Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Ad Age Digital East 2011

Among the roughly one thousand advertising and marketing pros at last week's Ad Age Digital, the scheduled presentations and impromptu conversations generated lots of real-time reactions, both positive and negative.

Among the roughly one thousand advertising and marketing pros at last week’s Ad Age Digital, the scheduled presentations and impromptu conversations generated lots of real-time reactions, both positive and negative.

The agenda was broad and some of the presenters familiar from other conferences, so each participant’s takeaways are unique. Here’s are a few that resonated with me.

Liquid and linked

My vote for best presentation goes to Wendy Clark, of the Coca-Cola Company. Clark’s marketing approach is holistic and multi-modal, from product packaging to Coke’s Facebook page. Brands, she said, must be able to compete in a “liquid,” constantly changing market landscape using tactics that are “linked” to each other by a unified strategy. Every consumer touch-point is a candidate for creating meaningful brand impressions, keeping in mind, Clark commented, “We cannot have shiny-object syndrome.”

“We do not control all the stories for our brands,” Clark noted. “Those days are over. The truth is irrelevant. If I don’t meet you at your truth and take you back to mine, as a marketer, I’m not doing my job.” She advises that  brands need to co-create, participate and honor their audiences — not message. If the three activities are properly executed, the messaging will occur organically.

Here is Clark’s full presentation:

adage on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

The most interesting man in the world

During a panel about “mixing alcohol and social media,” we saw how how tried-and-true marketing basics were applied to a highly successful video/social media campaign. Paul Smailes of Dos Equis and Jeff Brooks of Euro RSCG NY said that their market research found that beer drinkers liked to tell tall tales that often got taller on retelling. Their biggest fear in life is being boring. From the notion that the campaign should be about having a more interesting life, came the The Most Interesting Man in the World.

As a video campaign, YouTube was a logical platform for the brand-generated content, supplemented by Facebook because of the ease of integration and its overall popularity. Twitter is not used to avoid overexposure.

The brand chose to listen and let go — to allow the user-generated spoofs to go viral, as the virality reinforced the campaign. Marketing in social media, they found, is no different than on other platforms. Understand your consumer and connect with them in engaging and relevant ways.

But, wait. There’s more.

  • Here’s my previously posted coverage of Twitter’s announcement of Geo-targeting of Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts, as well as a Followers Dashboard.
  • There’s a video archive of many of the discussions from the conference, as well as event coverage from sponsor, Advertising Age.
  • Porter Gale of Virgin America, spoke about the company’s social media campaign for engagement, service recovery and promotion. It’s a great example of a brand leveraging every element of the customer experience, combining media platforms with events, keeping the fun level high and benefiting from risk-taking.
  • During the presentation by Clear-Channel’s Bob Pittman, the Twitter stream on #AADIGITAL countered his statistics about the strength and viability of radio with declarations of the death-watch over that platform.
  • And, speaking of tweets, here’s a list of some of one participant’s favorites and another of the top influencers.

Neil Glassman is principal marketing strategist at WhizBangPowWow, with a track record of success across linear, digital and social media. Join his conversation on Twitter or email Neil to talk about marketing or swap recipes.