Happy New Year!
As each year draws to a close, I always make sure I take some time to reflect – usually on a plane or train travelling from one city to another – on Microsoft’s achievements both globally and here in Europe. To kick off 2012, and following Frank Holland’s post a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d put pen to paper and share my thoughts on 2011 on the Microsoft Advertising blog with our great community of contributors and followers.
Firstly to innovation; the lifeblood of the Microsoft business. It was Christmas 2010 that we saw record-breaking sales of the Xbox Kinect, with 8 million consoles sold in the first 60 days. In just over a year, it has gone from strength to strength, providing amazing experiences for consumers and opportunities for advertisers in the form of Kinect Nuads, launched at Cannes this year. In Europe, we’ve also seen an excellent response to our award winning IAB filmstrip ad format amongst advertisers in the region, a format that places storytelling back at the very heart of a campaign.
2011 was also a stunning year for our global creative solutions team. Personally, I’m proud of a number of colourful and effective campaigns we’ve seen emerge out of Europe.
Our work developing the New Thinker’s Index for Hyundai Motor Company in November was a significant highlight in 2011. A truly global, celebrity-packed campaign, it ran across Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK with the goal of indexing the way people think and helping them share and socialise their results with friends and family. The whole concept of an online branded content experience has proved highly engaging and interactive, and represents a model that we expect more and more brands to embrace. Jonathan Oliver’s blog post here, goes into more depth.
You only have to look at the popularity of games like Mafia Wars and Farmville, to appreciate the explosive growth of social gaming amongst consumers. Brands are following suit. The Coke Zero Gaming Zone, developed by our creative solutions team and initially piloted in France before rolling out across eight other European markets, is an example of this in action. By October 2011 the gaming site – with news, views and games – had racked up over 2 million hits and provided Coke Zero with a rich platform to engage with its audience.
Through 2011 we also helped the industry to grow and develop in its understanding of how consumer behaviour is changing, and how advertisers can effectively respond. Of particular note was our Living with the Internet study which shed real light onto the differences in receptiveness to online advertising between emerging markets like China and India, and the more developed western economies. It also provided fascinating insight into the decrease in online spontaneity and associated challenges for advertisers, and was well received by our European partners.
As the media landscape continues to evolve, morph and fragment at a great pace, these kinds of insights will continue to serve agencies and brands looking to makes sense of the online world, and be the first to embrace the exciting new opportunities.
As always, I was challenged and inspired in equal measure at the regular industry gatherings I attended across Europe and beyond in 2011. ATS London and Dmexco – where we announced the addition of new markets to the Microsoft Advertising Exchange – showed the pace with which ad exchanges are breaking into the industry, and genuinely delivering creativity at scale. At events like Monaco Media Forum, Montreux Festival of Media, IAB Interact – where I joined a panel with the IAB UK CEO Guy Phillipson – and of course Cannes Lions, one thing came through loud and clear: The barriers between technology and creativity are being rapidly broken down. In 2012, we expect that trend to continue.
Finally Imagine London, our thought leadership conference held in late November 2011, was a fitting close to the year. Bringing together some of the European industry’s brightest minds, we heard a series of thought provoking sessions from the leading lights of the industry exploring a diverse range of topics under the umbrella theme of ‘storytelling’. If it was the ‘mot du jour’ this year, my prediction is storytelling won’t be far from anyone’s lips next year either.
All that remains is for me to wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope you’re looking forward to 2012 as much as I am.
by Laurent Delaporte, VP EMEA, Microsoft Advertising