about how we need more balance in focusing on the 4% who are actually ‘in the market’ to buy a car by marketing to individuals rather than marketing to the masses. His stark warning?

“More efficient targeting is about relevance. And if we don’t become more relevant we are doomed.” 

Bastien also added that it goes far beyond targeting, it’s also about relevant content too. Simply put? “You can’t just put your TV commercial on digital platforms”. He pointed out that achieving this shift was “a long process” and to ensure this happens “agencies need to transform rapidly”.

Paul Kelly, Chief Partnerships Officer at Awesomeness TV, elaborated further on the topic of relevance. He made a clear distinction between ‘individual relevance’ (something that satisfies the need state at that particular moment in time) and also ‘cultural relevance’ which he said was “an inconvenient truth… purchase decisions are often made on emotion rather than fact”. Kelly insisted that by continuing to chase increasing accountability through all forms of addressable media “we are possibly missing out on cultural relevance”. He cited an example from Honda who had decided to target younger age groups even though they are obviously not in the market for a Honda. The reasoning behind that move? Because if Honda don’t speak to those younger consumers then by the time they get into the market Honda won’t be in their consideration set. He added, “a lot of big brands are missing out on that right now”.

Nikki Mendonça, President at OMD EMEA, interjected and stated that brands need to become more disruptive. She believes that since the economic crisis many clients had become “risk averse” but she had detected more recently that some clients were becoming “more willing to take risks”. In terms of addressable media, she added that “we are only at the beginning” and the main challenges to adoption would be the acceleration of technology, how we use the data and data protection laws. But she made it clear that both advertisers and agencies need to get on board because “no-one is going to stop the addressability train”.


What followed was a lively debate on the future of live content via the likes of Periscope, Meerkat or Facebook Live. Bastien Schupp believes it’s potential is “hugely overrated”. He conceded that it may offer an interesting opportunity at live sporting events (such as unique viewing at half time during a football match) but for the automotive industry he was much more sceptical: “we could broadcast from a Motor Show but frankly unless we had a flying car then no-one would watch”.

David Pogue disagreed. His assertion was that the power of live video was its authenticity. He offered a personal perspective of taking the unboxing of technology (something we have all witnessed on YouTube) and taking it to a live platform. For example, he had reviewed the Apple Airpots in a 15-minute unveiling last month. Despite the fact that he didn’t think anyone would watch he was astonished that “58,000 people watched me open a box!”. In the following days, the views jumped up into the hundreds of thousands. He went on to say that although it wasn’t necessarily the best quality broadcast the fact that “you can’t edit it and you can’t script it” is one of the main reasons why consumers love it so much.

Paul Kelly had a foot in each camp. He acknowledged that there were limited applications for ‘live’ right now but still felt that we would pivot towards it when we had figured out how best to use it. And that is a challenge for clients, agencies and vendors alike to determine how best to use the platform. What is also true is that the technology will continue to evolve and as such previously undreamed-of applications will inevitably surface. But the key driver of the platform will, as ever, be the consumer themselves. As Kelly put it so succinctly “it depends solely on what the audience wants to see”.

CES 2017: Eureka Park ignites the senses for storytelling

Walking through Eureka Park at CES is like stepping through the collective mind of invention. The Park specialises in startups, providing them with a unique platform to launch a new product, service, or idea. It offers an exhilarating glimpse into the future, and as a visitor you know you may be witnessing the birth of what could be one of the most important innovations of the future. But the skill is in sensing and sorting the brilliant from the baffling, no mean feat when new products and ideas are at their most awkward, confusing, yet hopeful stage of development.

As the OMD Ignition Factory (OMD USA’s Innovation unit) guided us on our curated tour through the halls filled with holograms, robots, hearables  (yes, that’s right, the latest word coined to describe smart headphones), and the connected home, I wondered how I could distill the most pertinent and meaningful points for our clients. What was the story that I was going to share with them so as to create useful insights and implications for their businesses? And then it dawned on me; storytelling through the senses. Eureka!

SIGHT: See it, Scan it, Stream it

One of the exhibitors that stopped us in our tracks was bellus3D, the high-resolution 3D face scanner. In just 20 seconds, your mobile phone can create a 3D image of your face which you can then share virtually with the world. The application for gaming is obvious; you can have the real you as your avatar. But you can also extend this capability into broader digital storytelling by giving people the opportunity to place themselves within content and be part of a brand’s narrative. Now that’s an interesting direction for the personalization of content strategy.

