This year’s IAB Engage event featured a wealth of key players from the global Internet industry, offering their insights for the future of digital media. This report offers key highlights from the afternoon session, including Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify, and comedian Jimmy Carr, who speaks about his previous career in marketing…
The afternoon session at IAB Engage 2010 saw a welcome return for Roisin Donnelly, P&G corporate marketing director. Donnelly last spoke at Engage in 2007 and in her opening remarks criticised the industry saying marketers are “overcomplicating our world”.
Donnelly, who oversees successful online brands as diverse as Old Spice and Pringles, argued that marketers should “listen, listen, listen” and “deeply understand their consumers”. She added: “You can no longer tell and sell as the Mad Men did in the 1960s.”
Talking about the blurring of the lines between media and creative agencies, Donnelly believes that all brands need today is a “big idea” and argued that “we no longer have above the line and below the line”. Citing this year’s Old Spice campaign, which ran across TV and online, Donnelly described how in the past Old Spice ran the same campaign for 12 Christmases – which turned it into a “granddad brand” – but the big idea reached out to female as well as male purchasers online and offline.
Donnelly highlighted the importance of testing the consumer path to purchase, and refinement based on desired user experience. “Online drives higher shares and higher loyalty,” she said. “But our consumers are not always delighted with the experience”. Using the example of power toothbrushes, Donnelly described how for one P&G product from search to purchase took 12 clicks, once the path was reduced to four clicks “sales doubled overnight,” she said.
Donnelly also explained how P&G is committed to promoting innovation within communications, including in-game advertising, which is a perfect media to target “tribes who play games 100% of the time” adding that in-game is a “brilliant place to target this tribe”.
In a nod to the rise of social media, Donnelly believes, “consumers are our advertisers and pass on our message.” She closed with the message “Online is utterly at the heart of supercharging our brands.”
Spotify is ‘radio for the new millenium’
Following Donnelly in his first appearance at Engage, Ek argued that “the way of doing business has changed, there is a move from ownership to access of music”. According to the serial entrepreneur, this is why the music industry, once worth $50billion a year is today worth $17 billion and could be worth $15 billion or less this year.
Ek, also founder of the successful Stardoll, a social network for teenage girls, explained that he is determined to increase the scope of Spotify for marketers and said he is trying to push brand engagement online. “Spotify is more than music online,” he said, adding that “Spotify knows more about you than you imagine. Not only your location, age, gender. We know your mood based on the music they’re listening to.”
In the future, Ek expects mobile to play a bigger role. For this to happen Ek believes he has to make things more simple: “You can buy a CD, take it home and play it on any machine and get sound. But digital music is complicated.” He added “there are a million devices, we want Spotify to be enabled across them all.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ek believes there is great scope for growth for the platform. “There is so much growth left. [Spotify] is radio for the new millennium with all the targeting online can bring.” He added: “Spotify is the dominant audio”.
Ek believes that piracy is the biggest competitive threat to Spotify: “We are not competing with other [music] businesses. That’s of no interest to us,” he said. Instead he is focused on getting people to move from piracy to a legal environment: “Accessibility, ease, speed – legal is not a priority to users. No one prefers to do something illegal, people want to help the artists.”
Over the course of the interview with the IAB’s chief executive Guy Phillipson, Ek also admitted that his favourite music is retro and encompasses the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, ironically neither of, which are available on Spotify.
Brands ‘becoming more like broadcasters’
Wrapping up Engage 2010, comedian Jimmy Carr was quizzed by the silky-tongued “media pluralist” and Parkinson-like IAB chairman Richard Eyre on the popularity of social networking. “No one will overtake Facebook and Twitter,” said Carr. “They’re like The Beatles and Elvis. They were the first.”
Carr, briefly a marketer for Shell, admitted that he wasn’t very good at the job: “I was sh*t. But that’s not a barrier to working in marketing.” And, in a dig at the assembled audience of marketers, he added: “But then if you’re really bad you just go client side.”
When asked what advert he would like to star in Carr said: “Show me the money I’m not fussy, I will do feminine bloating if they ask.” However, when pressed on the question of selling-out he argued that there is a difference between doing a voice over and appearing in–shot. According to Carr, the brand has to be right for the comedian. “John Smiths made Jack Dee a star, a household name – more so than his TV sitcom. Same with Peter Kay, the ads fit with his personality. A perfect match”.
Showing his up to date knowledge of the advertising business, Carr commented on how he thought brands were becoming more like broadcasters. Referring to the new campaign by beer brand Fosters, which is unveiling ten video clips starring Alan Partridge, Carr commented: “Fosters has become a broadcaster, they’re like the BBC”.
Carr is a renowned Twitter fan and was introduced to the micro blogging network by last year’s Engage comedy turn, Stephen Fry: “Stephen said give this a go”, adding “it’s the perfect tool, easy to use, right for the technology, 140 characters is perfect. Feedback is immediate, people either laugh or they don’t.”
No stranger to social networks, Carr has also performed gigs in Second Life, although admitted he didn’t see the point of virtual reality and preferred the popularity of games. “I did a gig in Second Life, it cost me nothing, it didn’t work, but I gave it a crack. I should have done a gig on World of Warcraft”.
Discussing YouTube, Carr sees it as “a meritocracy, unlike the music business where you have to be incredibly lucky to do well.”
Carr also listed his favourite websites as Chortle – “it’s the business website for comedians” – and The Onion – “everything about it is perfect”. His favourite app is Grinder. “It’s certainly the funniest”, he said deadpan.
Read part one of the IAB engage report, including comments from Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz, here.