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.
TV WENT ON A DIET
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.
VR WENT FROM INTERACTIVE TO IMMERSIVE
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.
ROBOTS GOT WEIRD
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…
RANDOM STUFF THAT NO-ONE EXPECTED
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.
From starting his own business at university to working on the HTC Vive Virtually Dead activation, we caught up with Rob Wigman to find out more about his career path so far.
1. How did you first hear about OMD Fuse and what attracted you to the role?
A friend of mine within the OMD network introduced me to Fuse. I would not call myself a sports fan, but Fuse is more than just sports focused. The role was for the Fuse brand partnerships team working with clients like Disney and Bentley. This sounded perfect as I had a good level of skills from running my own company, which could be applied to the world of marketing.
2. How did your previous experience help you secure a job at OMD Fuse?
My photography degree probably didn’t have the biggest effect on securing my role at Fuse, but founding and running Pholio, an agency for emerging photographers, for six years definitely put me in a good place. When starting a business and running it, you have to understand all elements from client relationships, new business/pitching, strategy and finance to working as a team to reach your goals. These skills led me to secure the role at Fuse and have proved integral to my growth within OMD Fuse since I started a year and a half ago.
3. Could you explain a typical day, if there’s such a thing?
This might be a bit cliché, but there is no typical day! One day you could be pitching creative ideas to a client/CMO and the next running a brand partnerships workshop with two clients to come up with activation ideas – it really depends. What I love about working at OMD Fuse is that we are all one big team and everyone who works here comes from different backgrounds and specialties. When a pitch lands or retained client work comes in, you work with different people to do the job. Personally, this has meant getting involved with anything from football and motorsports briefs to VR and high-end luxury brands.
4. What are your career highlights so far?
Getting to work at OMD Fuse is first and foremost! Secondly, it would be a project I helped create and activate for HTC Vive, HTC’s VR offering. They came to us with a challenge of how to launch their VR headset Vive in the UK and Paris with very little budget targeting millennials, which are hard to engage through traditional media. We created and activated ‘Virtually Dead’, in partnership with millennial app Dojo. The activation is a world first in immersive theatre with VR at its heart showcasing a zombie shoot’em up game. 10,000 millennials participated in the experience and we smashed our KPIs by 91%. We have been shortlisted for quite a few awards, winning best partnership at the 2016 M&M Global Awards. Seeing it from conception to completion and now winning industry awards has been a great highlight for me.
5. What challenges have you faced?
Coming from a company where we had five or six employees and numerous freelancers, the scale of OMD was a challenge at first. I needed to figure out who best to speak to and work with on projects and briefs. This challenge was made easier when I joined the Grand Tour, a 10-week course setup to learn and become familiar with all the different OMD agencies and offerings. I am now working on a number of projects with client, insight and data teams to ensure a 360 response. This has turned my initial challenge into a huge advantage when creating data-driven projects and work for our clients.
6. What tips would you give people who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t just apply for roles based only on your experiences in an industry. OMD Fuse looks for talent and the right person, not just a wealth of specific experience. The second tip is to be passionate and go above and beyond! You can really create a role for yourself if you have these qualities.
The annual tech and innovation fest gets under way in Cologne this week. This year’s tantalising premise is that, “Digital is everything — not every thing is digital.” Why? Because digital marketing is about to get personal.
In recent years there has been the perennial focus on smart data, the internet of things and convergence. But, this year the ‘tip of the spear’ will be about people-based marketing. As all forms of communication become increasingly addressable the undeniable truth is that we now have the capability to reach people on a one-to-one basis and that represents an opportunity to speak to consumers in an eminently personalised fashion.
Delivering relevant messages to an individual based on registered user data, on a specific identifiable device and doing all that at scale, basically, means that marketing will evolve beyond all recognition over the next decade. From ‘marketing to the many’ to the ‘marketing of the individual’ will virtually eradicate wastage and revolutionise the way we interact with consumers and augment their online experiences. All sounds very ‘Minority Report’ doesn’t it?
Since the advent and meteoric rise of programmatic over the past few years, we have used technology to reach consumers much more efficiently. However maybe, as an industry, we didn’t focus enough on how effective the messaging could be by harnessing the power of personalisation.
Research from Adobe suggests that some marketers already believe they understand the role of personalisation in the buying process – according to their numbers, around 83% of retail marketers think they do a decent job in personalising experiences for consumers. Conversely, consumers clearly don’t agree, as only 29% of them feel that retailers effectively offer them personalised content or offers. Patently there is a disturbing disparity between client perception and customer reality.
TECH VS REAL WORLD
No one would argue that technology could ever really replace the prominence of real world experiences and the need to truly understand consumer need states and motivations. But, as the event organisers put it:
“Even though there are still some things in consumers’ lives that do not look digital at first glance and perhaps may never become digital, we are convinced that everything — including the relationship between consumers and brands — can be further improved through digitisation”.