For the beauty industry, there’s the opportunity to use your 3D image within virtual make-up applications. Moreover, with the high-resolution imaging that shows every pore and wrinkle, therapists will now be able to offer virtual skincare guidance. Oh, and did I mention that you can even 3D print your own face? It sounds odd, doesn’t it? But imagine walking into an optician’s and being able to put your next pair of sunglasses on your face, look at yourself head on rather than through a mirror. That’s a practical innovation in my books.

Switching our attention to how we create and view content, hubbl offers hardware based, real-time VR streaming over broadband internet via your phone. At $1,000 a pop for a headset, you can deliver 4K-enabled personal broadcasts with ease and simplicity.  That’s a phenomenal democratisation of content production because all you need is power and good infrastructure. Imagine how it could be used for meetings and smaller productions, giving a different perspective to live shows. It would offer a greater level of reality and intimacy, adding richness and authenticity to a brand’s story.

SOUND: Hear it clearer and sharper than ever before

Harnessing the power of sound is a theme that’s getting louder as we hurtle towards a voice-activated world and brands grapple with their sound strategy. After all, you can tell Alexa to turn down the volume on your smart earbuds or turn on the dishwasher because your hands are full feeding your toddler. Beyond the practical uses of voice activation, there’s also the romance of sound. The impact that music and human voices have upon our desires and emotions is something all of us know and feel.

Waveion loudspeaker claim to have solved the problem of sound distortion. These floor mounted speakers contain technology that removes the need for a membrane and by delivering a pulsating air shaft, the sound is distributed evenly and uniformly, which is key for audiophiles. There are devices like AIVIA, the voice activated, Google assisted, personal home speaker that allow you to stream content to a single media hub. When you consider the investments that people make into their home entertainment systems and the heightened expectation around sound quality, brands should give real consideration to their sonic architecture and determine the voices, music, and sonic triggers that comprise their brand identity.

TOUCH: Feel the connections

An over-arching CES theme this year is that of connection; how to connect everything in a way that delivers utility and comfort, rather than merely novelty. One of the most interesting, entertaining, and dominating entrants were the robots. There’s Buddy, the cute companion robot who can recognise facial expressions and be controlled by your mobile phone so you can check in on your children when you’re at work, stay connected to your elderly parents, or turn off your lights when you’re on a business trip. There’s UBtech’s Lynx, the humanoid robot which can teach your kids football (or soccer), or guide you through a yoga session whilst playing you soothing music throughout, thanks to the integration with Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service. The infusion of emotional attributes to tech has made it far more palatable and with price points as low as US$749, you know this is going to be popular.


Smart wearables and, more specifically, sporting garments received a lot of attention for it’s now the garment itself that is the computer. From Sensoria which has worked with Microsoft to create smart golf gloves with sensors that correct your swing consistency, to D-AIR, the wearable airbag system for motorcyclists, we’re seeing data being used to make athletes perform better but also feel safer.

As the Internet of Things continues to connect more devices to each other and churn out more data, how you make people feel at the most fundamental human level remains of critical importance. Storytelling has always been our way of making sense of the world and that need for sense and meaning is essential as we navigate our way through Eureka Park. Remember this and the inventions and innovations across the halls of CES become a joy to explore as you consider how to inject freshness and experimentation into your brand stories and strategies in 2017.

2.4 million square foot of whoa? CES 2017 reviewed

Well, as predicted in my pre-CES piece, the main areas of interest were automotive, robots and VR, although my confident prognostication that ’embeddables’ was going to be the breakout technology for 2017 proved to be a tad off the mark. Actually I was way off. But you can expect me to reuse the same prediction every year until it finally happens…

Anyway, swiftly moving on, let’s take a closer look at how the more successful predictions came to fruition.


Your car is now the largest connected piece of technology that you can own. And every single one of the manufacturers displaying their wares focused on the progress they have made in connecting your vehicle to other devices.

The major innovation for 2017 was the use of voice activation. Both Ford and VW announced their respective collaborations with Amazon ‘Alexa’ whilst Nissan talked about their association with Microsoft ‘Cortana’. Talk to your car and it will politely talk back, whilst simultaneously acting upon your every whim at home – switch on your lights, adjust the central heating or even check what’s in your fridge (assuming you have the right connected appliances of course).

Alternatively, talk to Alexa at home and control various functions of your car, like turning on the air conditioning or checking how much fuel you have left.


And talking of Nissan, I watched the keynote speech by Renault-Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, at the Westgate Pavilion, where he stated that there will be more change in the automotive sector in the next 10 years than there was in the last 50 years.

