The trade press overflows with interesting predictions about the future of advertising.
But there's a problem.
Experts, marketing or otherwise, have an awful record of predictions. Philip Tetlock, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, ran a 20-year study that analysed 82,361 forecasts from 284 experts. He found that their predictions were as likely to be wrong, as right. In his memorable phrase, the average pundit fared no better than 'a dart-throwing monkey'.
It's not just that these marketing predictions misguide us. There's also an opportunity cost. Our fixation with the future crowds out an interest in the past. Yet there is value in looking backwards to people who grappled with similar problem to ours.
So let's take a look at one current problem, turning data into insights, and look back to what we can learn from the 1940s. In particular, the experience of one man: Abraham Wald.
With a world of information and entertainment at our fingertips, expectations of immediacy are higher than ever – but so too is the desire to connect with others. Social media is a powerful force for brand building, and one which is destined to become even more important in future.
"All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking." Or so said the half-crazed philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Brian Wansink took that one step further and conceived a great advertising thought while getting others to go walking.
Wansink, professor of psychology at Cornell University, recruited 56 subjects to walk a mile route. Half were told to test an MP3 player as they walked, stopping off at six places along the route to monitor sound quality. The other half were told the walk was exercise, and asked to monitor energy levels at the same set places. After the walk they returned their results, collected payment and were told they were free to go. Before they left they were invited to an all-you-can eat buffet the university had laid on.
Since their launch in 1980, the IPA Effectiveness Awards (the full archive of which is available for warc.com subscribers) have become the gold standard for global case study competitions that focus on a campaign's business results, rather than its creative approach. The announcement of the awards winners, every two years in November, is therefore one of the ad industry's most closely-watched events.
This time around, the IPA has expanded its programme: from the traditional black-tie awards evening to a five-day festival of marketing effectiveness. Effectiveness Week, launched at an event in London yesterday, takes place on the week of October 31st, with the awards themselves handed out on November 2nd. The programme includes over 50 speakers, with a mix of presentations and seminars taking place across 11 different venues. And it won't be a closed forum for agencies: the IPA is aiming to have 50% of attendees and participants coming from the client side.
At Warc, we tend to showcase the best-in class rather than examples that didn’t quite meet the mark. However, in the news recently was the story of Nivea and the advert that Sir John Hegarty, Cannes Lions judge and BBH founder, described as “the most stupid thing he’s ever seen”.
Paul Davies, UK CMO, Microsoft, is judging the Effective Use of Tech panel at this year’s Warc Media Awards. Paul is also Chairman of UK advertiser trade body ISBA.
Warc’s Lucy Aitken spoke to him about how accurate forecasting could help transform marketing from a cost centre into a revenue generator.
It being holiday season, I decided to do some reading in the transport & tourism section on Warc.
Brands are embracing an emphasis on context: Uber, for instance, has found out how to talk to drivers in Hong Kong, literally, and get them talking. Similarly, the UK's tourism agency took to Weibo with great success among its affluent target audience.
Though the sun is out, consumers are still glued to their mobiles: Booking.com has found almost a third of their bookings take place on smartphones. Indonesian marketers, in particular, have heeded this trend, with mobile adspend increasing 200% this year. Here are some of the things I learned this week.
Sarah Mansfield, VP Global Media Europe and Americas, Unilever, is chair of the judging panel for the Effective use of integration panel at this year's Warc Media Awards. She is responsible for a total media spend of €1 billion.
Warc's Lucy Aitken spoke to her about mobile, moment marketing and why Ben & Jerry's sells even when it's raining…
This guest blog is written by Chris Le May, DataXu SVP and Managing Director Europe & Emerging Markets
Recent years have seen a stampede towards video advertising. 50% of marketers are planning to increase their video budget in the next 12 months, says the Content Marketing Association. News and media organisations everywhere are investing in video; BuzzFeed, the online news feed, has an entire content arm called BuzzFeed Motion Pictures.
This is a guest post by Andrew Buckman, MD EMEA, OpenX
There was a time when inventory deals ended with a handshake that confirmed the deal was done, prices were agreed, and delivery would be assured. Then programmatic changed the game — replacing the handshake with programmatic platforms and swapping certainty for an opportunity to identify audiences, and bid in real-time.