The theme of day two had much to do with video: TV in the past, now and the future, and how the new and evolving platforms are breaking the norms. We even had a star sighting with Eva Longoria on stage to talk about her upcoming venture on Hulu. With all of the trends, information and speculating about the future, the big takeaway for me was that Ideas win. That’s it.
Robert Wong, CCO of Google Creative Lab, shared some of the most interesting and dynamic work of the conference. It was powerful, engaging, smart, and it told stories. In the end everything he shared, from product innovation to ads, came from good ideas. What I found most interesting is where the ideas came from. Unconventional ways of going about the thinking seems to lead to these really great ideas. For Google, one example was to come up with the commercial before the product – as with Google Glass. As the team was searching for what this “thing” could be and do, they decided to put their efforts into making a commercial, allowing them the freedom of thinking “what could this be?” with the focus of needing to produce a spot. The product idea got better because of the approach to thinking about it. Smart.
We heard about Blackberry’s evolution (yes they are still around and apparently are the number one mobile device in many developing countries), the Redbox/Verizon partnership and the intriguing places in which technology can go – immediately followed by Sharon Peyer of HITBLISS telling us that that concept is dead! (HITBLISS is an interesting subscription concept where you get rewarded for watching ads that you choose. There’s an entire post waiting to be written on the implications of that.) All very fascinating stuff that started with ideas that challenge convention.
My biggest observation about the room (other than the number of leather pants present) was that the questions in the room did not always match or connect with the comments in the Twitter feed. (To read the feed, check out #aadigital.) With so many topics about or related to video, the questions asked via microphone largely took on an old-school feel of “how will that work?” or “is that true?” while the twitterverse seemed to be largely embracing the new and smart or challenging the old and slow. I found the dichotomy between the two narratives interesting.
A few nuggets from day two:
· Blackberry contends that it’s not a challenger brand in all markets and that the new Blackberry 10 has some cool and interesting features – question is whether it’s too little, too late.
· Redbox delivers more than 1.5 billion impressions monthly.
· TV is moving to its “third act” from its launch (1940-1990) to its evolution (1990-2011) to its revolution with a soon-to-be dramatic breakup of the traditional delivery model.
· YUME’s eye test of TV viewership shows that the number one distraction for the viewer during viewership is the mobile device.
· Today, 32% of the US is viewing content online via their TV.
· Citibank’s Vanessa Colella says that the “mountain of data” we face makes people feel like they should know everything before they start, which in turn causes people to hesitate or take no action at all.
· She also said that with all things digital you should start small and have a stage-gate approach to review and learning.
· Aereo is another cool platform – the idea of it is something to be mindful of.
All in all a great few days of sharing, discussing and learning. To see much more and an in-depth summary, check out Ad Age Digital.