So, if the solution lies in the enhancement of the online experience to make it more idiosyncratic and engaging for the consumer then that begs another question – how do marketers achieve that enhanced experience?
The answer is to make the experiences more powerful, consistent, sustainable and meaningful. The research is clear that Gen Y consumers prefer experiences to possessions and actually want brands to interact with them. In fact, according to Google, 16% of them actually want you to provide decent content so that they can share it with their friends.
Of course, there are already some excellent examples of clients who are already adopting a more customised approach to delivering personalised content to their consumers. For example, starting in Denmark, McDonald’s have begun the move away from pure demographics and started focusing on behaviour and needs in order to become much more relevant and targeted. They have adapted their marketing to highlight every single moment in a customer’s daily media usage and apply a ‘My McDonald’s’ strategy instead of a ‘Mass McDonald’s’ approach delivering dynamic creative messages at the right time, to the right person, on the right platform.
The point is that although there are some pockets of excellence around the globe, the reality is that many marketers haven’t yet embarked upon this kind of transformational journey towards enhanced personal online experiences. A panel moderated by Adweek will debate this very topic featuring speakers from IBM, Publicis and OMD entitled ‘Changing Marketing Agency Landscape: Building the most rewarding customer experiences‘. It may well prove to be a rallying cry for the industry and a catalyst for accelerated adoption of personalisation.
PERSONALISE OR DIE
To conclude, I decided to garner the opinion of a leading marketer from one of the world’s biggest advertisers. Bastien Schupp, vice president of global marketing communications at Groupe Renault, made it very clear that agencies and marketers who fail to react positively to this paradigm shift will be the ones who ultimately lose out.
“Communicating with individuals is undoubtedly the single biggest challenge ahead of us. The transformation of the creative and media buying processes will profoundly disrupt the way we do marketing. Getting big agency and client organisations to adapt to this change will define who stays in the game.”
The message is simple and somewhat stark. Personalise or die.
OMD has topped the nominations for this year’s M&M Global Awards, ahead of GroupM’s MediaCom and MEC.
The M&M Global Awards, now in its twenty-seventh year, celebrates the best multi-market media campaigns from around the world.
This year’s shortlist is headed by OMD, with 35 nominations across 16 categories. There is a total of 119 shortlists coming from the M&M Global Awards, OMD making up 29% of the overall tally (an 8% lead over the next agency, MediaCom).
Seven new categories were introduced to this year’s awards. These include Best Multiplatform Campaign, Best Use of an Influencer, Innovative Use of a Publishing Platform, Best Creative Use of Technology, Best International Growth Strategy, B2C Campaign of the Year and The Talent Award, reflecting the ever-changing and multifaceted global media landscape. We are, therefore, incredibly proud to be shortlisted in all but two categories , reflecting OMD’s leading position in delivering marketing performance for our clients.
OMD’s M&M Global Awards shortlist 2016:
B2B Campaign of the Year
HPE: Accelerating progress through technology
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Best Communications Strategy
WATCH IT: THE CLASSIC DISNEY VILLAINS HAVE EVIL KIDS!
Why just see a campaign when you can feel it!
Best Engagement Strategy
Best Local Execution of a Global Brand
Being Bryce Harper: A Virtual Reality Experience
London Community Noticeboard
Pepsi + EMPIRE Partnership
Red Cups: Let The Season Begin
Best Partnership Award
A Monster Deal – Hotel Transylvania 2 & Goosebumps
PC Does Whaaat?!
Dell, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft
Best Targeted Campaign
Avenger’s Hero Up
Nissan #GetMilanExcited UCL 360
The Force is strong and excellent at targeting campaigns!
Star Wars The Force Awakens
Best Use of Content
Best Use of Social Media
Best Use of Video
The name’s chat, Snapchat
NEW Best Creative Use of Technology
NEW Best International Growth Strategy
Infiniti EMEA Q30 Launch
NEW Best Multiplatform Campaign
Stop Clicking Around
Hilton Worldwide Portfolio
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
NEW Innovative Use of Publishing Platform
The name’s chat, Snapchat
The Piggies get Goosebumps!
The International Effectiveness Award
Avenger’s Hero Up
M9 One Launch
PC Does Whaaat?!
Dell, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The Smart Use of Data Award
M9 One Launch
The Talent Award
Battle of Brains
Image, Employer Branding
The shortlist will be judged by a prestigious jury that includes C-suite executives from Diageo, Hiscox, Jaguar Land Rover, MasterCard, Toyota and Unilever, as well as experts from media owners, agencies and independents.
The winners will be announced at the M&M Global Awards gala dinner event on the evening of 8 September 2016. In the meantime, you can find the full shortlist here.