So I was watching AMC and being someone who wanted to get into advertising for a while when I saw a spot for a show called The Pitch. I immediately sat up and started to pay attention. The series lands on Monday April 30th at 9/8c. You can already watch the entire first episode in its entirety on AMC or by doing a Google search.
So the premise of this show is to see 2 advertising agencies compete in a battle to win a specific account. The introduction to the series comes to us via Subway who are looking to expose their often forgotten breakfast menu. Subway does breakfast, I didn’t know that either.
Actually I have never seen anyone order coffee from them either. Anyway the CMO wants to convince the ever cheap 18-24 year old crowd to get breakfast at Subway. I say good luck because as a former student my breakfast usually became lunches by the time I wake up. Really I want to see how each team approaches the situation.
The first episode is about doing the next big Subway campaign. The two agencies in the smack down are McKinny, a mid-sized agency in North Carolina and WDCW an agency born in the land of stars L.A. who have worked on Subway’s rival Quiznos.
Here is the trailer for episode 1:
On Monday Richard Dunmall, the Vice President of Global Accounts and Agencies for Microsoft Advertising was in Toronto talking to marketers and agencies. 2012 is a big year for Microsoft as it prepares for the launch of Windows 8 which represents the biggest change to the company’s operating system in more than a decade.
Along with growing their presence in mobile through Windows Mobile and the launch of the Microsoft Story Awards they continue to grow. Richard took a few minutes to talk to Marketing Magazine about what lay ahead for Microsoft, the industry, and their partners.
Microsoft Advertising is running a contest called the Windows Story Awards, why do this content now?
What we are seeing in the industry is a new form of storytelling or a new opportunity around those experiences. This allows brands to come to life, for agencies to delight the clients they work for, and for creatives to build new experiences. So we feel like we have a great opportunity to celebrate that through competition.
The people we work with are ferociously competitive with each other and we want to celebrate that creativity. Particularly with younger talent that has grown up in the digital age and so it is strategic for our partners to get involved because they are trying to grow digital and it is strategic for us because it means more opportunities.
How is Microsoft competing against the likes of Google, Facebook and AOL for ad dollars?
We see the opportunity for us is to create and introduce new advertising experiences across new devices and new forms of content. Xbox is still a relatively small advertising business for us but clearly, very exciting. Increasingly Xbox is less just about gaming and more about media. We have more subscribers on Xbox than on Comcast in the States, the introduction of Kinect democratizes the living room and the TV experience even more that will help us to grow.
I think our acquisition of Skype allows us to continue to play in the social video space and brands are really excited about how they can build experiences around that which is a very emotional connection between people.
What are advertisers and agencies looking for from partners like Microsoft and your competition today?
Generally speaking and I’ve met with plenty of agencies in Canada and its similar in most mature markets. We want to grow the total digital share of wallet, so I think Canada today is at 14% of total media investment goes into digital. There is clearly a shift from a consumer perspective on to more devices, more different forms of content and yet media expenditure lags behind that. So the audience opportunity is behind the media investment.
Where do you see innovation coming from, niche digital agencies or traditional, full-service ones?
It’s an ongoing debate and I think it varies by market and by company. Clearly digital of some description will always be the tip of the spear and be driving the initial agenda. But what I think we are seeing more and more globally is that the bigger players are continuing to consolidate and their digital capabilities are increasing rapidly.
That is also the case on the brand side as well if you look at Proctor, Unilever, Nike, and Coca Cola. They are really doubling down from an innovation perspective because that’s where their next billion consumers are going to come from.
What role does mobile play for Microsoft?
There are two parts to mobility, what is happening from a consumer experience and what is happening from an advertising perspective. So we come from very humble beginnings in the mobile space, we have a very low market share globally. That said most projections would have us the number 2 smartphone operating system by 2015, after Android interesting enough.
What we realize coming from a lower market share position we had to do something a bit different. A lot of that innovation is around the metro interface. The tiles really pops the things that are really the most useful in your life whether it is your social connections or the tasks you want to complete its all just there. It’s quite a fluid experience and what we’ve learned is that has a direct impact on the advertising experiences that you’re going to see on the platform.
Why has mobile advertising never really taken off?
The reason mobile advertising has never taken off is that it is fundamentally a different experience. What we’ve seen with what we would call the appification of the web is people are looking for ways to complete everyday tasks.
I think increasingly you are going to see two things within the mobile space. You are going to see more personalized experiences based on the apps most relevant to your life and that’s a really interesting opportunity for brands. Secondly I think a lot of what we will see is going to be geospatial so local, promotions, information, activities, and search.
Last year Microsoft introduced polymorphic ads, which makes it easy for ads to scale based on the device. How have brands and agencies responded to them?
There is a lot of excitement for it and we are still in the process of working with key partners to scale it out. But I think it has a number of benefits, there is a level of efficiency in creative production because of good cost efficiencies around building creative experiences. It allows them to use a partner of Microsoft’s size to get that scale rather than having to do it exclusively themselves. I think number three is it gets away from what I would describe as matching luggage.
So a lot of creative in the digital age is still essentially TV creative that is sort of jammed into a mobile experience or into a PC experience and I’m not sure that’s a strategy for long-term growth because they are fundamentally difference experiences. So I think this is the first stake sort of stake in the ground from us to make it an intuitive process.
How do brands and agencies use display ads, social media and content in their advertising today?
One of the big things on marketers and agencies minds is what’s the balance between paid, owned, and earned media? Facebook has done a tremendous job of being the largest word of mouth platform in the world today.
I think those things are interesting but the big debate for marketers though, is what is the value of that fan base? Coca Cola have more fans than anyone on Facebook but I’m not sure they know what to do with them. I think what’s interesting as well is does that mean I need to pay for advertising on Facebook because I’ve already got terrific connections with consumers.
