NY Media Festival Looks at the State of Advertising and Marketing

“It’s easy to fall into this analysis paralysis area,” said David Gaines, chief planning officer for Maxus Americas, speaking today at the New York Media Festival in lower Manhattan.


David Gaines of Maxus Americas and Robert Bardunias of Iris.TV

Gaines was part of a panel called “Advanced Advertising,” and what’s on the ad community’s mind is numbers: It’s getting a lot of big data and having a hard time making sense of it all.

Rather than simply distributing a video asset as widely as possible, new data allows advertisers to have earlier conversation about how ads can be effective in different areas, Gaines said. But having access to so much data from multiple platforms can be overwhelming. Instead of drowning in it, change the conversation: Think about the role of each video and what elements will work in each environment.

Panelist James Shears, general manager for advanced TV at The Trading Desk, said he’s having lot of discussions these days about connecting the different pieces from the avalanche of data that’s available. First we need to figure out the important data sets, he said, then we need to automate what’s important to buyers and sellers. It’s difficult to sift through big data, but that will lead to better media decisions for both sides.

Meanwhile, panelist Ashley J. Swartz, founder and CEO of Furious Minds, thinks we’re miles away from solving problems with big data because we haven’t agreed on the problems that need to be solved. The industry is simply getting wrapped up in confusing jargon. Better to relax and look at this rationally: “We’re not curing cancer. It’s just advertising,” she shrugged.

Immediately afterwards, a panel met to discuss the future of marketing. A calmer crew, they agreed that the difference between advertising and marketing is that people want to interact with marketing (well, ideally). Ads are interruptive, marketing is additive, noted Jeremiah Rosen, partner and managing director of Reason2Be.

While Zach Blume, managing partner with Portal A, described marketing videos as “entertainment with a purpose,” he also thought brands should focus on making entertaining content without worrying too much about ROI or delivering a message. Simply the act of making entertaining content shows the brand is forward-thinking. “it’s not easy to make entertaining content,” he said: People fail at it every day.

“Brands will try, brands will fail,” Blume said, and a few—like Red Bull and Lego—will rise to the top.

The panel was divided in its view of data and the personalization it offers. Some found it creepy and intrusive when they saw ads that felt a little too aware of their interests. Alison Hoffman, chief marketing officer for Starz, thinks that personalization is less important than quality: “You can personalize to an extent, but if something is good people are going to flock to it and they’re going to love it,” she said.

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