Top Takeaways From Advertising Week New York

Rahul Sabnis of iHeartMedia, Greg Anderson of Xaxis Media Group, Rob Davis of Ogilvy USA, and Michelle Castillo of Cheddar
September 27, 2019

Advertising Week is an annual New York event, which brings together some of the top minds in marketing, media, and pop culture. This year’s Advertising Week focused on keeping up with cultural trends, whether that was the move from traditional TV to streaming or reflecting on the public’s changing attitudes.

Here were some of the top takeaways:

1) As more audiences move to streaming television, there’s an opportunity for free, ad-supported viewing services.

Though a lot of today’s chatter around streaming focuses on subscription-based offerings like Netflix, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Disney+, there are still many companies that offer ad-supported viewing experiences. These companies provide an opportunity for brands to reach viewers who have cut the cord, as well as a way for people who don’t want to spend more on television to access cheaper or free content.

Roku acts as a platform for other services but also offers the ad-supported The Roku Channel, which allows people to watch TV shows and movies for free. Scott Rosenberg, senior vice president of Roku's platform business, told Cheddar that 75 percent of Roku users already watch at least one ad-supported service on Roku.

Hulu is subscription-based, but has different tiers of services including an ad-supported experience, an ad-light experience, and a live television service that doesn’t require a cable or satellite subscription.

Comcast’s streaming service, which is slated to launch in 2020, will also be ad-supported and free for Comcast and Sky customers.

"If you look at it from an advertising perspective, it's getting harder and harder to reach consumers," Google Americas President Allan Thygesen told Cheddar. "It's very important that there are video-based platforms that are ad-supported where they can reach consumers. So there's a very important role for YouTube, both for consumers who are looking to have free experiences that are for everyone and for advertisers who are looking for places to reach consumers."

2) It’s getting crowded online, so brands need to find ways to stand out — including audio advertising.

With the amount of visual content posted online and on social media, it’s hard for brands to get noticed by the public. So they’re turning back to a tried-and-true method: sound.

Whether it’s sonic branding (sounds or verbal slogans associated with a brand), working with voice assistants, or advertising on radio programming, marketers are increasingly looking for ways to get their brand heard.

Audio advertising is still considered a part of experiential marketing budgets. But as voice assistants become ever more prevalent in society, many companies are anticipating that people will start relying on sound-based answers for their problems, rather than just searching for text-based responses online.

The rise of podcasting has also helped fuel interest in audio advertising. According to Edison Research, more than half of Americans have listened to a podcast this year and one out of three listen to at least one podcast monthly.

3) Advertising executives need to listen to today’s culture to be effective.

Burger King CMO Fernando Machado emphasized the importance of listening to social media to inform a company’s marketing. For Burger King, they realized sustainability and healthy eating concerns were top of mind for its customers.

Mastercard senior vice president Jim Issokson talked about the need for credit card companies to represent their customers accurately, especially for clients who are non-binary or transgender.

Other panels focused on toxic masculinity, including a new campaign collaboration with shaving brand Harry’s and violence prevention organization A Call To Men which encourages male high school and college athletes to ask for help when needed. The project is intended to stop the stigma of weakness when men need to ask for assistance.

4) Cannabis is a booming industry that wants to be taken seriously.

With many states legalizing CBD and marijuana use, cannabis companies are looking for ways to be accepted by the general public. Many brands talked about the need to get rid of existing stigmas.

NorCal Cannabis Company CMO Joel Lunenfeld said he wanted to get rid of the concept of a dispensary. Instead, he called for marijuana companies to create shopping experiences, which could perhaps make customers feel less alienated and bring cannabis into the mainstream.

5) People are concerned about data privacy and advertisers are taking note.

Data is a necessary part of the personalized advertising experience online. A new survey of over 1,000 people conducted by marketing technology firm Valassis showed 69 percent were willing to share personal information to get custom deals or ads tailored to their interests. At the same time, almost half of the respondents shared concern over data privacy and about the way brands using personal information for advertising. With the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in place and new California privacy regulations (CPAA) set to take effect at the beginning of 2020, marketers are looking at ways to balance targeted advertising while still respecting consumer concerns over how their information is being used.