The Next Big Ad Innovation: Stop Stealing My Time

by Lizzie Widhelm, Senior Vice President, Ad Product Sales & Strategy, Pandora

I think about time, all of the time. With a busy career, spouse and three young sons, I often feel like I have very little of it. So little, in fact, that I’m relentless about choosing who and what gets my attention.

Do I sound like anyone you know? The quest for time and attention is a hot topic in our households as well as every marketing meeting. Now more than ever, consumers are taking control of their time, so capturing it has become exceedingly difficult for brands. They want attention but it’s not surrendered easily. Continue Reading →

Two Lessons From the Road: Never Get Comfortable and Always Look Up the Hill

I’ve worked for the same company for 14 years.  Crazy, right?  When you start early at such a dynamic company like PepsiCo, it’s hard to make a change.  But, it’s more than that.  Throughout those 14 years, I can honestly say I’ve transformed.  And I’ve had to because the company and industry have moved so fast.  It’s been exciting to run, or in my case, cycle, at that pace.  I’ve been an avid cyclist for many years, so I tend to appreciate high velocity.  I’m inspired daily by my colleagues, who are pushing the beverage category and consumer marketing to the next level.  This is why, 14 years later, it still feels just as exciting as it did in the beginning.

So, that got me thinking about the keys to create a culture within a company that inspires and encourages transformation.  What have I learned from my own career path at PepsiCo and my passion for being an ever-evolving employee?  It’s interesting — two lessons that immediately came to mind are also true in cycling; never get comfortable in the saddle and always look up the hill. Continue Reading →

Seth Kaufman, PepsiCo to Keynote AAF’s Digital Conference

Seth Kaufman, PepsiCo to Keynote AAF’s Digital Conference

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 9, 2015)—Today, the American Advertising Federation (AAF) announced that Seth Kaufman, Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo North America Beverages  will deliver the opening keynote for AAF’s Digital Conference, Edge Effect: Media Meets Technology in Advertising.

The conference will bring together Senior- to Executive-level marketing, advertising, advertising technology and media professionals from major brands, agencies and media companies to address important topics emerging out of the shift to advertising technology and its uses across industries. The powerful line-up of speakers, preceded by Kaufman, will explore topics, such as best practices and business models for brands onboarding new technologies for advertising in “Brands As the New VC’s,” what we can power and create with technology in advertising in “Truth, Lies & Advertising Technology,” what a tech-driven future looks like in a Fireside Chat and the role of video in the future of digital advertising with AOL. Through keynotes and exclusive one-on-one networking sessions with AOL, Pandora, Starcom MediaVest Group, Yahoo! and other industry pioneers, the conference will deliver an enriching and unique experience for attendees. Continue Reading →

Interview with Emmanuel Seuge of The Coca-Cola Company

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2013 Advertising Hall of Achievement Interview: Emmanuel Seuge, Vice President, Global Alliances and Ventures, The Coca-Cola Company

In 1997, Emmanuel Seuge, then 21 years old, took a break between his fourth and fifth years at the École Supérieure de Commerce business school in Paris to complete a yearlong marketing internship with Coca-Cola. Emmanuel, a Paris native, helped with the beverage giant’s marketing push for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.

Early in your career you managed to combine two of your greatest passions, football and marketing, and spawn what must have been a vastly rewarding opportunity. When did you begin to develop a passion for marketing?

Very early. Even though I was born in Paris, I grew up in the US in the early 80′s. This was the time where Nike started to use [Michael] Jordan in their advertising; I remember very well understanding the role that this had in me asking my mom to buy my first pair of Nike shoes–and from them, I stayed very interested in brands. So very naturally when I had to chose a major in business school in Paris I chose marketing strategy. I think it’s easier to act as a marketer for a brand that you love and admire to a certain extent. I have been a fan of Coca-Cola since I was a young child so for me joining Coke after school was a unique opportunity, and everyday I remind myself of the honor it represents to work on a brand that generations of marketers have worked on successfully in the past 127 years.

