The Drum Show – AdTech2019
SONOO SINGH [00:00:44] Hello and welcome to The Drum Show powered by Disruptive Live. I’m Sonoo Singh, Associate Editor at The Drum. And today, as you can see, we’re live from at AdTech London Conference talking about the biggest stories of media and marketing this week. As always, we’ve got a great line-up for you today. And joining me, I have Alexis Faulkner, Head of Fast UK at Mindshare, Les Duff, Head of Media Investment at Total Media. And Jim Brennan, Managing Director and Chief Revenue Officer at Brown Tech Company, Proquo A.I. but before we chat, let’s take a look at the stories that have been making headlines this week. Thomas Cook has collapsed. The 178 old travel brand failed to pull together a rescue package, forcing it into administration and leaving twenty one thousand jobs at risk and hundreds of thousands of dollars stranded. The brand was doomed to fail, reported The Drum’s Brands Editor, Jen Faull, whose analysis explains how Thomas Cook clung to selling holiday packages without updating its channels and service strategies. At the root of Thomas Cook’s failure was its inability to be future facing, and it’s a warning shot to all other travel brands in precarious positions. Indeed, a wakeup call to every other legacy brand. Now, does a brand need a flavour? MasterCard’s Chief Marketing Officer, Raja Rajamannar thinks it does. According to our Senior Reporter, Rebecca Stewart, writing from advertising with New York, MasterCard has cooked up to branded macaroons, which it will serve up to customers. The passion and optimism macaroons are part of the financial giants effort to delve into multisensory brand expressions. The macaroons will be available for purchase and priceless.com with pick up a different locations in the US. Having pivoted to experience based marketing and away from storytelling, Rajamannar said he envisions MasterCard will move deeper into the culinary space and have a large chain of restaurants around the world. He added It changes the brand perception and takes interaction to a new level entirely, somebody please tell them to stop. Now, the BBC is betting big on branded podcasts to be an international money spinner. BBC Global news hopes increase investment into audio, will pay off with audiences and attract advertisers wishing to piggy back off its reputation. Reporting from BBC Upfront in London, reporter imagine “Watson” reveals branded podcasts will soon be developed by the broadcaster’s Content Marketing Team, Story Works. To prove the value to advertisers. Story Works’ commission neuroscience researchers, neuro inside to undertake a study across four continents. And it found that when the brand was mentioned in the podcast, it delivered on average 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory encoding than the surrounding content, of course. Now quick shout out to DC Thompson, especially because as I said, we are at AdTech London Live. I would like to congratulate the publisher, which has launched Platinum, a premium monthly glossy mag for women over 55. Backed by substantial marketing campaign. Long live print. Now the favourite part of the show. Time to talk to our guests. This week on The Drum Show, we welcome Alexis Faulkner, Head of Fast UK at Mindshare. Liz Duff, Head of Media Investment ar Total Media. And Jim Brennan, the MD and CRO at brand tech company, Proquo A.I., and a former Unilever marketer. Welcome. Now, in the last few days, the advertising week, Omnicom proposed a plan to improve how walled gardens like Facebook could share data with marketers, blockhain. Clearly blockchain is the answer to all the ills or technology. Some cool things. First of all, that’s the solution we’re looking for.
JIM BRENNAN [00:05:02] I think for me, I don’t know if that’s the answer because I, in truth, don’t really understand a blockchain. And I think that’s true of many brands and many brand owners. And until they can, they I mean, whoever it is that’s suggesting that it is the answer. Can show how it benefits the customer. It’s impossible to say whether it sounds or not, because brands should only really care about the customer, not the technology. If the technology serves the customer, then great. It’s an added way to make the customer’s experience better.
SONOO SINGH [00:05:35] So that “was Lexus of them”. Let’s pick up that point. That’s what the hell is blockchain? Is it just one of those new bamboozling technologies that we all have to face up to?
