This morning Rachel attended Time Inc's Inspired Conversations session : God of planning. Hosted by Paul Feldwick. Below she gives us a short snyopsis on what she learned at the session:
At this year’s Advertising Week Europe, Stuart Butler – EMEA Head of Planning at Maxus, led a panel of some of the biggest names in media, discussing the premise of ‘Invisible Media’.
Joined by Dave Coplin (Microsoft), Anna Watkins (Guardian Labs) and Peter Cory (Google), the panel considered the possibilities of the future of media and technology, and the effect ‘Invisible Media’ would have on different stakeholders throughout the industry. You can still view the complete panel on the Advertising Week Europe Website, or take a look at some of the key points discussed below.
“Media isn’t only interactive, it’s intelligent, it’s even clever enough to outperform us”
Advancements in technology mean that media can now predict our behaviours based on past activities, and adapt itself accordingly. However, all tech evolves to make our lives easier, so if tech and media continue to become more intuitive, they may also become invisible, eradicating our need to even attend to it. As we become acclimatised to new technologies, we start to forget it’s even there.
How will our interaction with media change?
- Physically – Less present
Voice interaction on a mobile phone has already started to make the keyboard function redundant, and we begin to view the QWERTY keyboard set up in the same way that we used to look at typewriters.
Virtual reality is already becoming the norm - "We need stop fixating on screens and see that the consumeris about to step through the looking glass."
Tech is already moving beyond the wearable and towards 'embedded' such as the MC10 Biostamp.
- Functionally – Less interaction required
"The end of the internet as we know it" - Eric Schmidt
The prediction is that the web will become so pervasive it will disappear, like electricity. We will become so accustomed to all devices being able to communicate with each other and to anticipate the information we want to be shown, that we will no longer be aware of it around us.
Media and technology can read data and provide solutions quickly and without human interruption. Increasingly tech will be able to understand our needs and motivations, such as the Biostamp, which reads a patient’s vital signs and alters their medical dosage accordingly.
Artificial intelligence is being developed that is replicating human decision making and values, such as Bina48 or the iCub, and we are already looking beyond digital to quantum computing offer tech far more sophistacted abilities to 'think'.
- Culturally – Less opportunity for mass messaging
As media becomes more adapted to individual needs and interests, it will become more difficult for advertisers to push a message out to a diverse audience. Catch-up TV and online streaming services have moved us from a nation of 60 million viewers watching one of five TV channels, to 60 million audiences of one person, watching what they like, when they like.
Stuart believes that the internet has returned us to a more human form of communication.
The internet has brought us back to more traditional story-based methods of communicating, preceding the advent of ‘broadcast messaging' and the printed press, which was a bit of an anomaly in human communication.
Beyond that, consumers can even bypass the corporation, and with it brands. Consumers can connect to fund, develop, manufacture, market and distribute products and services themselves.
What does this mean for the media industry?
“Technology is becoming us because it’s built to serve us” according to Stuart. We should celebrate new ways to get closer to the consumer and new, more powerful communication strategies.
The panel discussed Ada Lovelace. Credited with creating the first algorithm designed to be carried out with a machine, Ada’s work directly contradicted what her father, Lord Byron was fighting for. Whilst Byron defended the Luddite’s and their plight to destroy the machines that were putting them out of work, his daughter was helping to create one of the most significant advancements in automated technology in history.
Ada saw technology as a ‘collaborative tool’, a means of making work more efficient, freeing up time to work on other things that need a human input, and this arguably is how we should address the increasing automation of media.
If we allow technology to work on the more administrative side of what a media agency does (data analysis and recommendations), we will have more time to work on what makes each individual agency great, the creative solutions that keep engaging audiences because they surprise them.
Giving the audience what they need, not just what they want
If consumers are now only engaging with exactly what they want to see, how can media outlets and brands hope to get in front of new audiences?
Well, our panel believe that there will still be room for an authoritative voice in the world of invisible media, we won’t lose common cultural experiences (for example, every British teenager watching Grange Hill at the same time because there simply was no other option) but the way that we engage with these experiences will be different.