What was it that attracted you to a career in marketing? Was it the opportunity to reach large audiences, the psychology of consumer engagement or something more?

Innovation is what attracts me to the field of marketing. Progress and the art of inventing new things and finding new needs that consumers might not be aware of is the most exciting part to me. I believe powerful marketing can change people’s lives. Nothing less!

What are your thoughts on the disruption vs. distraction paradigm? How can we toe the line between ads which enhance the overall experience, and those which take away from it?

Today’s world is so cluttered, content for communication needs to be meaningful, genuine and extremely well targeted to the consumer in order to have an impact. Disruption only makes sense if you’re trying to capture the consumer in a different way or ensure that you put their mind in a different kind of setting to be receptive to the message. Advertising for the sake of advertising in today’s world doesn’t mean anything—it’s just apiece of the bigger puzzle. At Coca-Cola we often speak about Earned, Paid, Owned and Shared media. Finding the right balance of these media to engage our consumers is key. Marketing today is about the right message in the right occasion with the right media.  Disruption, even if powerful, done at the wrong moment or with the wrong media will come unnoticed. 

Where did you draw the inspiration for launching Marketing Ventures for Coca-Cola, and how does someone in your position, or any position in this industry, put aside thoughts of failure and avoid making business decisions based on fear?

Partnerships have always been at the core of how we operate and grow as a company. The marketing venture work came out of a belief that we needed to evolve the way we think about partnerships. When our chairman announced our company’sambition to double the size of our business by 2020, we knew we would need to capture growth in a new way. The world of start-ups became quickly an inspiration for their ability to act fast, nimble, creatively, fail and get back up fast and we thought it would make sense for us to partner with these young entrepreneurs to address some of our key business needs. With our venture partnerships, we are able to bring our marketingreach and scale to the table, and the risks we take are rewarded by the equity we take in these companies. I believe that when you operate in a risk taking culture, it decreases your fear of failure.

We have now 5 start ups with which we have a venture partnership with including Spotify, Backplane and MisfitWearables.

Can you tell us a little about Coca-Cola’s relationship with Spotify? How did that develop and what sort of marketing tactics have you deployed to create a mutually beneficial partnership?

We began our partnership with Spotify to address a core business need to better engage our younger audience. We wanted to connect with our consumers on a daily basis and there is no better way to do that than to leverage music. Wherever you go around the world, teens listen to music every single day. Daniel Ek, the founder of Spotify, often speaks about making music available for free to over 500 Million people, making it completely accessible. We want to help them in that journey and that is why in any market that Spotify enters, we are at their side and put our marketing in motion to promote this service and offering. We recently launched together in Mexico and it is today the most successful streaming platform in the country.

We also want to enhance the Spotify experience by creating specific programs. This year we launched Placelists, an app that allows people to align songs and places and make connections with their friends, and we are launching something similar around the World Cup.

Sports, music and film are three universally adored mediums that can be adapted across language barriers and appeal to large audiences. Marketing platforms on the other hand, are not always so universal. Gaps in technology advancement, differing social platforms, government interference, and other factors must make it difficult for a globally minded person like yourself to develop such broad and ubiquitous branding campaigns. What sort of challenges have YOU faced, and how have you managed to overcome them?

That is the beauty of working with a global organization. At the core, we are a global company that is operated locally. We build our global programs with insights from our markets to make sure our campaigns are locally relevant. We create global programs that are 60-70% finished, and then markets put a localized layer on top of it. More and more our global programs are really co-created with the local teams and the worldwide consumer passion for sports, music, gaming, the Olympics, the World Cup and others allows us to have a global reach and connect with people on a global level. We had over 100 markets activate the Olympics for London and we will have over 180 markets amplifying our “World’s Cup” Campaign for the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

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Interview with Tara Walpert Levy of Google & YouTube

TaraWalpertLevy2013 Advertising Hall of Achievement Interview: Tara Walpert Levy, Managing Director, Ads Marketing, Google & YouTube

Tara Walpert Levy brings 17 years of experience to Google, where she leads Ads Marketing for Google and YouTube. In this role, she is responsible for the company’s communications and market development for Google and YouTube’s advertising offerings, globally. On Tuesday, November 5th, Tara will be inducted, along with six others, into the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Achievement.

