Ad Week New York: The Power of Creative Campaigns and Physical Connections

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Advertising Week New York is not just a cultural event for advertising industry leaders; it's a mirror of the many opportunities and challenges that brands face today.  In a saturated advertising marketplace, how do I build an IRL connection with my audience?  How can I make my brand offerings stand out from the rest?  How can offline activations inform my branding, my outreach and how I interact in the future?

What we're finding is that while marketers and advertisers spent $273 billion this year on digital advertising globally, brands from Hulu to LinkedIn are upping their investment in offline activations at Ad Week, carefully curating events and panels and designing pop-ups to cater to their target audience.  They're placing the user's experience at a premium, and they are looking to connect with consumers IRL at a time that consumer confidence in digital advertising is at an all-time low.

Big data has taken a big beating this year, especially with the recent Twitter and Facebook hearings.  This is changing the way many consumers interact with brands.  The questions more and more consumers are asking are: who are you, why should I trust you and what are you doing with my data?

Ad Week New York reminded us that one of the best ways to build consumer confidence is through offline activations and through fully integrated campaigns that use both physical and digital signals to inform all elements of their marketing efforts.  During its session at the event, e-commerce giant eBay not only discussed the necessity of personalization of the buyer's journey but created a physical "neighborhood" to spotlight their community of vendors and buyers.  They took the digital concept of a marketplace from an abstract idea to something tangible, physical and immersive.

Meanwhile, Google capitalized on what it is best known for: applying consumer data and using it to inform, delight and surprise its audience.  Google really stood out at Ad Week New York by taking its presence there to the next level.  This was done by taking consumer data from recent searches and using it to create interactive installations with games that quizzed event-goers about a variety of marketing and search-related topics that turned the ordinary into the extraordinary.  They were testaments to the power of creativity.

These types of installations also nicely complemented each brand's session.  While they were hour-long deep-dives into subjects that are top-of-mind for marketers, the installations captured the excitement of the moment, illustrating how you can leave a memorable impression on consumers within seconds.

Part of galvanizing the 100,000-plus attendees at Advertising Week is through the strategic usage of strong creative in your campaigns.  At Ad Week, we saw how creativity was at the heart of some of the most successful campaigns and how it can be a gamechanger for brands.  The panel on Nike's recent Colin Kaepernick campaign made clear that bold ideas can lead to even bolder paychecks.  In fact, the campaign is estimated to having added an extra six billion dollars to the company's market value.  This campaign rolled out with a series of out-of-home, social and physical activations and revealed that a concept like, "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything" is one that resonates deeply with consumers.

When it came to our own activation, we understood how important it was to merge strong creative and a bold physical presence to build IRL connections.  We launched our "We Get You America" campaign at Ad Week.  We brought the campaign to life by identifying audiences and giving them what they wanted.  We recreated the iconic look of the New York City subways, complete with a kiosk full of curated giveaways for the specific New York audiences we serve as the city's largest media provider.  Young mom?  We got you.  Big cheese?  We got you.  Agency rock star? We got you.  Paired with our video and internet-enabled triptych screens, which we're rolling out across the city, the activation was a conversation-starter that showcased how creative campaigns can be a key differentiator that helps connect online brands with consumers offline and serve as a way to inspire relationships with your audience.

This year's Ad Week New York was a masterclass on how to use data to boost consumer confidence, employ physical activations to connect to audiences and leverage bold, creative campaigns to send lasting messages to move consumers.  It was an event that showcased the power of physical campaigns and the importance of building IRL relationships in order to for brands to have long-lasting impact.

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