He confidently predicted that by 2030 a quarter of all vehicles on the road will be autonomous (and added that this was a “conservative estimate”). He also talked about their alliance with NASA on developing the revolutionary Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) system. What problem does it solve? Well autonomous systems follow strict road rules (such as, your car can never cross solid road lines) so SAM uses a human interface to offer ‘real time’ solutions to complex ‘real world’ problems that even sophisticated algorithms can’t figure out.

Elsewhere we saw China’s answer to Tesla, Faraday Future, launch its vision of an electric production car (as opposed to the outlandish FFZero1 hypercar concept which it revealed at last year’s CES).

The unimaginatively entitled FF91 is fully electric, autonomous and has very cool motorised doors. There are no firm details on when it will be launched or the price but you can put down a $5,000 deposit to get yourself on the list. However, given some of the negative stories circulating about the financial viability of Faraday I won’t be one of them.



Can you imagine a TV as thin as a credit card? Well, LG can. And it did: the new LG Signature 4K OLED W series. The W stands for wallpaper and refers to the TV’s new “picture-on-wall” design. Its dual system has the main display underpinned by a Dolby Atmos Soundbar. That very same Soundbar also houses the TV’s primary guts, HDMI inputs and so forth. But it’s that screen which is the key feature coming in at a mere 2.57 millimeters thick.



Samsung finally demonstrated how far VR has come since the Oculus Rift took CES by storm just a few short years ago. Their five-arena immersive oasis was simply stupendous and one of the real highlights of this year’s show. Want to take a bobsleigh ride, fly shotgun on a stunt plane, throw buildings at a rival robot or even go on a Star Wars X-Fighter mission? No problem, Samsung Gear offered the opportunity to experience them all, and provide a genuine taster as to what immersive entertainment will become over the next few years.


Smart home assistants, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home, became an unexpected Christmas 2016 consumer hit. But given the new kit we saw on display at CES this week, it will make these simple voice activated units obsolete rather swiftly.

Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics demonstrated its Sophia Bot late in 2016 and, although it was a huge leap forward in the development of animated expressions/emotional intelligence, it still looked somewhat creepy. Or is it just me?


At CES it showcased the latest version of the same technology, which took strange to a whole new level. Professor Einstein is a 14.5″ Wi-Fi-connected robot which is designed along the lines of Amazon Alexa, albeit with a very different outward appearance…


This is the Kickstarter style, off-the-wall, oddball tech that nobody could have predicted apart from the crazy people who invented it. And as usual, there was plenty on display.

For starters, what about the Kolibree? It is the world’s first toothbrush with Artificial Intelligence. With the associated app you can gamify your brushing experience (seriously, you cannot make this stuff up) to ensure you clean your teeth properly.

Not convinced? Me neither. So next up, we have VR shoes from Taclim. The footwear literally allows you to walk in the shoes of your virtual heroes and can simulate a variety of terrains (from sand to snow). They look a bit like Croc sandals so even though the enhanced gameplay might be cool, you certainly won’t look chic whilst wearing them.


Talking of cool, what about a levitating speaker system? Well thanks to the Crazybaby Mars you can have your mind officially blown. It looks a bit like an Amazon Alexa, replete with funky blue lights (naturally) and a free floating dome. It’s also not just a gimmick as the sound quality is incredible. Until I saw and heard it, I had no idea that I needed one in my life.

So there you have it, another tech fest over for another year. Did CES 2017 live up to expectation? Whoa, did it ever. Leaving Las Vegas. And out.

This article was originally posted at M&M Global – http://mandmglobal.com/2-4-million-square-foot-of-whoa-ces-2017-reviewed/

CES 2017: The three “A’s” and their potential impact on social media

2017 marked both the 50th anniversary and my first attendance to CES. I couldn’t have been more excited to see it all in action. Whilst it seemed nearly impossible to experience every single inch of the vast booths of new tech, entrepreneurs, and titans of innovation, the OMD Word team and I eagerly explored as much as possible, gaining several thousand steps on our wearables in the process.

It comes as no surprise, CES delivered on being a fantastic incubator for viewing trends within innovation. As these trends reach mass consumers, social media becomes the hotbed capturing consumers’ responses and participation within these trends. Three key themes continuously bubbled up to the top when walking the conference. While not entirely new to the world of CES, these themes have the capability of reshaping consumers’ behaviour on social media. We’ll call them the three A’s of CES 2017: Autonomous, AI, and the prospective bell of the ball, Alexa.

