10/19/21: Cynopsis Reports From Advertising Week



Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read


Tuesday October 19, 2021

Insights and Highlights from Advertising Week New York 2021

Cathy Applefeld Olson

Advertising Week New York is underway, and Cynopsis is spreading the news. Welcome to our coverage of the most noteworthy topics, panels and speakers, plus some enterprise reporting around some of industry’s buzziest trends. On today’s hot list: YouTube goes big on shoppable streams; panning for regional advertising gold in the streaming ecosystem; and… is TV due to get its due in the cookieless future? Read on for more.


Whether you’re a brand or a media company, D2C has rewritten the rules of consumer engagement. Personalization, at its core, means “a customer wants to be seen by a brand,” said Mutka Chowdhary, VP, cultural insights, WarnerMedia. “When personalization is done right, it’s really impactful. It’s about how do you give back to consumers, especially at this time of intentionality.” Top of mind at HBO Max, which launched its ad-supported tier earlier this year, is “making sure the commercial break pattern is ideal with the content they are paired with, the ad load is right, and the roster of ads we’re presenting is relevant,” said Julian Franco, SVP, product management, HBO Max. For example, he said, “Friends” had a half-hour time slot on NBC in its first run but can be viewed on HBO Max in less than 24 minutes. “D2C means helping a brand take its IP, building it out over the entire ecosystem,” said Alexandra Colby, VP, network partnerships and brand innovation at WarnerMedia. “The IP can be our through line, an audience segment be our through line, a platform be our through line.” All were speaking during “Advertising in the Era of D2C.”


The cookie crumbles: It’s happening. Today, the cookie is not available 65 percent of the time in the bid stream; by 2023, it will be gone. While the loss of cross-site tracking and data targeting is shaking things up, executives across a number of AWNY panels see some clear silver linings. Above all, that TV will be able to reclaim its role in driving search, store traffic and purchase. “Where television has had the most opportunity in the last few years is to demonstrate there is a full-funnel opportunity that lives across our product offering,” said Andrea Zapata, WarnerMedia head of research, data and insights, who noted during “The Future of Attribution” panel that when it comes to taking credit for driving traffic, “We’ve let the digital natives eat our lunch.” The new opportunity is to “make sure we are hooking our [offering] to all of the parts of the funnel, and demonstrating that in an appropriate way. TV, and even social, doesn’t want to take all of the credit, but we want to take the appropriate amount,” she said.

“If the old way was universal cookies, the new way is broadly people based,” said Tim Vanderhook, co-founder and CEO of Viant, during the panel “WTF Is In the Bid Stream Right Now & What Will Prepare You for a Cookieless 2023”. “We have to get away from big tech and having them control every aspect of the market. With first-person data, you gain a more holistic view of what your ad spend returns were. Digital may have gotten too much credit for what was happening on the website in the past.” The move away from cookies will also “take us back to the creative experience, and how we are putting that forward,” said Shruti Tiwari, Ogilvy executive director, media strategy & customer engagement.

“Constantly getting bombarded with the same message… it’s not the best way to advertise anyway,” noted Ruowen Liscio, VP, marketplace solutions at Kinesso, during the “WTF” panel. And the resurgence of contextual data and creative brings new opportunities to connect dots throughout the funnel. “Contextual makes the advertising experience and the media consumption experience better,” said Ron Amram, senior director, global media, at Mars, during “Marketing by Mindset: Unlocking Contextual Targeting.”


Another brick in the wall
: Large, embedded walled gardens “are a problem, and they add complexity. When you look at companies like Amazon, which have a very lucrative DSP business, once you reach certain scale, they will demand that you lower their walls,” Chris Vanderhook, COO and co-founder of Viant, said during “Driving TV Performance in a Fragmented Landscape with the Household”. “I can already see companies like Amazon and Google showing as a sign of good faith they are putting certain partner programs in place. If you’re Procter & Gamble and you spend $3 billion-$4 billion a year on advertising and 50 percent to 60 percent is going on linear, and you say to them, if you want to keep getting my money you need to help me understand the incrementality. If they are wiling to do that, maybe they aren’t going to have that brand as a partner any more.”