LIZ DUFF [00:05:49] I think we’ve been talking about it for two, three years now, and I don’t think anyone’s quite got to the bottom of what it’s going to do, particularly in digital advertising. I think, you know, there’s a lot of people thinking it’s the answer. But until we actually show see examples of what it can do for a brand in terms of the digital transparency, digital measurement. Then we’re still going to struggle with what it’s actually going to do for us.
ALEXIS FAULKNER [00:06:16] I to get excited because the idea of what blockchain can do is democratize data. So, it is a chain that can pass information to all the people in the landscape. So we can actually see one version of maturity, one ledger, where we will understand it’s a measurement as a money and we can see where each of those pieces are changing. That’s a really beneficial thing and a very, very complex landscape. But the challenges we’ve got is maybe the spaces we tried to use that we haven’t actually agreed as an ecosystem how that works, which means the technology might be there. But our agreement and as the industry and the way that we could implement that tech hasn’t yet matured. And then secondly, as a technology, it doesn’t work fast enough yet. So in the programmatic space, the challenge we have is that it can’t keep up with the millions of bids that are happening every millisecond. And that means it doesn’t actually fulfil its potential. Yes. However, the potential is really large, which is why I got quite excited about it. We just sort of go through a few stages maybe to realize that in our industry.
SONOO SINGH [00:07:08] I mean, you know, some of the points that you have picked on Lexi was quite interesting. Jim and I were talking about this earlier. When you just come out of the station and you walk towards the AdTech companies are things that sort of the flags flying outside are all around transparency and trust. And as an industry, we’re still grappling around it. I’m just wondering whether blockchain is just one of the elements. Perhaps that could lead us towards some path of transparency and trust. I do want to see more., and explore the world and its concept. Is that the path towards something that the entire industry needs to get together on?
JIM BRENNAN [00:07:44] Again it’s to under- education, it’s understanding. Why it brings transparency or integrity to the brands, but also to the technologies that good brands out there. If we can bring that transparency and understand that, then maybe I’d take Alexis, I think it’s a great point. You have one single ledger. And if you can help people understand, how about one single ledger is put together, then great.
LIZ DUFF [00:08:17] I think it really needed to bring, some knock down walls in the walled garden. It’s a horrible analogy. I think that would definitely help, but it’s how we can actually make that happen. I think we’ll see the walled garden as potentially in the short term getting even more influential. Because of what we’re seeing in terms of GDPR in the moment and non-compliance potentially with it. I think we might see the restored not resurgence, but further growth towards gardens. And then being able to have a single point, is that a single point of truth across that ecosystems can be so important.
SONOO SINGH [00:08:55] You obviously don’t agree?
ALEXIS FAULKNER [00:08:57] I really agree with that. I just don’t think it’s possible because the reason that the two things a blockchain is not quick enough so we can’t put it in to track that for journey, which means you don’t have- if people that are using it now are basically manually pulling it back together into a blockchain databases, which isn’t quite fulfilling the potential of what I would like to see and I think we’re talking about. And then the other piece is the politics of it. What is in Facebook interest to implement this information as data? why is in the interest of those big wheel gardens to do that? The challenge we have around them, I don’t think is so much to do with the lack of technology in that space. It’s the lack of commercial need to release that. And is it in their interest to do that. As well as in our interests marketers but I think that’s more of a challenge, if I’m honest.
SONOO SINGH [00:09:38] But I would argue that, you know. As the network ages, you would probably say that it is in the needs of the best means or brands to indeed go to walled garden. But do you think both advertisers have almost been fooled into believing that if you go to a Google or Facebook? Even Amazon, that’s where you get scale. That’s where you get personalization. Are you slightly over indexing on wall gardeners?
