July 21, 2021 | Blog
Last week, after 15 months of being locked away at home, London’s advertising scene returned IRL (in real life) for the first time at MAD//Fest 2021 - the energetic and disruptive 2-day event for the marketing and advertising industry. A total antidote to the Zoom calls and virtual webinars we have all grown tired of - MAD//Fest saw 4,000+ industry innovators gather in a festival setting at Old Truman Brewery’s outdoor car park in East London to inspire, educate and entertain with alfresco networking and unlimited beers on tap.
Many hold the belief that the digital advertising industry as we know it is being uprooted by increasing regulations around the use of consumer data, making it a looming threat to one-to-one marketing. Big tech changes from Apple and Google are top of mind for all players in the ecosystem so you’d be right to assume that there would be a major focus on how brands are navigating this shift. Perhaps then you’d be surprised to learn that across both days, conversations around the so-called “cookieapocalypse” were few and far between.
From purpose-driven brands to diversity and brand growth, MAD//Fest proved to be a fresh-faced look at the future of advertising. This year, the event was layered with the learnings and new perspectives from the events of the past 18 months. Refreshing and bold new approaches to corporate purpose were brought to the forefront by global brands and agencies like Vodafone and Havas, meanwhile others like Revolut questioned the relevance - “Purpose marketing: Is it all sh*t?”. Anti-racism and diversity were high on the agenda across the board and it’s clear the industry has woken up to the reality that things need to change, and they need to change now.
In light of ever-increasing screen fatigue and the growing itch to return to ‘normal life’ (or should we say, the ‘new normal’?!), it's easy to understand why a huge focus was on consumer attention and how to capture it in a relevant and intelligent way in the post-pandemic world. A preeminent neuromarketing and neuroanalytics company, Neuro Insight, presented their scientific take; ‘Unlocking the truth about attention: looking inside the human mind’, while leading UK university, Imperial College London discussed; ‘Attention, recall and purchase: experimental evidence on online news and advertising.’
So where do we go from here? It’s clear that brands and agencies continue to need new ways to address the evolution of content consumption, but to truly connect with target audiences throughout their journey, across all touch points, new channels have become necessary to incorporate into an omnichannel marketing mix. Like Taboola said; ‘Context is King – Content is the Cherry on Top.’ It’s back to basics where quality prevails over quantity - brands and agencies need to focus on what the consumer wants, above all else. In a world where the availability of customer data is on the decline, it will be crucial to explore new channels that offer ways to reach audiences at scale with contextually relevant messages. Out of home (OOH) has always been a mass-market channel, reaching swathes of people on their habitual journeys. With the evolution of digital out of home (DOOH) and more specifically the capabilities brought about by programmatic, marketers now have a unique opportunity to target consumer behaviours and audience movement patterns rather than individual device targeting. Throw out what you think you know - these new technologies in DOOH define what it means to reach the ‘right people at the right time with the right message’.
As sponsors and speakers at MAD//Fest, Hivestack was proud to present the power of programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) in action by activating a global creative campaign in real-time. With programmatic DOOH, advertisers can now effectively target audiences at a much greater scale than ever before, without restraint and with all the flexibility and control that you would expect from the online world. Demonstrating this agility, Hivestack commissioned professional portrait photography of delegates at our Festival Cabana on Day 1 and then activated these portraits on the most premium digital billboards in key global cities across the world - New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Toronto - all with a click of a button in the Hivestack platform. On Day 2, William Brownsdon, Managing Director EMEA for Hivestack presented the live campaign running in the platform with event attendee images all over the world. Sir Martin Sorrell even got involved and was placed on a premium site in one of the busiest locations in Tokyo, Aoyama Street.
Crucially, the most important part of this campaign is that for every photo taken at the event, and for every social share of the campaign aftwards, Hivestack is donating £10 GBP to Crisis; a UK based charity committed to ending homelessness. The homelessness response to COVID-19 has seen extraordinary action taken across Great Britain to get everyone into safe accommodation during the pandemic. At the same time, the economic impact of coronavirus is exerting sudden pressure on people already pushed to the brink by low wages and high rents and there has been a continued new flow of people experiencing homelessness since the start of the pandemic. There is still time to get involved as donations continue to rise and Hivestack asks you to support their mission by sharing this campaign (use #HivestackConnects when sharing).
The truth is, the “new normal” is still being defined. We are at a pivotal moment in history - consumers are more conscious than ever before as to what content they consume while brands and agencies’ access to customer data is diminishing (the latest example being Apple’s recent iOS update which reduces availability of Identifier for Advertisers or IDFAs) putting one-to-one marketing under enormous threat. In a world where attention is low and screen fatigue is high, context really is king. Marketers need to focus their budgets on evolving channels and technologies like programmatic DOOH that can deliver the promise of contextually relevant advertising, delivered at the right time and in the right place.
Sir Martin Sorrell with Hivestack at Madfest UK