What the industry is questioning is OK so I have all these people talking about my brand, why would I need to advertise in a tiny little box on the side and I don’t think it matters at the moment because Facebook is such a phenomenon but over time the lifetime value of those consumers is that environment will be questioned.
***UPDATE*** I did this interview for Marketing Magazine in late February with Richard Dunmall, who was the VP Microsoft Advertising Global Accounts and Agencies but they never ended up publishing it as far as I know. My gut is telling me that since Richard left Microsoft soon after he came to Toronto, that may have killed its chances of it ever getting published but I may never know.
(Still tweaking just so you know I just wanted to finally get it up)
Without question 6 for 6 by CP+B presented by MDC Partners was one of the most popular sessions of the final full day of Advertising Week, Thursday, October 6th. 6 trailblazers were given just 6 minutes to present based on a simple brief …. What are they thinking and doing right now?
The house was packed and talent was exceptional (I even got a picture with Rob after it was all said and done YAY), the wit was strong, it was a bit light on sarcasm for my taste but was full of some of CP+B’s greatest ad hits from recent years. Let’s get started:
Chuck Porter the founder of CP+B apologized in advance for using the same deck had presented at Cannes earlier this year and offered anyone for whom this was the second time a refund. He said there were probably 9 that had seen this before. CP+B’s offices have open spaces for the exchange of ideas taken from an ancient Greek concept known as agora. Instead of having departments that work together close by, they have them far apart so these spaces become the funnel that everyone must walk through every day.
He compared the Best Buy Buy Back program TV spots, one from a slice of life and the the spectacle of the Super Bowl. He really had a thing for Ancient Greece and as they interacted (conquered) more cultures they started the beginnings of a global culture that has continued to the modern age that many agencies are constantly in search of to appeal to one and all.
Campaigns mentioned: Best Buy – Buy Back Program
All you need to do to sum up Tiffany Rolfe’s 6 minutes is say one simple word, scrappy. She has been around the world and back in another life as a traveller and came on board to help CP+B go global. It isn’t about an office, it is about a state of mind, and those universal truths that have no boundaries to tell brand stories across the globe.
(Correction – I missed the change in presenters from Suzanne Powers to Tiffany Rolfe and was going off the original schedule, thanks to the bubblegooseforever who caught it for me, I owe you one.)
As the CP+B newbie she said being scrappy isn’t about size but is a state of mind. Smaller budgets and faster timelines and competition from anywhere means that scrappy is the name of the day, so never stop working at it. What they did for Brammo Motorcycles with Shocking Barack and Carrot vending machines was all about being scrappy and although that was for smaller clients larger companies are able to be scrappy like when Kraft hired the golden voiced Ted Williams to be the voice of KD.
Campaigns mentioned: Carrots Vending Machines
Brammo Shocking Barack
Jeff Benjamin came in with geek cred on full show talking about what it be inventive. If you’re not inventing today then you are not gonna be around. It isn’t a nice to have it is about surviving when everyone in the business is trying to eat your lunch. Jeff said prototype early and often so go out and make stuff, tinker. The tinkers are curious about how things work and are not afraid to break stuff. Probably because that means they get the chance to put it back together MacGyvor style. Jeff said be delusionally positive and focus on what works not what doesn’t and never stop.
Jeff did go over his time limit by a few minutes so it was really 5 for 6 and 1 Geek but probably doesn’t have the same flow as 6 for 6.
Campaigns mentioned: Crunch Bard for Pringles by CP+B Sweden
Pudding Face – Jell-O
Rob Reilly is the Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of CP+B but what he was thinking about was poachers. They stalk cute and cuddly creatives and such in the hopes of nagging them for another agency team. While Rob has needed a tissue or two when one of their own gets poached he remembers what has made them successful great mentoring and promoting from within. Bring people from the outside often doesn’t work because they have not been steeped in the culture.
Rob has found talent in some of the most unlikely places. They gave also learned to take chances on their own staff and have put them into positions that put them outside their comfort zone and 9 times out of 10 they have done an amazing job. So for all those agency folks in the audience he said be open to talent coming from anywhere, empower your people and mentor the hell out of everyone.
Campaigns mentioned: BK chicken changer
Scott Prindle took his 6 minutes to go into the role of a creative technologist, a position that is becoming ever more vital in the dynamic digital space. He quotes Ray Kurzweil who says that in 1965 “The computer in your cell phone today is 1m times cheaper, and 1k times more powerful and 100 times smaller than one computer in MIT in 1965. So what used to fit in a building now fits in your pocket and will fit inside a blood cell in 25 years.”
This is part of the growing complexity of our digital ecosystems and this means that it makes perfect sense to bring on coders into advertising. Creative technologists are the ones that experiment and make stuff. CP+B have around 80 coders and they show their creativity by enabling ways to say yes for ideas to work. Like Jeff says they prototype, hack the latest tech to make code dance to they beat.
Campaigns mentioned: Mystery Tip for American Express
All and all it was a chance to hear some of the thought leaders at CP+B talk about what they have done. It was pretty simple stuff, not trying to find a cure for cancer or a new widget. That is probably part of why you could see the power in the words, because it should be simple to take those lessons and adapt them to find any agency. Well that is what we hope for anyway.
I can agree in part but I think if the media plan and Ad ideas work together you can enhance the effectiveness as a whole more than either could on it’s own. This also seems to be based on current views not necessarily on hard data and I can’t agree with how it belittles the importance of how to reach your market and the ads don’t do that the planning is what will. I know they are talking about brand switching but the way they word puts it in a completely different context that doesn’t sit well with me.
What good is an ad if nobody sees it. I think even better is when the two work in tandem from the start. That is when each can augment the other and creativity and the planning are always stronger together than they are on their own.