Here’s What You Missed
During Ad Week in NYC

Here’s What You Missed During Advertising Week in NYC

5 years ago · 5 min read

Ad Week NYC was a buzzing beehive of insight, innovation, and inspiration. Here are my top 7 takeaways from this eagerly anticipated event.

Ad Week NYC. It might be the most highly awaited event of the advertising industry, and for good reason. With a virtual army of brand leaders, high-profile influencers, and creative movers and shakers of all kinds gathered to talk shop, share research, mentor and mingle, Ad Week is a buzzing beehive of inspiration, insight, and innovation that’s not to be missed!

But in case you did miss it (my condolences), here are my top seven share-worthy takeaways.

1. Marketers’ math is maturing, along with our technology. We’re getting better at asking harder questions, feeling less enamored with data for data’s sake, and seeing both the forest and the trees.

For example, while we’re tracking click-through rates and return on investment, can we also factor in the erosion taking place all around us? Adobe’s Ryan Fleisch, as part of the 25 Years of Advertising reporting, shared with us the actual cost of a negative (read: irrelevant; unwanted) brand impression: one fifteenth of a cent.

Think that’s a throwaway number? Think again. With a million-dollar ad spend at $3.00 CPM (cost per thousand impressions), you’re serving 333 million impressions, and incurring a 510K risk to your brand long term.

2. Data and privacy-protection continue to be hot topics, though Gen Z and Baby Boomers don’t see eye-to-eye. 

While Gen Z’s attitude is laissez-faire (“So what? It’s the cost of participating in the only world we’ve ever known”), Baby Boomers — as well as their younger Gen X counterparts — are more wary of Big Brother’s ever-watchful eye. (Adobe lays out more generational differences in its latest report, Voices of the Generations.)

Smart brands will be the ones who develop sustainable strategies around first-party data and make it a point to ask for permission, rather than forgiveness.

3. As evidenced in this Nasdaq live stream on the future of advertising, creating an immersive, data-driven-yet-story-led experience is the latest frontier in digital marketing. 

Such an endeavor requires collaboration, agility and intelligence at every level of the organization, and at every touchpoint of the customer journey. Not only this, it also requires a sensitive finger on the pulse of the cultural zeitgeist and an uncanny ability to integrate the trending and timeless alike through innovative design.

4. Good creative is still a force to be reckoned with. 

Not only do we know that 47% of an ad’s conversion is attributed to the creative, I repeatedly heard from seasoned marketers from all different industries and niches what many of us know intuitively: the quality of storytelling and overall design can make or break a campaign.

5. With increasing value placed on innovation, the number of marketing launches is skyrocketing — rising an average of 27% per company in 2018, with larger companies spending upwards of $10M per launch. 

Bain and Twitter surveyed 650 US marketing executives and found that the right launch playbook allowed brands to realize up to 2X higher revenue growth rates.

My favorite tip from Bain’s research? Learn before you launch. Launch leaders are 2.4X more likely than other companies to use social listening data to refine their launch strategies, messaging, and offerings.

6. Some good news. Brand apologies remain an effective way to make amends. 

Though connected consumers are discerning and idealistic, they don’t expect brands to be saints, just accountable. (Though brand should be prepared to walk their talk and make real changes. Those that fail to pass connected consumers’ “sniff test” for authenticity are likely to go from being viewed as forgivable to indefensible.)

7. In the wake of the Cambridge-Analytica scandal and others like it, uncertainty and confusion around social media and new technologies are making trust an increasingly valuable commodity. 

Transparency is part of the solution, but marketers will also have to lead with empathy and conscience to reassure consumers and build long-lasting bonds.

And as legacy media continues to crumble, and decentralized, open-source, collaborative platforms continue to emerge, the lines between consumers and brands will continue to blur.

This will usher in a future whose contours are yet unclear, but which promises — as evolution always does — to change our understanding of commerce and advertising alike in unpredictable ways.

Maybe NYC Ad Week 2029 will be dedicated to a retrospective look at how dramatically our industry has changed in just a decade, and where we might be headed next.