Yes, data is critical to reduce waste, increase reach and build business. “But on the other hand let’s not discount creativity, content and context. They still really matter,” said Dan Aversano, SVP of data, analytics and advanced advertising at Univision Communications. “I don’t think we’ll ever get to a point where everything needs to be data driven; there’s a spectrum.” First and foremost, “clients need to understand what kind data they’re collecting,” noted Ethan Heftman, SVP of advanced advertising & digital sales, A+E Networks. “Some clients come with data that’s a mess. Your data needs to be clean, it needs to be privacy-compliant, and you need to know what the end result you want to run with that data is.” Both were speaking on the “How Data and Technology Unlock TV’s Value” panel.


Next-gen addressability + scale: The “Addressability + Scale: A conversation with Merkle” panel dove right in. “Do a great job with first party identity and data, but then unify it. Create a master ID on it, create your own walled garden and then look to partners that can connect that data in the media world with the highest level of fidelity possible,” said Gerry Bavaro, chief strategy officer, Merkury, Merkle’s proprietary platform that comprises 268 million individuals, 11,000 attributes and cookieless connections with 70 partners across the adtech and media ecosystems. “Right now we’re spending a log of time talking about addressability in terms of marketing. The ability to actually transact on those IDs in the bit stream will become more common of a currency moving forward,” said Jennifer Hess, VP of Merkury Media connections and operations, Merkle.

Scattering away: Is the rise of CTV foreseeing the fall of the scatter market? Brand execs weighed in. “The scatter market is complicated. Consideration is a big thing for Volkswagen, and scatter is going to be less flexible for us, more expensive and maybe doesn’t make as much sense,” said Kimberley Gardiner, Volkswagen SVP, marketing. “When I think of agility, it’s more about multidimensional capabilities. CTV can create specific journeys for audiences at specific places in the funnel,” noted Jeff Giacchetti, programmatic TV lead at Colgate-Pamolive Co. “Linear scatter doesn’t register for me in terms of agility.”

“We’re focusing on enablement. We are enabling clients’ data and client targeting,” said Dan Callahan, Fox SVP of data strategy and sales innovation, at the “Driving TV Performance in a Fragmented Landscape with the Household” panel. “This year’s Upfront was seismic shift in that we have 120 brands that are activating data-driven strategies with us, the majority on the CTV side, and a handful moving into the linear environment.”


After testing integrated shopping experiences, YouTube is launching seven days of holiday-themed shoppable livestreams November 15 beginning with the Merrell Twins sharing their wish list featuring products from Walmart, Samsung and Verizon. “Through our partnership with YouTube, we will continue to evolve how we link inspiration and commerce,” said William White, Walmart CMO. YouTube recently debuted shoppable creator partnerships with Simply Nailogical, who launched her nail polish collection to 2.8 million fans on her Simply Not Logical channel; and Hyram, who dropped his Selfless skincare line to 4.5 million fans.

Roku is running with original content for the AVOD ecosystem. Aside from being the new home of the “Zoey’s Extraordinary” franchise with a new holiday movie on tap—the AVOD platform’s first feature film—Roku will debut its first half-hour comedy, “Children Ruin Everything,” this spring. Compared with competing streamers like Netflix and Amazon, Colin Davis, Roku’s director of scripted content, said during “From Pitch to Premiere: Original Content for AVOD,” which also featured “Zoey” actress Jane Levy. “We have different economics but that doesn’t mean we can’t provide content that’s just as good.”

Because timing is everything, Nielsen dropped its first brand refresh in five years to coincide with AWNY. The refresh, which includes a new logo for the first time since 2007, represents a “commitment to innovation,” said the company, whose methodology has come under question from a variety of brand stakeholders.

Community-minded: Citing companies including Marriott, Salesforce, Target and Tonal as examples of brand community powerhouses, John Cantarella, VP of community & impact partnerships at Facebook, said he anticipates a surge in the C suite of the chief community officer. Facebook launched a certified community management training program “so people can understand the skills they need to accomplish this,” he said.


Whether brands are thinking nationally or locally, streaming presents a gold mine for regional advertising. Cynopsis caught up with Jason Swartz, VP of advanced advertising, new business and national sales at New York Interconnect, who moderated the panel “Advertising to Streamers: Why Regional Buys Are on the Rise” to talk about the AVOD opportunity.

