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.
This article was originally posted at M&M Global – http://mandmglobal.com/2-4-million-square-foot-of-whoa-ces-2017-reviewed/
A few weeks ago, I was asked to take part in a debate with the Guardian on ‘The Sports Industry and Sustainability’. Joined by a panel of experts including Tania Braga, Head of Sustainability, Organising Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Russell Seymour, founder of the British Association for Sustainability in Sports, I was asked to provide a point of view from the standpoint of rights holders, sponsors and fans.
At Fuse, OMD’s Partnerships and Experiences agency, we know the power sport has to inspire, motivate and engage fans. It’s why we believe in the power of sponsorship to drive brand love, increase consideration and influence purchase decision-making. But what about harnessing the influence sport, clubs and teams have over their fans to drive environmental behaviour change? Can a football club really get their supporters to switch to a green energy supplier or to take up recycling?
An example from one of our clients that have done just that is PepsiCo in the US. Leveraging their NBA sponsorship of Miami Heat team, PepsiCo set up recycling machines that incentivise and reward fans who use them with discount vouchers for merchandise in the stadium. It’s a really great example of how a sponsor and big FMCG brand can engage sports fans, enhancing their experience at a venue whilst encouraging recycling and, importantly, driving a change in behaviour.
Nissan also used a sporting event, the UCL final last year, to promote their fully Electric Vehicle (EV). We didn’t lead with environmental messaging, but instead showcased the performance and convenience of using an EV in a modern city like Berlin. We leveraged the passion of football fans and the sponsorship platform that the Champions League provides to show fans how their physical kinetic energy could be converted into energy that fuelled the Nissan Leaf EV.
There’s a real role sport can play in making environmental and sustainability issues relevant to the everyday consumer. There’s also a massive challenge for the sustainability industry that isn’t used to talking the language of sports fans. That’s the role rights holders, sponsors and marketers can play in the sports industry/ sustainability discussion – making sustainability cool, relevant and part of what is already a consumer passion to drive effective and positive social change.
Read more about the live debate or the summary article on six ways to tackle sport’s waste problem. Any questions or want more information, do get in touch with Rachael Smith, our Purpose Director.
If you’re not a hard-core gamer, why would you ever venture into the deafening, frenetic chaos that is E3? The three-day electronics gaming convention held in Los Angeles each summer has a reputation for bombast and over-the-top extravaganza. As it hurdles into its twenty-first year amidst reports of sky-rocketing booth costs forcing major players to pull out of the main floor, questions have arisen around its continued relevance. Is there still a meaningful place for E3 in the wider marketing community’s landscape or is it simply a trade event for the geeks and journalists?
As I wandered through the illuminated, tech-laden halls, it seemed to me that, for now at least, E3 remains in the former camp; a destination still worthy of a visit. After all, when you’re dealing with an industry that’s valued at $99.3bn globally, that touches 1.2 bn gamers around the world, and possesses an enviable level of fan commitment and adulation (the average 13+ gamer in the US spends 6.3 hours a week playing video games), it’s critical to immerse yourself in that passion point and take learnings and inspiration from it.
E3 offers marketers a glimpse into the future. Into the future of devices, content, and consumer behaviour. E3 acts a portal into tomorrow’s living room, showing us the devices that will move from niche gaming to mass family use, the content that will move from game to film, and the likelihood of gamers embracing technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality into their gaming experience.
A tour of the showroom floor revealed four things:
1. Content reigns supreme.
This year, there was a palpable shift in emphasis from hardware to content. With Sony heralded as the winner on day one for its focus on exclusive game content, it was clear that the fans were most excited by the stories and the worlds that they will discover and the adventures that they’ll have online.
2. Devices are becoming Personal.
In a move that suggested a nod towards fashion and a response to the consumer desire for personalisation, Microsoft Xbox Design Lab announced that it’s allowing players to design and order their own Xbox One controllers. However, beyond the physical stamping of our selves onto devices, it’s the personalisation and application player data that’s really interesting.
3. VR is right around the corner.
VR gaming is a reality and whilst there was no single app held up as hero, news that Sony will launch its VR platform this October means that we’re on our way to hitting mass consumption levels. Whilst developers admitted that they’re still figuring out the implications of VR on the lone and shared gaming experience , and that they’ll need players to come on that journey with them, perhaps it is that very act of co-discovery that makes VR so revolutionary.
