Eva Salem, VP Marketing, Canadian Tire is a judge on the inaugural Festival of Media North America Awards, which are taking place on Thursday 30 November at Metropolitan West in New York, and here she provides her insight on the region’s current media landscape.
Transparency and brand safety have risen to the fore around the world in the industry during the last couple of years, but North America’s digital advertising practices have come under increasing pressure. How, if at all, has this affected the marketing campaigns and work that has been produced in the last 12 months in the region?
Transparency and brand safety have never been more important. The renewed industry attention has re-exposed the need for improvement with agencies and media vendors- accountability is a hot topic for discussion. Safety measures have always been in place for our brands so the recent attention has not had a direct impact on our campaigns, but has caused us to reexamine and improve our safety measures where needed. This includes integration of third party tools for verification, expanded blacklists and procurement reviews.
What two or three trends are you seeing dominate the media landscape in North America?
Artificial Intelligence – Some brands have already aligned themselves with this technology, as seen with Ben & Jerry’s and their Bot order and delivery locally of tubs of ice cream. They have harnessed the power of AI, a robust and engaging tool for any brand. We are also seeing a surge in many brands and companies using chat bots on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, which get smarter as you engage with them. This concept is not only being positioned for consumer facing campaigns, but is also acting as a mechanism to assist in customer service across a variety of other on-line networks. And if Elon Musk thinks it will be the direct root of WWIII it’s a big deal…even if he is wrong.
Voice Activation – This technology is already being implemented within the search space, home services and voice command (such as Alexa). We are going to see this evolve even further with a larger amplification on social platforms and brand websites. We have already seen brands in the US jump on this concept and even have recent examples in Canada, through Walmart’s pilot partnership with Google where products are being made available for order with a simple voice command. Going forward this is going to be less of a trend and more of a reality as we evolve and transform the customer journey and retail.
What does the industry need to do to ensure it continues to evolve with technology advancements and most importantly consumers continually changing habits?
Be more flexible and open minded. We live in a world where the same old formula won’t always work and we need to build in a lot more flexibility into campaign planning and execution knowing that the customer journey is constantly evolving and changing direction.
What will you be looking for when judging the Festival of Media North America Awards?
Strong insights and creativity having a strong influence of the strategic execution that links back to the business or marketing objectives and delivers those results.
What campaigns have impressed you over the last 12 months in the North American region?
Canada Safe School Network works- a campaign that used re-targeting ads to deliver messages about the effects of online bullying. Description: The Canadian Safe School Network believed people would be more inclined to take actions against bullying if they could somehow experience what bullied victims feel. To convey that suffocating feeling the concept and real life user experience of “annoying” banners following you around the internet was leveraged to act like a bully following you with hurtful messages.
Another case from Cannes which caught me both from a consumer standpoint and emotive reaction due to its powerful reflection of the Paralympics- “Super Human”.
What should the industry be prepared for over the next year?
Increased automation and personalisation. Crafting more of the message and delivery to a more personal experience to customers through new technologies and innovations.
Tickets for the awards can be bought here.
During the day of the awards there will be FOM Brand Lab sessions, which are designed to educate advertisers on the evolving media landscape. Advertisers can apply for complimentary tickets by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.