First up, Autonomous

Autonomous cars increased in sophistication and the metaphorical road got way more crowded this year. After achieving the ability to take consumers from one place to another, the focus expanded to how these vehicles could communicate with each other making transportation even safer and more efficient by reducing traffic buildups. How consumers will occupy their time once the physical act of driving is removed as a necessity still remains to be seen. But it allows for a variety of entertainment and connection opportunities via a new touch point of consumers’ attention.



Throughout the conference, AI weaved its way across robotics, to self-driving cars, to health and fitness, and everything in between. With the ever-growing surge of big data, 2017 AI fosters personalization of experiences across robotic home companions, sleep technology, and intelligent assistants. Even better, the more these AI devices learn and interact with consumers the smarter they become. This especially rings true within health and fitness, where there was a large presence of ingredient brands to grow the market of bio feedback. Gamification of health and fitness nurtures the socialisation of precise bio feedback potentially popping up on social platforms, as consumers have increased motivation to do better and beat out their friends and family.



With the rise of voice activation technology, such as Alexa, consumers will be given new tools and ways to connect within their social spheres generating new types of shareable content. Both editorial publishers and social platforms alike will be responsible for finding the interesting and compelling way to share the new consumer experiences. Practically at every turn, companies were trying to dovetail voice activation tech, Alexa specifically, to their products in conventional and unconventional ways. Voice analytics, including emotional tracking through voice, was lightly sprinkled through the conference creating opportunities for consumers to deepen their understanding of their social interactions both within the physical and digital world.


As the three A’s of CES 2017 continue to trickle out to mass consumers, cultural adoption of connected, intelligent devices across multiple touch points within their lives will advance. With the ease of connecting to everything and the sheer immediacy of it, one hypothesis I have is consumers’ social platform behaviours will start to merge and be less siloed. Consumers’ mindsets will shift from needing to share a specific, individual piece of content across a specific social platform, to having a multi-pronged experience to share across their social ecosystem. In this collapse of the more traditional existing social silos, social platforms will need to adapt to the new consumer demand of a social ecosystem rather than an echo chamber. However in the true spirit of innovation at CES and perpetually dynamic nature of human social behaviours, only time will tell if I’m right or wrong.

Similar to previous years, the social platforms themselves got in on the action of CES.

Facebook lead the pack as the “official” social media partner of CES 2017. Pumping out exhaustive editorial content, on-site interviews, and virtual tours, Facebook served the role of a crucial resource of information for attendees. Not surprisingly, Twitter was not going to let the Facebook relationship go unanswered. Continuing to position themselves as the real time platform, Twitter showed up with prominent on-site branding and a heavy focus on live streamed content, on the heels of their announcement of 360 live videos.

All in all, CES 2017 did not disappoint and perfectly served up the recipe of its 50 years of success. Our industry moves fast and in unexpected directions sometimes, and CES continues to be the conference where we can get together to be delightfully surprised and inspired.

OMD Oasis at CES 2017: The art of storytelling in an attention deficit world

At a convention powered by the latest in technological innovation, it was the art of storytelling that captivated the marketing community at OMD Oasis. Claudia Cahill, OMD Content Collective’s President, led a panel comprised of the industry’s leaders in storytelling: Steve Peace (SVP International Media, Sony Pictures), Brad Jakeman (President, PepsiCo’s Global Beverage Group), Dawn Ostroff (President, Condé Nast Entertainment), Mike McCue (CEO Flipboard) and Bryn Mooser (Co-Founder & CEO RYOT).

Each panelist offered a distinct and fascinating perspective on the challenges and contradictions inherent in storytelling in a world that demands both short, snackable content as well as complex, immersive stories that fuel our deepest passions.

Whilst all agreed that brand storytelling has become a much more complex challenge because of both consumer expectation and the proliferation of platforms and channels, the solutions varied. Steve explained that at Sony Pictures, “a narrative structure has been created in which the first 3 seconds are comprised of 5 to 10 shots; a visual mnemonic of the very best shots in our film that pulls you into watching the entire trailer’’. And it’s a narrative structure that is powered by reams of data.

At PepsiCo, Brad built a Content Center because “it was the only way to create the type of content needed to keep pace with the need for innovation’’. He explained that technology provides enormous opportunity for the expression of ideas but the content is critical. “The holy grail is how deeply someone has engaged with the content and it’s not about reach’’.
Dawn shared how she started the Next Gen Studio at Condé Nast to create a storytelling capability on every single platform and admitted that making content for a younger, Millennial audience is challenging because “GenZ have grown up on a diet of content snacks’’ and that there remains a gap in longer form content that is made specifically for them. Mike reminded the audience of the importance of having clear and meaningful objectives and that “really high-quality stories should be the goal’’, not short snackable content; “any story, short or long, has the power to move the world forward’’.