“It’s the themes that will align us”. Brands and news providers can still decide the message they want to put across, but they must adapt the way it is presented in order to engage different audiences.
“No longer a purveyor of a single message for the masses, it has become a vehicle for rumour”
And with storytelling, and re-telling, comes misinformation.
During the London riots, for a full two hours, it was a widely known fact that there was a tiger on the streets. The story spread like wildfire across social media, and was circulated alongside a heavily doctored image of a large tabby cat.
Although social media does pave the way for ‘open journalism’, we will always need some news outlets for content curation and to add authority and reason to the stories that are being spread across the web. A trusted source that can provide facts in a sea of opinions.
It is here, Anna Watkins insists, that true journalism will always exist.
The end of the controlled corporate brand?
The democratization of information across the internet has put the power of a brands image in the hands of the consumer. We don’t live in a world where brands can control their message anymore, only encourage it, and the best way to do this is to be authentic (a strong theme throughout the entire conference).
Consumers are becoming more aware of the brands they bring into their homes, and increasingly companies are having to demonstrate the core values behind their products and display the human side of their business. People don’t react to brands, they react to people, and no amount of technology will change that.
The good news is, there will continue to be a need for media agencies. The challenging news (optimistically put) is that they will undergo some pretty big changes.
As programmatic buying becomes evermore popular, media agencies will need to be there to step in, use the high quality data we are collecting extremely intelligently, but to add a human touch in order to offer a creative solution.
In reality, what may look to a machine as ‘a bit risky’ may actually be a huge opportunity for a brand to reach a new audience, and it’s down to our media planners to be able to spot them.
Nile Rodgers in Conversation with Spotify –Tony Dean
It was a privilege to attend this session and hear the disco legend talk through his life as a one man musical creative powerhouse. From humble beginnings being born under Queensboro Bridge to his 13 year old mother, through to international stardom and multi-platinum selling records – this fella has seen and done it all.
Digital Marketing Game Changers hosted by Amobee – Alex Smith
Women in Media and Sports - What rules are left to be broken? – Rachel Cawley
This week I was lucky enough to attend Advertising Week Europe. The week is dedicated to showcasing the industry’s best and brightest thought leaders alongside well known figures from popular culture such as Nile Rodgers, Rio Ferdinand and Katie Price.
Music : Make or Break ? AdVolve – The Revolution of Music in Advertising – Stephanie Marks
Print will still thrive in the new age of news – Alex Grieves
Adland in 2020: Break down process, foster creativity, get things done – Alex Grieves
Jimmy Carr and Rory Sutherland – Christina Sorensen
Is Razor Fish Right? That Advertising is as effective as a part of Value Exchange – Erin Hughes
From the newsroom to the boot room – Tobi Akinkugbe
This blog was first published on austin.ipa.co.uk
Let me start by saying my Monday has unfortunately not been a ‘win’ as far as SXSW days go. Whether it was due to failing technology (side note: c’mon SXSW, it’s a tech conference!), discussions that didn’t quite live up to their expertly copywritten titles, or mistiming sprints over to the ACC, I could’ve probably played today better.
The silver lining, however, has been the time I’ve had to reflect on feeling present at SXSW.
Queues As a SXSW first-timer, I’ve quickly learned that there is a unique and specific hatred for queues that develops here. They waste time. Their amoebic nature means that for people rushing to the next talk, they are constantly in the way. And they’re chaotic (how many times have you been approached by someone trying to figure out what exactly you are waiting for?).
But, at a conference where my fractured attention is at all all-time high, I’ve actually welcomed the enforced standstill. It’s forced me to focus on my surroundings – most notably, the incredible people around me. And that’s when, on Sunday morning, I met a woman in the queue for textile innovation. Our chat began organically enough (who doesn’t love a quick rant about a long queue) but our conversation quickly turned to work/life balance, traveling the world, her hopes and worries for cultivating her team, and what I want to be when I ‘grow up’. Our easy rapport and connection got me hoping after a mere five minutes that this woman might agree to be a mentor to me in the future, once we were settled back in our respective lives (hers at an innovation lab in Philadelphia; mine in media in London).
