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Advertising Week Today, Day One: Mastercard, Meta, Pinterest, DoorDash, Frameplay—and Shingy
Advertising Week New York kicked off this morning at its new venue, The Market Line, while also offering streaming sessions. The verdict so far about AWNY IRL: It was super crowded in the morning, but started to thin out a bit in the afternoon—possibly because of unreliable Wi-Fi (more on that below). And the early verdict about the streaming sessions: They’ve been a bit glitchy. (If you’re looking for the full hybrid schedule, it’s right here.)
The Market Line, which opened in 2019 as a part of the sprawling Essex Crossing mixed-use (residential/office/retail) development, bills itself as a “buzzy bazaar where fashionable foodies go to eat, drink and get down in the heart of the Lower East Side.” Or, to state that a bit less glamorously ... it’s a basement (with some natural light that filters down from the ground floor in various places).
Ad Age’s Parker Herren offered this pro tip to his newsroom colleagues on our internal Slack Monday morning: “If you’re going in person, get to panels super early,” noting that a panel he attended ended up being standing-room-only. But by the afternoon, he amended that statement: “I’ve chatted with multiple people unhappy with the Wi-Fi, especially because cell reception is so poor, so some folks seem to be heading offsite to get actual work done.”
Ad Age’s Brain Bonilla, meanwhile, noted that AWNY has had some issues with keeping its streams straight on its website. A panel titled “Why Coming Out at Work is Good for Business,” for instance, initially served up video of a session focused on programmatic and commerce media. Some virtual visitors took to various streams’ integrated chat boxes to ask how to find the right panel. At one point, an AWNY staffer responded, “We’ve been having difficulties with links today. I’m going to investigate.”
A thought experiment: If AWNY switched its streams for its Shingy and Elmo sessions (by accident or on purpose), would anyone notice?
Cuddly Elmo is set to take the virtual stage on Thursday as part of a panel titled “Sesame Street Reimagined.” And famously wild-haired Shingy, aka David Shing, who was most recently Verizon Media’s “digital prophet” (yes, that was his actual title), is the star of a half-dozen or so 15-minute sessions, sponsored by the Amazon Ads Studio, sprinkled throughout the week.
Ad Age’s Asa Hiken tuned into Shingy’s first session, titled “Creativity in the Metaverse.” His dispatch:
Shingy is very bullish on Meta’s metaverse. In a pre-recorded session, Shingy explained that the “setup from Meta [is] awesome” because brands and users can experiment with metaverse tools and see how far the space is able to go. The irony, though, is that Shingy’s bullishness comes on the heels of reports from The Verge, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal detailing a host of problems afflicting Mark Zuckerberg’s project, including bugginess with the infrastructure and an inability to court users. Either Shingy hasn’t been keeping up with the news or he’s rock-solid in his conviction.
Announced at AWNY
Advertising Week New York isn’t just about panels and pontificating. Every year, various companies take to AWNY’s stages to unveil new products, partnerships and campaigns. A short list from Monday’s announcements:
• “The Ad Council takes on the fentanyl crisis with an unlikely partner—former drug dealers,” from Ad Age’s Gillian Follett.
• “DoorDash names new retail media partners for its self-serve ad platform,” from Ad Age’s Garett Sloane.
• “Pinterest’s new measurement tool takes on Apple’s data changes,” also from Sloane.
Empathy is the new inclusion
A key takeaway from Monday’s AWNY panel titled “The Future is Female, But We’re Still Stuck in the Present,” per Ad Age’s Jade Yan:
Empathetic leadership—being sensitive to an individual’s needs and adjusting how you interact with them as a leader—“is the new inclusion,” said panelist Darla Price, president of DDB New York. One of the biggest personal challenges she experienced was working in Singapore and being the only person of color who wasn’t Asian, she told the audience. That allowed her to recognize when other people are put in similar situations and help them.
Frameplay’s viewability algorithm explained
In a Frameplay-sponsored session titled “Gamers Are Paying Attention. Are You?,” Frameplay gave brands a detailed look at what goes into the intrinsic in-game ad platform’s viewability algorithm. Ad Age’s Erika Wheless reports:
Determining an ad’s viewability in games involves two key factors: position telemetry, meaning where the player’s camera is located, and if the ad is obstructed. Frameplay uses five data points to determine an ad’s viewability, which is vital considering that the company only bills clients for viewable ads. The data points include how long the ad was visible to the player, how much of the ad was on screen, and how much of the screen was taken up by the ad. The final two points relate to where the ad was in relation to the camera, and how skewed the ad appeared.
Panelist Meredith Hughes, VP and client partner at Labelium, a digital performance agency, called viewability data essential: “Being able to show clients viewability, and actions taken offline, is a game changer,” Hughes said during the session. “As traditional media becomes more expensive, I think games will become a tried-and-true platform sooner rather than later.”
Cranky tweet of the day
“Every week is Advertising Week if you’re actually doing the work and not concerned with panel discussions.” —Seattle-based copywriter Dan Goldgeier
Can companies ever really just be trying to do good?
When brands create campaigns that focus on social causes, “there is always a level of mistrust,” said Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard’s chief marketing and communications officer, during his AWNY talk “Marketing as a Force of Good,” reports Ad Age’s Jade Yan, adding that:
One way to build trust is charity that aligns with the corporation’s goals, said Rajamannar. Actions Mastercard has taken include pledging $500 million to support Black communities and Black owned-businesses in the U.S., creating special programs and a campaign with singer Jennifer Hudson to promote the female Black-owned businesses. “It is [also] in our self-interest to promote small businesses,” because Mastercard gets some of that revenue, Rajamannar added.
A supermodel ready to wear NFTs
Coco Rocha, the supermodel famed for harnessing social media early in her career, spoke at Meta’s creator panel about—what else—the metaverse. Ad Age’s Garett Sloane reports:
Meta, and its metaverse plans, have some doubters, but Rocha is decidedly not one of them. Web3 tech and VR are already becoming part of cultural moments like New York Fashion Week, and luxury brands like Gucci are designing for digital. “For those in the fashion space, this is our world,” Rocha said. “Metaverse will be amazing ... Think of haute couture, which is one-of-a-kind pieces in fashion—traditional fashion. That is an NFT. That will be my avatar, wearing a one-of-a-kind piece that I can actually buy, and maybe even create. That is our world.”
Rocha spoke with Nada Stirratt, Meta’s VP of global marketing solutions for the Americas, on a stage with Paige Piskin, an AR creator, and creative director Pablo Rochat.
• “Paramount’s new ad sales president on alternative measurement tests”—Parker Herren’s brief dispatch from an AWNY session starring John Halley in Ad Age’s media measurement blog.
• A shot of a sparsely attended AWNY session on the recession via Lindsay Bennett, global head of marketing at Gale. As she captioned her photo: “Is the ad industry still pretending it’s not happening?”
• Data clean room talk gets heated—Garett Sloane dishes on the hot topic as discussed by InfoSum's Brian Lesser and analyst Joanna O'Connell.
Sonic identity composer Lucas Murray will play the (virtual) salsa bongos at AWNY on Tuesday, teased here on Twitter. Murray’s participation is part of PepsiCo’s Tostitos panel about sonic branding, which is a spicy topic at Advertising Week. Plenty of marketers are talking about how catchy songs and sounds are core to their public identities.