You came to Google with a passion to bridge the digital divide. In the past two years, have traditional advertisers and technology companies been able to close the gap at all? What sort of improvements have you seen?

When I came to Google a few years ago, Mary Meeker was still showing the significant gap between the time people spent on digital and the attention marketers gave to the medium.  Time spent on digital was more than twice the budget brands were allocating. Since that time, the two are much closer to parity, so the gap is closing!

The traditional and digital worlds have evolved from fighting over which way is best to learning to take the best from each other. Digital marketing today retains a lot more of the beauty and insight of traditional creative than it did two years ago. Traditional marketers are using substantially more data and insights to influence their online and offline efforts than they did before.

So, the challenge today is less about bridging the divide and more about helping every marketer get the most out of the web. How to take advantage of the elements of digital that make it unique – the ability to reach a passionate audience, to tell your brand story in the most amazing ways, and to drive deeper engagement through participation. The big winners at Cannes the last few years have all taken this to heart – brands like Nike and Dove. But doing this at scale requires changes to organizational approach, to campaign strategy, and to measuring impact.

There’s no playbook; that’s the challenge. But the brands who are investing today in figuring out how to build their brands and businesses in a different way are the ones who in 3-5 years will have a competitive advantage others can’t catch. They will be to brand building what Amazon and Ebay were to SEM.  And hopefully we will have been a part of  to make the web work for them.

You’ve been spending a lot of time with YouTube lately. As head of B2B marketing for YouTube, what sort of information are you presenting to advertisers to convince them that digital is more than a secondary medium?

Honestly, I’m not sure we have to convince most marketers that digital is more than a secondary medium anymore. Most top brands have a deep understanding of their consumers’ evolving behavior and their shift to constant connectivity. We check our phones an average of 110 times a day. We move across devices 90% of the time before accomplishing a task. Marketers get that, and understand the importance of being where their customers are.

Honestly, I’m not sure we have to convince most marketers that digital is more than a secondary medium anymore.

One of the challenges that pops up though is when marketers themselves are not using the platforms their customers are using. Marketing at the end of the day is often personal. I love ESPN, so I understand advertising on ESPN. I use Facebook so I understand how to advertise on Facebook. But when there’s a disconnect between user behavior and marketer’s personal behavior, you often see a bigger lag. YouTube is a great example of this. It reaches more 18-34 year olds than any cable network, but many marketers can’t name more than one YouTube channel, if that.

So, our challenge is helping marketers understand an experience that can be foreign to them, and understand content that doesn’t look like the content they grew up watching, even though millions of people spend billions of hours watching it every month. Tools like our quarterly report, YouTube Insights, or our weekly content digest, YouTube Re:View, aim to make it easier for marketers to “get it” if they’re not naturally drawn to the platform.

You’re a proponent of engagement over exposure, and you have said that the brands who buy into this philosophy will be the ones that come out on top. As leaders and prime examples of success in this industry, what have both Google and YouTube done, or what are they doing now, to put this into practice?

That one’s easy – Google was built on this principle. Here’s a quick test, to see if you agree. How did you hear about Google? Was it a TV ad? A billboard? No, it was almost certainly originally by word of mouth from passionate super-fans. In fact, Google didn’t run its first ad on TV until just a few years ago. Google was built by super-serving a core group of people, and then using the resulting insights and advocacy to grow out from there.

It’s not just Google who has used this approach successfully, btw. Think about many of the hot brands of the past 15 years: Amazon, AirBnB, Chipotle, Warby Parker. These are brands who grew up in a time when participatory, engagement-driven media were available, and that’s where they naturally gravitated because they had no legacy to overcome. Brands with longer history are now doing the same – think Nike, Samsung, P&G – but it’s harder because it’s a bigger change.

