Brands and Media: The Changing Landscape

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As Mattel Senior Vice President and General Manager, North American Marketing Activation, Lori Pantel, and Head of Viacom Ad Solutions, Sean Moran, discussed today's media landscape at CES 2019, Pantel underscored how changes in today's media present opportunities for marketers to innovate and seek creative media mixes that reflect how today's audiences want to connect with brands. "The way in which today's consumers are engaging is different, so it makes us think differently about how to reach them," says Pantel. "The difference is back in the 1980s and 2000s, brands could put a beautiful piece of creative out there and say, 'listen to us.' Millennials don't listen to corporations anymore."

As a marketer in the toy industry, Pantel shared that, "We are in a unique industry where we actually serve two different audiences, kids and adults. What's consistent about both those audiences is that the media landscape is becoming more fragmented … it's dramatically requiring us to [rethink] how to reach them.

"I would argue that TV isn't dead," she continued.  "If you look at our media mix in the kids' space from five years ago, we were still predominantly on that medium.  [However], we now use the word video … and we have to diversify because kids are programming their own content.  TV alone won't provide the reach, engagement and frequency that it used to."

Pantel believes that even though consumers are now in charge of programming, "there is a diversity to how they want to engage," the result of which makes a proper media mix paramount.  "Sure, we now have YouTube and influencers," she said, "but that doesn't mean that long-form network content is dead.  It's about the balance."

Pantel went on to praise the Mattel/Viacom partnership, elaborating on the keys to successfully incorporating new media with traditional.  "The reason why I love working with Viacom is that Viacom continues to innovate every day with new assets, ad units and ways to be more diverse," she explained.  "The benefit that we get from Viacom is the transparency of the ROI."

Pantel and Moran went on to talk about what consumers expect of brands today.  "Nothing is more critical in an era of transparency than brand purpose," she said.  That's something both Mattel and Viacom identify and align with.

"We've heard over the last couple of days that consumers expect more -- they absolutely demand that your brands stand for something," said Moran. Increasingly, today's consumers expect their ideas to align with the brands they support.  In addition to transparency and purpose, they want to engage with brands on an individual level and feel as though the brand understands and relates to them.

The fireside interview between Sean Moran of Viacom and Lori Pantel of GM was conducted as part of the annual Brand Innovators "Brands Bet on Digital" conference, which was held in Las Vegas in conjunction with the Consumer Electronic Showcase (CES). 

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