The growth of ad-supported streaming is creating more complexity for advertisers. How can marketers best deal with this increased fragmentation?
The first thing that could benefit marketers is to have a full understanding of the landscape. Their connections with TV media buyers and planners will help because they have to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to fragmentation so they can definitely offer guidance. Teams need to research and identify which vendors make the most sense for their brands. We have clients for whom low-cost, low CPM, with a lot of impressions and without restrictions to where the content runs will make the most sense. For those clients, I would suggest a programmatic strategy. However, for a client who wants to use data and identify specific audiences, the marketing team should partner with their media buyers and planners to take the time and identify the MSO in the space and consider if there is a streaming app available to complement a TV linear campaign. I also see clients looking to reach broadband-only customers, so it’s important to understand which services in your market are making a big impact.

What’s your advice for a national brand that wants to embrace local advertising on streaming services?
I think opportunistic funds for a specific region need to include data and targeting. The national brand is reaching everyone, but how do they enhance their local regional buy? There are many benefits to buying regional to reach the streaming audience, especially in specific markets like New York. They should also inquire about specific attribution studies that can tie back and prove out the clients’ regional advertising success.

What new targeting technology should marketers be aware of today?
Multiscreen campaigns aren’t that new anymore; however they are increasing and expanding when it comes to reaching the streaming audience. And the targeting technology that is available now provides so much insight. Many of the advanced space advertisers are looking to create a multiscreen addressable campaign that helps expand the reach of one-to-one targeting not only on linear, but now also on streaming.


Elevating Equity: How can the media industry leverage influence to elevate equity? Filmmaker and ARRAY founder Ava DuVernay shared an idea during the panel “The Future of Entertainment and Representation.” “Think about replacing the word ‘representation’ with ‘permanence.’ How do I create this space, this project, this conference call to permanently change the tone, tenor, complexion, environment so that it is equitable,” she said.

“More marketers are trying ton understand how to communicate with multicultural audiences, with good reason,” said Veronica Fabiani, director, ad sales research and insights, ViacomCBS, during “Lights, Camera, Visibility! Leveraging Inclusive Media to Make Your Brand Shine.” “But when brands step up they really have to do it in a way that is authentic and not performative—to put their money where their mouth it.

In a Twitter chat with newly-rebranded Nielsen, the company was asked how media and advertisers can leverage their reach to overcome diversity issues. “We often talk about representation in media and its influence on identity formation,” tweeted the measurement company. “This is a key area where both media and advertisers can lean in – ensuring that they’re showcasing diverse talent.”

Here’s what Carrie Seifer, chief customer officer/GM, at market research company GWI, had to say when Cynopsis posed the following question:
How can brands best reach diverse audiences in an authentic way, and what are the best measurement tools to ensure they are hitting the mark?
Brands that succeed today do so because they understand what it takes to connect with their customers on a granular and intimate level, ultimately creating memorable experiences and connections with every launch, product release and form of communication. Attempting to reach all diverse populations with the same message ignores the very things that make America so great—the diversity of our communities and overall population. Ethnic backgrounds and demographics play a much larger role in the things that consumers value and even the ads and marketing campaigns they resonate with. For instance, Baby Boomers who identify as Black are much more likely to say they prefer ads that reflect their culture, while Gen Zs that identify as Black are much more likely to prefer ads that feature celebrities who look like them. In an age where digital brand discovery is booming, it is increasingly possible to target extremely specific audiences. Success in this space comes with knowing how sub-audiences stand out from a more general group.


* “The only way a campaign doesn’t work is when you don’t learn something from that campaign.” – Brad Stockton, VP, US national video innovation, Dentsu
* “Create your weather, then blow around in the wind.” – Matthew McConaughey
* “Don’t overpromise. It wastes time.” – Matt Sweeney, chief investment officer, GroupM
* “Data, and connected and holistic media is going to be one of main topics of next year’s Upfronts.” – Paolo Provinciali, head of US media, Anheuser-Busch

If you have an AWNY news tip, reaction or question, you can find me at [email protected]. See you tomorrow.

Cynopsis Team

Lynn Leahey
Editorial Director
Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Roberta Caploe

Executive Director of Sales
Albert Nassour
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