ALEXIS FAULKNER [00:10:05] I wouldn’t say personally I have been flawed. The challenge we have is we have made it really complex for ourselves. So I myself and my background is one in the programmatic space. So I like it when we’re out easing “DSD” to buy broadly and not in a walled garden. But Facebook makes it very, very easy. And I have a very clear product where you can look at reach and frequency and all these things that we want to measure. And Google has some excellent data that the fund- kind of fundamental search data is “Pender”. And the same with Amazon that purchased a data. It’s so valuable and rich to us that they have assets we can access anywhere else. So I think leaning into the simplicity too much is over breaking it and we do over index. But that said, they have a big role to play in whatever we do for me in the future as well. So it’s the balance.
SONOO SINGH [00:10:44] In Total Media you are still an independent agency, aren’t you? So I mean, what do you feel about about wall gardens and how are you fishing your clients into? Well, for that matter.
LIZ DUFF [00:10:53] Well, we thought we very much do it on a case by case basis. And I suppose that’s the advantage of being an independent in that we don’t have these massive commitments to the Facebook and Googles. We obviously still see the value of them. We work with them. But we do have that flexibility whereby we work with other suppliers who potentially give us more freedom and give us more information. And we can actually get a more consolidated activity. I agree that there’s there’s a reason to be using them. And you can’t just exclude them because you don’t like the way they work or the way they report.
SONOO SINGH [00:11:30] As a former marketeer, the former, you leave the market, you have a different point of view.
JIM BRENNAN [00:11:34] I think, again, it comes in comes your media needs to be bought based on the customer’s need. And I think if if you do things with technology, save, then then you miss the point that people can feel invaded and it’s understanding. The relationship people have with brands is the most important thing a marketer can do. And then you can serve in the right things at the right time, in the right place without breaking down the wall of transparency and integrity. And that should always be the drivers. What is my relationship with my customer? And work my best. Make that relationship thrive.
SONOO SINGH [00:12:09] That doesn’t just equate I want to go back to what you were nodding furiously that saying everything.
ALEXIS FAULKNER [00:12:14] Actually, if I was putting a bit of a challenge out to those big guns, where we struggle with them is that they really get on a technical implementation of the targeting of stuff, but they’re not actually as good maybe on those partnerships. So that fit where you’re doing something unique, something maybe a bit different in media where we’re matching a brand to what their customer experience should be and how we drive that. And that’s where we would like to. We’d like to see them grow they’re offering probably, whatever to get us the mass scale reach and individually targeting consumer pieces.
SONOO SINGH [00:12:40] Well, which brings me to the point of all of this. There’s almost a race towards standardization. In fact, Unilever has been making big noise around it and around AdTech, there’ve been lots of talks around standardization. I’m suddenly curious. Do you think we are all over obsessed about standardization in general, especially to your point? By looking at it case by case and making sure that we are looking at the consumer and the brand relationship.
JIM BRENNAN [00:13:09] Standardization worries me as a concept. Just because it doesn’t feel like it’s really consider more people want. Can we just have a standard thing that go that applies everywhere? I don’t think that gives consumers or customers or real people.
SONOO SINGH [00:13:30] Because behavior is a different on the platform.
JIM BRENNAN [00:13:32] Yeah, totally. It gives them the respect that they can actually now and every single time to in any single sector those penalty free substitutes. So you can change search engines, you can change social media providers, you can change- you can buy any product and the click of a finger and it will come in hours, not days, not weeks. So I think that the more you standardize things, the less consumers feel like you actually understand what it means to be in a relationship with them.
SONOO SINGH [00:13:59] But this clamour for standardization is getting louder and louder. It gets mean you.
ALEXIS FAULKNER [00:14:04] Why do you think when you’re interacting with the consumer, when you’re thinking about what’s unique about your offering, that has to be unique. The whole point is that you’re trying to have your relationship. But behind the scenes where we’re actually trying to do that delivery and we’re we’re trying to operate, standardization really helps because how can you do that at scale? Probably about 70% of that you can standardize to get best practice and procedure. And then that last 30% is where you really add the value. So standardize the bits to a generic and then at the difference and then really specialize in your last sentence where I’d approach that.
