Facebook VP at Advertising Week: We Want You To Be More Social

After a Monday Advertising Week session at which major brands seemed to have memory loss when questioned about social media platforms other than Facebook, I was a little wary when I walked into yesterday’s “Marketing That Connects” panel to find the Facebook logo projected on the wall. Was this to be another Facebook commercial? The lights dimmed after a brief introduction (and expression of gratitude to Facebook for its support of Advertising Week) to allow us to better view a long form commercial for the Facebook advertising platform.

After the jump, the scoop on the conversation that followed, as well as takeaways on social media advertising, trust, and the structure and process of developing brand communications from the second day of the seventh annual Advertising Week.

Facebook Effect author David Kirkpatrick, the moderator of the panel to which I refer above, was joined by Mike Murphy, VP of Global Sales at Facebook (pictured) and three executives from leading creative agencies. Murphy was on-message pitching Facebook’s formidable and effective advertising potential to the auditorium packed with ad men and women. That included assuring brands and agencies that Facebook wants to help them make their linear media programs more social, along with an admission that support for the huge number of smaller, self-service advertisers may not be up to snuff.

Some of the perspectives from the panelists:

  • Sharing is not new. It’s becoming more enabled.
  • Social media is forcing brands to have more fully-formed personalities.
  • When we use the word “targeting,” it may give people the wrong impression. What I think is really feared is giving people the right impression.

Pardon me being bewildered by the repeated comments on this and other panels about how we are now listening to the voice of consumers, no longer treating them as targets and realizing that we have to make genuine connections. What’s that all about? I’m going to guess that the number of successful advertising campaigns that ignored or dehumanized consumers is approximately zero.

The Trust Forum held earlier in the day started with a solid setup from Loreen Babcock, chairman and CEO of Unit 7, the agency that organized this session. She was followed by journalist Chris Coumo interviewing Rod Blagojevich – entertaining, but I heard little contribution to the trust discussion. Next, representatives from Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo! were questioned by The Wall Street Journal’s Jessica Vascellaro. All of the publishers had a “less-is-more” posture on government regulation related to user privacy.

Among the more thoughtful moments:

  • Ann Toth of Yahoo! talking about exploring ways to inform users of privacy policies and other terms of use in smaller, more relevant and more transparent pieces, as opposed to one massive document.
  • Referring to privacy at his company, Google’s Will Devries commented that, “It has become part of our marketing,” with superior privacy implementation as a competitive advantage.
  • “We think we are being regulated every day by our users,” said Tim Sparapani of Facebook.

Last up was Harvard’s Nancy F. Koehn who discussed trust in the context of our time in history. Her barrage of insights was fast and furious – with references to Oprah Winfrey, Abraham Lincoln and Ernest Shackleton of people who earned trust and trusted others. I’ve requested a transcript.

Last but not least, I want to mention that I more than once eavesdropped on the continuing industry discussion of “breaking down silos” during the long queues to get into the sessions. One well-respected brand manager commented that brands need a single person to oversee all internal and external communications, across all platforms and all disciplines. Will the talk-to-action ratio of this topic tilt more towards action in the near future?

Today I’ll be camped at the Data Congress and the Huffington Post’s session on social media. Send me a tweet if you want to swap thoughts.