I’m putting the trendiest of Tweeters on notice— I, too, attended a creative festival in Austin. I’m speaking, of course, about the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) National Conference.
The AAF National Conference is kind of like SXSW for marketing enthusiasts who appreciate the fresh sound of mobile marketing panelists and the measured rhythm of an exceptional campaign pitch. With a lineup featuring big brand speakers and panelists, the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC), the National ADDY Awards, and open bars that seemingly never end, the event is really something to Tweet home about.
I gathered some of the best up-and-coming ideas and fresh new insights from the event below. So grab your moleskin and let’s jam.
This highfalutin word was tossed about regularly throughout the weekend. Cutting the buzz terms, it means targeting is getting more and more sophisticated as marketers gain mounds of location-based data about their consumers. It’s no longer about targeting based on geography, demographics, psychographics or behavioral attributes, but instead increasingly measured mixes of all these data. For example, Pandora gave us a great case study where they threw invite-only concerts for lucky Pandora users within certain demographic guidelines, living in defined areas, who had shown high interest in the featured artists according to their Pandora usage.
Obviously, this type of event loves to hype on “the next big thing.” So I was surprised to hear big brands regularly pay homage to the critical role of TV, print advertising and other traditional media in their marketing mix. The common message seemed to be that while social media and interactive mediums are great for a “deeper conversation” with customers, it’s difficult to have 10 million deep conversations. Although it can’t stack up on buzz factor, traditional media’s reach continues to hold big value in the eyes of decision makers.
I noticed that the biggest ADDYs winners now require an explanation, and that’s a good thing. Instead of a print ad or TV spot that can be “shown,” today’s prized campaigns use video case studies to explain the numerous arms and extensions attached to ideas. They outline how broadcast executions drove the target to social media applications, live events, social causes, special promotions and more. The Old Spice guy held space here for a second year, but “Back for the Future” (Nike), “Mean Stinks” (Secret) and “Protect the Moment” (Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority) are other campaigns to check out if you appreciate smart integration.
The National Student Advertising Competition is an inspiring surprise every year. College students are gaining increasing access to professional software, technology and research. And it shows. The next generation proves to be an ambitious, savvy and confident bunch, so if you currently work in an agency, hone your skills. These kids will soon be taking the industry by storm.
In closing, I’d like to shamelessly congratulate the students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for taking first prize in this year’s National Student Advertising Competition. Finally, a big win in Austin. Go Big Red.