SONOO SINGH [00:14:35] Lizz where do you stand?
LIZ DUFF [00:14:35] I think when you look at examples coming out, the AdTech self-loathing, if you look at something like Sky app smart and how well that’s done for advertisers, that’s doing exactly that. And saying, you know, have a low level of base level of standardised advertising. But then we really look at your audience, you can see him and what their behaviours are and serves them or deliver them relevant ads that really resonate with them. And when you look at Sky, I’ve done research on how effective that is and you can really see it having an impact with audiences. And I think we need to do more of that. But without doing it, to the extent that, you know, you’re saying to an advertiser you need to have two under different creative messaging.
SONOO SINGH [00:15:16] Yes, of course. Because obviously, that’s where the complexity is… I mean, the other interesting argument, I suppose, could also be that at the end of the day, what you’re fighting, we all fighting for is clawing back from the data lost market share, which the likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook have. And it it’s interesting, but especially for the walking around this AdTech London, as you would think with all the the innovation. Indeed, creativity that is in this industry, there hasn’t been a massive force or trying to break out and make that happen. And this sort of fight against the Googles and Facebook of the world. Do you think that it would ever change that dynamics of who or old data?
JIM BRENNAN [00:16:08] I think it in any industry now, it’s never been more possible for people to take their product and put it out. You don’t have to come to a show like this, which is relatively expensive to exhibit to put your message out. You can do it from your bedroom or whatever. So I think is the biggest chance ever of doing whether someone comes up with it will be whether it delivers value, whether there’s a big enough idea that can scale. If you look at the speed of TikTok, for example, got a billion users, it’s way quicker than Instagram. Instagram took a year to get 10 million and TikTok took a year to get to maybe a billion. It’s like if it’s a good enough idea that can travel. Now is the time for that to happen and it’ll only get more and more prevalent.
SONOO SINGH [00:16:59] So Lex what’s your take on this?
ALEXIS FAULKNER [00:17:00] I agree, the reason it takes a let say well is it brought something unique to consumers that they wanted to play with, where they brought an audience that people were interested in seeing. And it’s a very immature product for a marketer. You know, what I say but for its consumers, it’s brilliant. It just lets them play in the area they want to be playing in. And it has to be something that unique. The reason that Amazon has kind of flown up so big is because it made it really easy environment. It changed the way we wanted to buy. And it’s kind of I almost myself don’t necessarily want to buy Amazon, but it’s so easy. I find myself doing it all the time because it’s such a no friction free process. Say someone to bring something to the market that is truly unique and adds value to a consumer can disrupt it. The challenge we’ve got with existing players in the market is put two of them are competing against each other to change things. So newspapers make those like say, if you could kind of consolidate and you’re seeing projects like “ozone” and try to do that. But there were so many natural frictions, historic in that business for years. It does make it very, very challenging to get to kind of a true outpu there.
SONOO SINGH [00:17:56] A great segway into one of my last questions is because, again, one of the big shout house shows like this, at “Southbay” earlier this year was all around ethics and technology for good. But what does that even mean, especially when you see something like lead works now fast becoming the poster child of everything that a technology giant shouldn’t be. It’s kind of interesting, too, and using the word disruption word that you used. I mean, do you think we are at that stage once well as an industry and are looking at different models of disruption, especially when it comes to technology. I’ll be all asking the right questions to ask.
LIZ DUFF [00:18:37] I think with, you know, an example like we work, we sort of show it using it as an example of disruption in tech, but it’s not strictly. It’s actually quite- it’s quite similar to how the banks work. I think everyone jumps on something successful and tries to can potentially try and make it something a bit newer than it actually is. I think to be truly disruptive, what brands need to be doing is looking a lot more into the future and where the opportunities are. I think a brand like we were linked to a current situation and what was going on with remote working and what I.T. can offer people. But it didn’t look at potentially what the longer economic implications of a product like that. And I think to be truly disruptive, you need to think about ten years, fifteen years down the line, what’s going to be happening and how can you disrupt the future, but now.
