The Future of TV Advertising conference is becoming a fixture in the media calendar. This year’s affair featured a renewed confidence in the strength that TV can deliver for clients. This was largely due to two factors: a thorough econometric study from Thinkbox which showed the ROI of TV, and the ongoing brand safety and viewability concerns plaguing digital media. Several themes became apparent throughout the conference, which I have expanded on below:
The ROI of TV
A new study from ebiquity, commissioned by Thinkbox, has shown TV unequivocally drove the best ROI. This was true in the short-term, but was even more pronounced in the long-term. Everyone knows how powerful TV can be at building brands, but it was strange to see marketers having to remind themselves of this fact, and question the levels of investment they were getting from digital.
Hitesh Bhatt from Samba TV made the point that actually ROI is highest when TV and Digital work together. TV is misunderstood due to the inability to measure as much as digital, and actually broadcasters should be working with agencies and digital partners as much as possible to really prove their value further. This was reiterated by Ryan Jamboretz, CCO of Videology, who also called for broadcasters to define Advanced TV before someone else does.
Addressable TV is getting closer to possible
For a long time addressable TV, or programmatic TV, has been a dream for clients and agencies. It seems like that dream is close to a reality today, certainly in the UK and US markets. In the US, the introduction of OpenAP is allowing advertisers to reach specific audiences across a range of broadcasters. In the UK, Sky has been offering this approach for the past couple of years. The recent launch of Group M’s Finecast looks to broaden the opportunity beyond Sky, and currently involves all broadcasters bar ITV.
Does this mean personalised TV will become the norm? Interestingly, most major advertisers thought not. Many argued that in reality, there is little wastage in TV, as all views could be valuable. Richard Brooke, global media director for Unilever, pointed out when Dove for Men launched, the target audience, men, knew instantly what the brand positioning was. The reason for this was they had seen so many female-targeted Dove ads in the prior decade. Echoed by Rick Mandler, VP of Strategy and Digital at ABC, who said that as an industry we know that data driven advertising will always be part of our future, but if we only focus on micro-targeting we will lose the broader brand perception which gives them meaning.
The other downside is cost. The ROI for addressable still did not deliver compared to more large-scale TV campaigns aimed at broad audiences. However, addressable TV has been brilliant at persuading smaller more niche clients to use TV for the first time. For example, Mclaren, selling a £175,000 sports car, used TV instead of direct mail for the first time.
Brand Safety and Viewability is weighing on everyone’s minds
This was a TV conference, so the bias was understandable, but most advertisers expressed their concerns with digital marketing. David Benson from Google was left to defend YouTube, and pointed out that AI improvements are now helping remove unsuitable materials in 87% of cases before they have even been flagged. But this may not be enough to persuade some large advertisers back to the platform. They want to be able to target audiences, and TV now seems to be opening up that opportunity in a safer environment.
Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, had previously said Facebook delivers a Superbowl-sized audience every night. Fox TV looked at the numbers, realised this stat wasn’t close to the reality, and published the data showing they deliver the equivalent of 700 Facebook audiences each day.
Ben Sutherland, CMO for Diageo, shows a cartoon illustrating the thoughts of many in the room on the difficulties with digital advertising:
After outlining his approach for building a trusted marketplace for Diageo, he also called for digital partners to show a step forward approach in terms of the seriousness around brand safety and ad fraud across the board, more than just through white and black lists.
Will TV keep losing young viewers to OTT?
If there was a dark note to the air of self-congratulation, it was the growing reach, and deep pockets of Netflix and Amazon. Both services continue to be successful, especially with younger audiences, and are taking viewers into an ad-free space. Their success to date has been built around drama and comedy (see image) but there was much talk that Amazon in particular may explore live sports as the next step. In the US they have broadcast NFL games this year. Apple, Facebook and Google also look interested in growing their OTT services and potentially using sport as a way in. Sport has huge attractions for these businesses: a built-in audience, they are willing to pay a premium to watch, and they have shown already they will move platforms to view.
The final and over-arching message of the conference was that there is definitely a future for TV, and an exciting one at that, as long as broadcasters and agencies/brands take control and define their future in the right way with their consumers at front of mind.
In recent years we’ve witnessed the rise and rise of purpose-led marketing and, in 2017 – a year when half of the Grand Prix winners at Cannes were purpose-led – we have reached the cusp of the revolution. Purpose is no longer a nice-to-have, adjacent marketing strategy; for a brand to succeed, purpose must now form the core of a brand’s essence and behaviour, thus informing all communications.
Why are we seeing this shift? As ever, it comes down to the consumer, who is increasingly aware of the impact their decisions can have on the world. According to Nielsen, 66% are willing to spend more on a product from a sustainable brand, rising to 73% of millennials. This clearly means that ‘responsible consumption brands’ will enjoy sustained growth – a LinkedIn study showed that 58% of companies with a clearly articulated purpose enjoyed growth of more than 10% over a three-year period. Unilever’s ‘sustainable living brands’ like Ben & Jerry’s and Dove grew 60% faster than the rest of the business in 2016 – CMO Keith Weed says ‘to succeed globally…brands must act quickly to prove their social and environmental credentials and show consumers they can be trusted with the future of the planet and communities’. Doing good is cool and there is huge opportunity for brands who understand and enable this.