4. Competition heats up with the ongoing rise of eSports Leagues
Whilst the debate continues around whether eSports is a true sport or merely a competition, participation is becoming increasingly professional and high-profile, and spectatorship has become both event-based and shared. With global audiences exceeding 226mn, the opportunities to surround eSports stadiums and support players and fans is clear. Last year, Nissan leant into eSports by becoming a tournament sponsor, and this year Pepsi launched the ice-tea Brisk Mate to gamers to keep them refreshed and energized. We can expect more brands to actively explore this space and develop ways of giving fans access to the events and to the stars they’re now following in droves.
In an innovation-hungry world, it’s key that we look at how we can infuse the thinking of one sector into another. Inspiration comes from putting yourself in unfamiliar spaces and the ongoing evolution within the gaming industry cements its position as a source of inspiration and marketing activation.
From millennials to the boardroom, people are starting to question the role of business and brands in society. Should it stand for something more than profit?
The elevation of conscious capitalism is seeing a parallel rise in a new breed of marketer, one that puts social change on equal footing with brand and business growth. Purpose-led marketing has become increasingly prevalent across global, regional and local media platforms. Engaging campaigns and partnerships are grabbing attention across almost all sectors, from FMCG and Auto to Retail and Luxury. While purpose-led activities were previously restricted to the CSR department, they are now being brought front of house and are delivering on broader business objectives.
In 2015 the Cannes Lions Awards proved purpose is firmly on the advertising agenda. 50% of the Grand Prix winners were purpose-led campaigns and the Glass Lion was introduced to celebrate work positively impacting gender inequality.
Today, at the 2016 Cannes Lions Festival OMD launched a Purpose-Led Partnerships division within Fuse. The new offering will help clients develop partnership strategies and marketing activities for brands looking to leverage their business purpose to create sustainable and positive social change.
The launch kicked off with a Panel Discussion at the OMD Oasis where EMEA President Nikki Mendonca was joined by an esteemed panel including; Gareth Dunsmore – GM of Electric Vehicles at Nissan Europe, Winnie Palmer – Digital Director HP Enterprise, Lucas Watson VP of Brand Solutions & Innovation at Google and Finola McDonnell – VP of Marketing at CNBC. Panellists discussed the increasing prevalence of purpose marketing within their comms planning and the rising consumer demand for brands to be present in this space, shared their recent activations and predicted that the future will see brands behaving with even more purpose.
Lucas Watson started by saying “that any brand to be around in the future needs to be purposeful”. This sentiment was supported by Finola McDonell who stated, “businesses are taking purpose seriously if they are to retain market share”. This was followed by Gareth Dunsmore of Nissan who said, “purposeful marketing is a magnet for talent. Brands that do not recognise this won’t attract the best, most forward-thinking employees so essentially they won’t grow, and could even die out.” Dunsmore went onto say that collaboration and partnerships were integral to effect big societal change.
Winnie Palmer reiterated the point that purpose is integral to future growth stating that “businesses need recognize that a purpose-driven strategy is their path to long-term sustainable growth” pointing out that purpose isn’t for the sake of doing the right thing, but fundamentally affects the bottom line and drives business growth.
During the panel audience members were given hand-outs of OMD’s guide to Purposeful Marketing, a precursor to a larger Thought Leadership Report that will be used to promote the new offering to clients. In the report, we investigate the key drivers behind this marketing movement. Drawing on our experience, research and C-suite interviews, we outline how brands can unlock growth in this area.
For more information or a copy of the full report contact our Purpose Director, Rachael Smith: [email protected]
The Cannes Festival will soon be upon us and for the last three years the OMD Oasis has had the unprecedented reputation of offering our clients and guests exclusive access to some of the most exciting thought leaders, tech and media partners, along with visionaries from across our industry. These trailblazers are known key players in the redefinition of ours and our clients’ business.
These trailblazers are known key players in the redefinition of ours and our clients’ business. This year, OMD will focus on how we define, inspire and action brands with purpose and authenticity; with talks on storytelling, insight-led marketing, diversity and innovation involving clients and partners from the worlds of television, tech, social and Silicon Valley.
In addition to the most forward-thinking industry leaders, we’ve confirmed a number of A-List celebrities, themselves important brands—Gwyneth Paltrow, Ryan Seacrest, Anderson Cooper, Brett Favre, to name a few … who will talk about the real and immediate need for authenticity.
A number of our global clients including Activision, Bacardi, Barilla, Google, HPE, Intel, Nissan and PepsiCo will give us first-hand insight into what has become a truly transformative era in our industry and how they are embracing these challenges and drive growth.
We hope to see you there in-person, but if you are unable to attend, you can join us online as we will bring you real-time coverage of the OMD Oasis and the Lions Festival at the Palais across the entire week. Please join the conversation by following the hashtag #OMDOASIS or point your cursor to cannes.omd.com for the full agenda and roster of speakers.
Thank you from all of us at OMD!