SONOO SINGH [00:19:34] Jim?
JIM BRENNAN [00:19:34] Yeah, I think Alexa made a really good point about TikTok, it was unique. I didn’t understood the playfulness that people wanted, and we work in offices, there are offices and we work and, you know, we didn’t want somewhere where we had to commit because we want to grow. And all the benefits that come when we work. So there is a market. I mean, look at them, their rising up everywhere and largely people who are and we work something very good experience with them. How the business is run is a different it’s a different story. So I think, as always, brands can find a unique way to better people’s lives. And if they harness technology, great. But there are other non technological solutions. Look, you know, we’ve talked about the big players. Look how well artisan brands are doing now because they have a route to market. Okay, for Amazon. But they’re bringing things that are unique and and serving a really strong customer purpose. So, yeah, I think that’s the criteria that the brand should look for.
SONOO SINGH [00:20:35] I’m certainly curious. Are there any conversations that are happening within Mindshare, for instance, where you are talking about innovation? And what that really meant was not just offer new technologies, but innovation really needs some kind of step change where it concerns behaviour change, cultural change. Are those convesation actually happen?
ALEXIS FAULKNER [00:20:56] So one of things that we do every year is our futures project. So we’re looking at the consumer changes and what consumers want and how their interactions are. So then we turn that back and say, “well, how do we think that affects media?” But also what should brands be considering? There’s lots of trends that come out of that. And actually, we’ve set up our own internal department called Grow, which is looking for these companies that are growing fast and maybe disruptive in their own space and changing the model. So someone like a dollar shave club who came out and said, you know, we want to ship out the raises for everyone as opposed to you going and buying at your supermarket every month. That’s a company that’s going to be very native and things like search and social. They built their own business around that. And then we have say, how can we help them grow in scale when they hit the saturation point and so, that’s all we have, this unit is wholly dedicated for looking at pieces like that. And I guess what we are seeing in that space is it’s the two things we’ve mentioned. It’s a very real insight of behaviour. So in that case that, you know, it’s easier to be receiving these raises and the pace that their business model is ready yet by that. Or is the application of technology that really changes that to something like that. Then if you guys have seen Lemonade, which is a home insurance product and they’re fully based on chat bots to get you through that process. So they really design from the bottom up technology first and that starts being quite disruptive. So that’s the hardest thing for us, is the things that hit you when you are trying to scale. So something like that is coming across legislation issues. I think every Air BnB have struggled with that as well, where they’ve you know, they’ve now got community issues and ethics. Problems flying up that weren’t necessarily associated with any show business model. So it’s an interesting areas play in and not one that’s entirely predictable for anyone.
SONOO SINGH [00:22:29] Now, as we are live at AdTech London, I have to ask, is there anything that really caught your eye apart from people who’ve been standing around and staring at us all this time? But are there any talks or anything else that stands out for you today?
JIM BRENNAN [00:22:45] For me is the shared scale of exhibitors. I mean, I’m here for the last two days. And it is extraordinary how many companies are popping up. I saw a very one that stands out, not necessarily for the best reasons, was a ice cream storage company from China that says it’s the quickest ice cream store in the world.
SONOO SINGH [00:23:09] Did that free ice cream swag or something?
JIM BRENNAN [00:23:11] It’s a fake ice cream, that’s the disaster. I was drawn to it because of the ice cream and there’s everything from the weird and wonderful. It got a thumbs down, but there’s a lot here and good luck to them getting that point across. We’re also exhibiting here so I know what it’s like.
LIZ DUFF [00:23:31] I’m aware that there’s just so much here. No, I do say that I saw something slightly disappointing. And I won’t name the company, but I saw some women dressed up in the BBC police outfits, which was something I thought we got past this in conferences and in tech. But probabaly we’re not there yet.
SONOO SINGH [00:23:50] That is a shame. We end on a high note.