It’s not just the bottom line that benefits from putting purpose at the core of brand essence: workforce happiness and efficiency improve too. There is increasing demand from workers that their employers demonstrate a higher purpose than just profit. According to a Deloitte study, 90% of millennials want to use their skills for good, while more than 50% would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values. This translates into efficiency for the employer: 53% of workers would work harder if they felt their organisation was making a difference. As we approach 2025, when millennials will account for 75% of the workforce, focusing on keeping them fulfilled is crucial.
So it’s crucial to keep purpose at the heart of your brand behaviour – but it’s also crucial that the resultant marketing campaigns are executed in the right way. The key here is authenticity: consumers see right through ‘purpose washing’. Of course, it’s easy for brands like Toms or Warby Parker with social profit as their raison d’être to have authentic, purpose-led storytelling driving their communications, but any brand can be authentic in this space: credibility is found at the overlap of what society needs and what a brand is best at. The Bank of Aland’s Grand Prix-winning Aland Index project and OMD Ireland’s Pure Love campaign for Water Wipes are great examples of meaningful communications resulting from total alignment of purpose, brand personality and values.
Delivering on promises is also crucial; a Trinity Mirror survey revealed that 58% of adults do not trust a brand until they have seen proof that it has kept its promises, while 40% would stop using a brand because of its behaviour. US brand Boost’s Boost Your Voice campaign, another Grand-Prix winner, delivered on its pledge to increase equal voting access by turning their stores into voting booths in the 2016 presidential election: Boost precincts saw 23% higher voter turnout than in 2012.
To ensure authenticity, we need to plan for the human and what they want from brands, not the consumer. Harnessing data to inform rich insight is the only way to do this, and it’s why OMD’s dedicated purpose unit puts human data and insight at the heart of all its work. It enabled us to forge the partnership between our client Cisco and National Geographic. We fully leveraged mutual beliefs and each brand’s assets and equity, creating the Emerging Explorer campaign which demonstrated how technology can improve people’s wellbeing. Data also allows us to deliver localised campaigns – highly desirable in a globalised and sometimes impersonal world. And, of course, it enables us to measure how purpose affects a brand and to make informed decisions.
Pairing data-fuelled insights with the latest technological innovations will inform the future of purpose marketing. Brands are already looking at new ways to harness their data creatively to strengthen their social impact: Whirlpool’s US Care Counts campaign collected data from its washing machines in schools to help teachers understand the effect of clean clothes on pupil attendance, winning them the Creative Data Grand Prix at Cannes.
Using VR as a tool for empathy is also an exciting opportunity – careful use of the technology, perhaps to enable consumers to ‘live’ in a post-climate change world or to experience life as a refugee, could increase engagement with the cause a brand is championing. According to a YuMe survey, VR received a 27% higher emotional reaction than 2D and engaged the viewer for 34% longer.
As marketers we can no longer afford to overlook the potential of artificial intelligence to help us optimise marketing activity and ultimately ensure healthy growth for our brands into the future. This has been the focus of major research at OMD over the last year, with learnings incorporated into our clients’ campaigns. As more brands put purpose at the heart of their communications, it is inevitable AI will have an impact on purpose-led marketing too. We’re just at the beginning of the AI revolution and the possibilities are endless.
It is evident that there is a huge opportunity to engage consumers and talent in a meaningful way by making purpose the core of the brand’s essence. Authenticity must be the mantra, achieved by aligning that purpose with core values and delivering on promises. The wealth of data at our fingertips and the power of new technologies can only enhance the power of these campaigns and our ability to understand the positive impact they have on society and brand equity. With purpose at the heart of authentic marketing, the future is bright – for both brands and society.
During the announcement of Google Home at the opening of the Google I/O conference, Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, mentioned that 20% of mobile queries are now voice searches. While the market for virtual assistant slowly heats up, a MindMeld survey found that there has been a significant increase in the number of people now using voice assistant and voice search capabilities within the past 6 months. Transactional queries will become even more common as virtual assistants integrate a range of third-party services such as OpenTable, Spotify, WhatsApp, Uber and Ticketmaster. While the topic of voice and virtual assistants can be a conversation starter with tech hobbyists, it is also true that the general public is now starting to take interest in this field.
Share anything you see through the week with the hashtag #OMDFWD
Pokémon Go continues to top headlines as it expands into Japan and launches the game’s first sponsorship deal. In partnership with Pokémon, McDonald’s has turned 3,000 of their fast food branches into Pokémon Go “gyms”. With further deals in the U.S and Europe expected, it is likely that McDonald’s partnership with Pokémon could be an incredibly lucrative way to drive customers to the chain. In other news from APAC, Uber has announced they have reached their two billionth customer, just sixth months after hitting their first billion. CEO Travis Kalanick has said that 147 Uber rides started at exactly the same second in 16 countries to tie for the record-breaking billionth trip. The largest portion of those rides – 54 – happening in China, an indication of Uber’s growth in this country. With such tremendous growth and innovation being seen from both Pokémon and Uber we look forward to seeing what the next six months holds for these brands. As ever, please share anything you spot with #OMDFWD
and finally…last one to check-in gets the middle seat