The queues here are admittedly annoying. But they kill the rush and give birth to interesting opportunities.
Virtual reality Tom Dunn and I just left a fantastic session on 3D production and immersive technologies that centred primarily on the challenges and opportunities for virtual reality now and in the future. Of all the points made, what resonated most was that VR helps us to create presence in a world of high-tech sensory overload. Tools like Oculus confine us to the here and now – and allow us to experience it fully in hyper-reality. So unlike the rest of the tech running our lives – our phones, our feeds – VR provides the renewed opportunity to confine us (literally and figuratively) to a moment that we can fully enjoy.
With the trending narrative around digital, social and all tech things bright and shiny focussed around how it’s destroying our minds, attention span, and relationships (a porn talk today reminded that the majority of teens’ first experiences with sex are now digital), it was refreshing to hear that our quest for sensorial innovation might help us take back the present.
This blog was first published on austin.ipa.co.uk
The theme from yesterday was about the need for technology to take a back seat and allow utility and purpose to take over. Today, my sessions had a much more positive view on the ways in which technology can make the world better.
The trials of making jewellery that is infused with ‘useful’ tech but looks fashionable paled into insignificance during a talk by Dr. Hugh Herr from The Center for Extreme Bionics. Called “The End of Disability”, the session covered the amazing developments in prosthetics, and how his team are creating ‘thinking limbs’, that measure and adapt to various factors to provide wearers with a normal (enhanced, even) existence. A double amputee himself, it was an intensely personal and inspiring story. After being told by his doctor he wouldn’t be able to ride a bike, drive a car, let alone go back to mountain-climbing, he showed photos of himself halfway up vertical cliff-face, within 12 months of his operation with his new ‘hackable’ limbs.
"At the beginning of the year society called me crippled. In twelve months I was achieving things I had never done before." For an organisation whose motto is ‘Advancing Technology for Humanity’ I’d suggest fashion isn’t high on the agenda.
On a similarly positive note about technology, a collection of speakers from the world of film-making, theatre and art spoke enthusiastically about the opportunities in Virtual Reality, and their role. The hypothesis was that we have, in technology, a new and powerful tool but we don’t yet have the language. But maybe the wrong people have been in charge, and instead of being at odds with the tech world, it could be the artists who define the language of using these new technologies. Succinctly summed up by Anagram (a theatre duo from Bristol) saying that VR “could draw from hundreds of years of theatrical tricks, and not just look like a crappy cardboard box on your face because that’s what Google tells you.”
I agree. But then it’s difficult not to agree with someone who’s just made you sit on the floor and put a blindfold on.
This post was originally posted on austin.ipa.co.uk
I know if you are back in London #SXSW can be a little annoying! Smug tweets about #free-beer, #Ryangosling, #Taco-truck can make it feel like Disneyland for ad-people! But the problem is it is truly such an awesome experience, that you are just blown away and want to share it with everyone.! And in that vein I want to share my first day #sport, # Space # Sun#Sport: Being the least sporty person on the planet, choosing to spend an hour listening to the National Soccer League could have been an odd choice. But this year at SXSW, Sport seems to be a big subject, and soccer(!) is a massively growing sport in the USA with a real considered strategy for growth.
They have deliberately focused on attracting and servicing millennials, using technology, social and data at the start of their journey rather than trying to fit it into an already established organisation, and proving that it doesn’t just create a good fan base – football crowds self-police bad behaviour – hello FA?, but also saves money from the bottom line.
#Space: The next talk was from Dom Pettit, a real life astronaut who has spent 370 days in orbit!.
He has single-handedly doubled the number of photos taken from space from 500k to 1 million after a single mission! It was a truly inspiring talk based around the photos he has taken, and while not directly related to comms threw up some surprising inspiration quotes that are applicable to comms.
“Frontiers are places where experiences in life at home don’t apply”
“The concept of been-there, done-that should not apply. Take a different angle on something everyone has seen before and you will find something amazing”
“When you look at earth from space – the distance allows you to see beautiful detail you can’t see when close up”
#Sunshine: It’s sunny, it’s warm, it’s beautiful!