ALEXIS FAULKNER [00:23:53] No man should go around see much. I’m always entertaining these things with a different company names. There are so many small tech companies. Some of the names they’re choosing nowadays are highly entertaining.
SONOO SINGH [00:24:02] And that adds to yours Jim, Proquo A.I. Well, thank you all. Thank you very much for joining us. Now, next stop. Now, if there is one thing we all hate, this business is jargon. Each week we’ll be. Now, if there is one thing we all hate in this business, it is jargon. Each week we’ll be asking one industry luminary to share the bullshit buzzword they would love to banish. This week, our bullshit buzzword of the week is quiet.
TOBBY HORRY [00:24:46] My name is Toby Horry, I’m the Brand and Content Director to “Tui”. And my bullshit buzzword is dead. As in advertising is dead. Digital is dead. Content is dead. Because in marketing nothing dies. Things just evolve over time. And so I think it’s a bit of a fallacy to say that anything is dead.
SONOO SINGH [00:25:01] Coming back to our guests for a moment. Now bullshit buzzwords. I’m sure, sitting here you could come up with those, but you allowed only one who wants to go first? The one that you would like to banish?
LIZ DUFF [00:25:11] Well I go, I actually heard it for about 25x this week, andd it’s only Thursday. Which is “growth sock”. It’s a great concept, but it’s just a terrible, terrible word .
SONOO SINGH [00:25:24] In the brain, it goes.
JIM BRENNAN [00:25:25] Mine is 2 words, market research. I think that is an antiquated concept of how to understand consumers because it implies that you have to go out and find them. It’s backward looking, it’s slow, it’s expensive. And I believe that you should know exactly what your consumers are. Thinking about and feeling about your right hand right now.
SONOO SINGH [00:25:45] Alexis?
ALEXIS FAULKNER [00:25:46] I’m getting a little bored of all the acronyms we use everywhere, but in a social experience, I guess of once talks about their FOMO, their fear of missing out. And for me, we need to get over the fear of missing out and focus on what we actually are doing. There’s so much going on. We don’t need to be fearful of what’s not happening.
SONOO SINGH [00:26:00] Indeed. Thank you so much. And now it’s time for a work of the week. Every day, The Drum shares the world’s best new advertising and design work. On our dedicated platform Creative Works, you could even post your own work there. For the world to enjoy, our readers vote on the projects they like the most to crown our work of the week. However, this week’s Work of the week winner is my choice. *plays video*
AUDIO [00:26:32] “It’s an ultra absorbing core. Have you got a pad?”
SONOO SINGH [00:27:03] Abbott made videos, taboo breaking blood normal campaign for body form has been cleared to air on Australian television despite becoming the country’s most complained about ad of the year. It prompted a variety of complaints totalling more than 600 to ad standards. The Australian ad watchdog, the ad showing a woman in stained underwear and another with blood running down her legs had been criticised for being offensive. But ad standards noted that the depiction is an accurate presentation of a real physical occurrence, no vote for your favourite ads. Each week on the drums creative work section. And next week we promise to run your choice. Next stop. The Drums in partnership with “Shutter Stock” present to you story times. The art and science of storytelling, on October the 2nd. The afternoon event at the Barbican Centre will showcase some of the best and brightest storytellers. Come and listen to Jan Gooding, Chair of LGBT Equality Charity Stonewall and one of the best known marketers of all time. Tell us how to come out as you and what leadership looks like in these fraught times. Other panels include the “Light of Snack, Cannon and indeed Shutter Stock” talking about how our industry and our culture are at the frontier of something exciting when it comes to storytelling. The entry deadline for the The Drum social buzz awards has been extended, and the same goes for The Drum’s agency business awards and The Drum experience awards as well. For more details on entering contact Laura Gregson. And that, friends, is all we have time for this week. Do join us on this channel next Friday for more media and marketing insights on The Drum Show. Thank you, everyone, and bye bye.