In a keynote speech at ad:tech San Francisco, the president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, addressed three major trends she sees affecting media and marketing.
The first is the rise of “cause marketing,” which Huffington said was even evident in a TV spot for Chivas Regal Scotch that she saw recently. She said that if “humanity is not just good for humanity but for the bottom line, something is happening. There is something very profound happening.”
In connection with this trend is the growing emphasis on local community. “We are moving more and more to local,” Huffington said. “It's not just politics that is local—all human existence is ultimately local.”
AOL, which bought the Huffington Post earlier this year for $315 million, is tapping into this trend with its Patch.com local news sites. “Ultimately, people trust what is happening in their own neighborhood,” Huffington said.
There is a need for such local coverage, she said, because the national media has become disconnected from everyday life. “The media has this false sense of sentimentality,” she said. As an example, she cited the notorious coverage of the “Balloon Boy” saga in 2009.
The third trend Huffington sees is the need to disconnect in an increasingly connected word. “We are inevitably going to need to disconnect from our hyper-connected existence,” she said. “We are all constantly multitasking and, in the process, are missing something.”
Part of what's needed, she said, is for people to get more sleep. “It's very hard to enchant people when you're sleep-deprived,” she said.