Disrupting the content creation process

The opportunity to break the rules and to disrupt the content creation process was debated and Bryn explained that the mobile phone has been the vehicle for the democratization of filmmaking. It made it possible for anyone out there to shoot a film and tell a great story. Moreover, with Facebook and YouTube 360, the way you look at video has fundamentally changed; you’re now able to step inside the story, to experience what the person holding the camera sees and feels, bringing people right up close to events around the world. And that closeness is what fuels peoples’ voices and passions.


The discussion shifted into learnings for the audience and there were five key takeaways:

  • Global vs. Local: Ensure stories are relevant across different geographies
    At PepsiCo, a content slate is developed for brands and countries in advance so that the right content is crafted. Interestingly, 90% of their content is now developed globally and shared across territories.
  • Immersive Storytelling isn’t achieved solely by technologies and tactics like VR and AR
    Narrative structure can be incredibly immersive. Consider content strategy over longer timeframes to build out worlds and/or characters, and give people a peek into that.
  • Be nimble and open to change.
    The technology still has to catch up with the vision of storytellers so be prepared to try new things.
  • Focus
    With so many choices for how and where to tell your story, it’s critical to simplify the complexity and focus on the goal of your story.
  • Be Passionate.
    Storytelling gives meaning to the world so embrace the emotion, chaos, and challenge of it.
 To find out more about the OMD Oasis programming at CES 2017, please visit CES.OMD.COM


The ingredients for a successful CES 2017: Careful curation and purposeful curiosity

The prospect of returning to CES ignites in many an unmistakable sense of dread and excitement.
Each year, the square footage of the show floor creeps upwards so that there’s now over 2.5 million net square feet of exhibit space to potentially navigate through and get thoroughly immersed (or lost) in.

The act of purposeful curiosity

Each year, the predictions touting what we can expect to see start flooding our social feeds about a month out. Already I can expect to hear about driverless cars (again), different realities (virtual, augmented, and mixed), and we’ll see the latest developments in robotics and Artificial Intelligence. We’ll also see more connected devices and wearables that promise to churn out more data streams about our bodies than ever before. And of course, there will be enormous TV screens.

After all, it wouldn’t be CES without those gigantic booths containing massive, shiny, pixel-packed TV screens that would dwarf a large conference room wall. But as we scan these articles and start to pack our bags for Vegas (don’t forget your flat shoes and mobile phone portable charger), it seems to me that the most important part of going to CES is the act of purposeful curiosity. To actively and consistently question how the latest whirring and blinking gadgets affect our clients and their business goals, and whether those flashing, oddly-named devices are significantly changing the way we live and work must be our goal as we move through the many halls of the convention center.


Question everything

At OMD, we believe that it is critically important to question everything that we do in order to make our clients’ marketing ever more powerful, effective, and accountable. CES represents a fantastic source of ideas and inspiration for jump-starting how to think differently about the year ahead, and so we go with an open mind and a desire for disruption. Interestingly, it’s been said CES 2017 will be another year of incremental improvements rather than grand revolution. But isn’t that the very definition of ‘innovation’ and the goal of so many marketers?

When I hear that CES is going to reveal the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence, it’s the potentially transformative impact on businesses that I’m most interested in learning about. When I read about the continued expansion of wearables and lifestyle accessories, I want to understand what this means for brand authenticity and purpose; how can I harness and blend different data sets to create the kind of value and utility that builds brand fans? And finally, when I put on yet another VR headset or see the next iteration of AR, I ask myself ‘how this is deepening the emotional connection and quality of brand storytelling?’


Take a tour

CES is only as rewarding as you make it. My advice to those venturing to CES for the first time: take a tour. Curation is key to making sense of the vastness of the various Tech Halls and it takes effort to extract the insights and lessons that will power your brand thinking in 2017. Personally, I’m putting myself in the hands in the expert curators; OMD’s Ignition Factory will guide me through the latest innovations that are changing the way we create and distribute content, so that I can then decide what are the inventions and improvements that I should weave into my clients’ future marketing and communications programs.

Ultimately, we go to CES to see things first, to stay ahead of the competition by asking the smarter questions, and we guide our clients on the innovations that matters most.

To find out more about what has OMD has planned at CES 2017, please visit CES.OMD.COM

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