To be clear, this isn’t about digital vs. TV, or even engagement vs. exposure. It’s about a prioritization and sequencing. It’s about answering the question “what would my media plan look like if engagement were my top objective?” Exposure is still important, and most brands will still benefit from a mixture of both traditional and digital media, but what we find is that by asking that simple question, a light bulb goes off and marketers start thinking about things differently. It’s about engaged reach, vs simply reach alone.

I could bore you for pages about all the thinking on this, but it’s probably easier to check out our collection of articles from industry leaders at the Engagement Project.

What are your thoughts on the whole “disruption vs. distraction” paradigm? How can we toe the line between ads which enhance user experience, and those which take away from it?

There’s an easy way to determine which ads create value for users and which ones don’t; let people choose whether to watch or engage with your ad. At Google, we believe deeply in the power of choice. Search began by allowing for user choice and favoring the results that users choose the most often. It creates better value for users because the results that get clicked on the most rise to the top, and it creates value for marketers because they only pay to get interested parties. We’ve now extended that philosophy to video and display. Already more than 75% of the advertising on YouTube is choice based.

We believe most advertising will be choice-based in the near future.

We believe most advertising will be choice-based in the near future. In many ways, it already is. People are already making a choice by DVRing, picking up phones, or just ignoring. The difference is, by building choice deliberately into the ad mechanism, brands can benefit by not paying for un-interested users – and by gaining insights on what interests people and what doesn’t. And as for users, they benefit because the tension between disruption and distraction will slowly fade away.

Google has always been a leader in data insights, but Creative Sandbox (part of Google’s Think Insights platform) shows off a completely different side to the company. What challenges (if any) did this foray into creative present to a company so built on numbers and algorithms?

Ha, that’s funny.  It’s true, it’s taken us some time to understand and embrace the art of marketing with the same passion we did the science. But there’s nothing like a convert! We’ve definitely come to embrace the value of combining traditional and new approaches to make it easier for brands to do what they’re trying to do in the simplest, smartest, most compelling ways.

Creative Sandbox was one of the first examples of how we celebrated creativity and data coming together for marketers. Check out Art, Copy and Code, a series of experiments to re-imagine advertising for some of our latest thinking that really pushes the boundaries of what’s possible.

What these efforts have taught us is that marketers value Google not only as a place to be relevant and precise and insights-driven, but also as a place to tell beautiful, seamless stories.  The ability to take a creative idea and bring it to life in formats that are native to the experience, direct to the consumer, unfettered by typical creative constraints, across each of the moments that matter to people as they go about their day is pretty unique.  And as brands’ stories matter to people more than ever, there are incredible opportunities to offer content people value as core to how they live their lives.

And for those who still aren’t “feeling it” from a visceral, emotional standpoint? Well, we just show them the data on the difference seamless storytelling can make!

Can you tell us which industry trends or concepts you are most intrigued with currently? Where is digital headed in 2014-15?

Well, there’s always the hot buttons of social, mobile, and local. The evolution of the web to be much more visual and the unprecedented access to video. Those are important trends and platforms to understand. But what excites me most are the opportunities these trends create. Trends like these mean that people are constantly connected and as a result, we as marketers can be part of people’s lives at more of the moments that matter.

As both a marketer and a consumer, I’m excited to see a move toward greater value – to creating significant utility for people through marketing. Let’s face it, we are very good at ignoring things that aren’t interesting to us, and technology has only made it easier to tune out. This forces us as marketers to think about not only how we will get in front of people, but why they should listen, care, and respond. It’s helping us to raise our game.

As devices become more personal – first it was the phone, soon it will be glasses, watches, and other wearable technology – marketing can become more personal. 100 years ago, brands and marketing were intensely personal. It was the relationship between a merchant and his customers. Then the broadcast age came along, and the relationship with our customers became more distant, as communications went from 2 way to 1 way. We now have the opportunity to bring back that personal touch, at scale.

Finally, digital has brought us into the participation age. It’s a return to two way engagement. To knowing the customer, listening and responding to their needs and interests. To helping them be part of the conversation. A dialogue is much more exciting than a monologue.

These are the things that make me hurry to work every morning.

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