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Advertising – Let's Get Real (Time)

Posted by Ryan Manchee on October 1st, 2012 at 7:08 am

Did you hear - Barack Obama doesn't read newspapers anymore?! Well he reads the news, actually quite a bit, but to get his morning news fix he opts for his iPad. After all what is printed is yesterday's news, not what just happened. Or more importantly what is happening.

Even though I now subscribe to more magazines than I have ever before, the majority of them end up in my recycling bin the day they arrive. Why? Because by the time a magazine arrives in the mail its digital self has already been magically updated on my iPad.

Whether it is current events, celebrity gossip, or sports scores - we want the latest and most up to date information. News sites have had to embrace this thirst and change how they process, package and present information as news.

Not only are we constantly on the hunt for the latest, as consumers we want what is relevant to each of us. Based upon our preferences, interests, and behavior - if we don't care about it, we're on to the next headline, story, post, or blurb. The 24/7 news cycle helped lead this behavior of the hyper-connected consumer. This is a 21st Century reality.

So why is our advertising stuck in the 20th Century? Why are our ads not as dynamic and up to date as the information we are constantly consuming through our unlimited data plans, broadband connections, and digital touchscreens?

Some may shrug their shoulders thinking the technology is not there to facilitate such dynamic and fresh ads. I say hogwash. Only your imagination is limited.

In the last several years, we've seen the advent of DCO, or Dynamic Creative Optimization. This technology platform enables ad agencies and marketers to dynamically control (and optimize based on performance metrics) designated elements of their ad creative - whether it be copy, graphics, video, or even background colors. This has been available in online display ads, video banners, mobile ads, and even in-stream video ads (think interactive pre-roll ads) for years and is just now starting to see widespread acceptance and adoption.

Savvy advertisers have embraced this and moved beyond simply coming up with a concept and crossing their fingers for it to work. But these same advertisers have demanded real-time metrics - who waits a week or 24 hours to know how consumers are responding to your ads?!

As media has converged and the separation between online and on-air has simply become digital, these same opportunities for real-time ads are becoming are reality even in traditional marketing channels.

The death of TV, or the :30 second spot, has been greatly exaggerated. More people are watching TV than ever before - in fact, speaking from here in the US, the average person watches nearly 35 hours of television a week. I have a full season of the Office to watch on my DVR, so clearly I am letting my country down somehow.

With so many hours of TV viewers, how can marketers take advantage of this audience with real-time ads?

We saw one great example where TV viewers saw more relevant and current-customized ads during the recent Olympics. Ad agency BBDO was able to pull off a pretty impressive feat for their client, AT&T.

AT&T's "New Possible" campaign placed winning Team USA results into its advertising in near real-time, with ads airing in prime-time in less than 24 hours after a winning performance.

The "New Possible" campaign was created specifically for the Olympics to reinforce AT&T's "rethink possible" platform. The concept was that during the Games, the next generation of athletes would be tuned in and become inspired by the athletes' winning performances. The winning efforts of gold medal gymnasts and swimmers would become the new goals for this next generation. To be able to insert these winning achievements seamlessly in the ads required BBDO to shoot and have available multiple versions and multiple endings of the ads, depending on the results.

Behind the scenes, BBDO and partners created and produced and DG delivered the spots on air. It was a massively coordinated effort involving the NBC network, BBDO and DG to get the updated creative on-air in record speed. The final ads were timely, relevant and added a deeper emotional connection with the consumer at home rooting for these athletes.

If something like this worked for the Olympics, why not other major events on TV and online? Where else could real-time ads provide greater context to a consumer? Did I hear someone say 'the Oscars'?... Stay tuned!

The technology is there, the partners are here, and now it's up to more agencies and advertisers to move beyond dipping their toes in the water and dive in. After all, we couldn't celebrate world records in life or celebrate them in ads, if we never got in the pool.

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