Tag Archives: ad creative

No Lack of Opinions About Real-Time Marketing

In the past several months, I have written four reports on real-time marketing. It’s kept me rather busy, hence the long gap between posts here. However, now that I’m prepping for a couple presentations on the topic I’m going to try to get back to posting more often.

In the short time from when Oreo burst on the scene until now, there has been quite a lot of virtual ink spilled over the merits (or lack thereof) of real-time marketing. RTM has officially moved beyond hype and into backlash, questioning and criticism. I’m not surprised. Plenty of pundits criticized social media marketing when it first came on the scene. Before that, it was internet advertising. You could make a business out of tracking the Hype Cycle of various technology and marketing trends (Gartner has).

Of course, we shouldn’t forget the business of virtual worlds, whose hype-backlash pattern seems to correlate with that of RTM. Many marketers spent gobs of money building pavilions in virtual worlds, and basically everything flopped. It could be argued that the money marketers and agencies are spending today to build real-time content studios is a similar waste. Does it really take a room full of people to write a tweet?

However, I think this phase of RTM, with much of the focus on coming up with snappy new twists on newsworthy events, is going to give way to something new. The pieces are being put in place to make RTM much, much bigger than a snappy tweet and a fun graphic image.

Here are just a few examples of how RTM will evolve:

  • Mondelez is working on the Smart Shelf, an in-store product which uses technology to guess the age and gender of someone standing nearby and puts up an appropriate ad.
  • Google is doing some really interesting things with Google Now, tying together your calendar, your location and more to deliver real-time information to you. My old boss John Battelle does a great job explaining what Google is up to.
  • And agencies I’ve talked to are very excited about the idea of doing more with dynamically changing the creative in ads, based on everything from the weather to what items are selling or not selling in stores. Expect to hear more about that next year. (For a peek at one example that’s a couple years old but still relevant, check out what Google did with Alka-Seltzer to re-imagine a classic ad from the brand.)

I think there’s a lot more exciting developments in store next year. I’ll continue to chronicle it at my day job. But in the meantime, in the interest of keeping tabs on all sides of the story, here are some of the recent opinions on RTM — pro, con and “mixed”:


Stop Whining About Real-Time Marketing

Twitter’s Kevin Weil on Real-Time Marketing — And Showing Results

Stop Whining About Real-Time Marketing and The Problem With a Lot of Marketing Punditry

Real-Time Marketing is Bull (yep, it’s positive despite the negative-sounding headline)

Oreo’s Digital Shop: Real-Time Marketing Takes a Lot More Than One Tweet


Oreo Envy: The Rea-Time Marketing Myth

It’s About Time to Get Real on Real-Time Marketing

Real-Time Marketing is Nothing But a Predatory Weed

Why So Much Real-Time Marketing Sucks


Have Advertisers Figured Out Real-Time Marketing?

Does Real-Time Marketing Work?


Real-Time Beyond Social Media

Social media may be the current home for real-time marketing, but things are rapidly changing. Brands and their agencies are exploring how to bring real-time mindsets and efficiencies into their broader marketing and advertising planning.

Case in point: the media agency MEC has an executive whose title is “head of real-time marketing,” according to an article in the Financial Times today (FT has a gated website; a sign-in may be required to view the full article). In the article, Dan Plant, the MEC executive, describes a scenario in which TV ads could be created by developing multiple threads of video, which are then put together in a final product based on “live user feedback.”

“It means making more pieces of copy than you need to, but it’s the right thing to do to make media-spend work that much harder,” says Mr Plant.

I heard several similar scenarios in the interviews I did for my next eMarketer report, which will look at how real-time marketing is impacting the creative process for agencies and marketers. (If you’re wondering why the long silence on this blog, that’s what I’ve been doing.)

Marketers and agencies are focused on the real-time opportunities in social media because it has an easier path from concept to execution. There aren’t old-media barriers like approvals or the printing process to stand in the way of getting a message out in a timely fashion. But clinging to social media as the only venue for real-time is dangerous. Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication and Technology, says as much, writing that the concept of “culture-jacking” risks becoming boring to users and potentially dangerous to brands that jump in at the wrong moment.

Despite the chorus of proclamations that culture-jacking is the future of marketing, I suspect this artificial mandate to flood social channels with real-time ads in hopes of amplification by customers retweeting and sharing won’t last too long.

Perhaps we need to go through this “culture-jacking” phase in order to get to a better understanding of what real-time marketing actually is, and what it can do. And then the sky’s the limit.

Real-Time Marketing and the Future of Advertising: What Industry Execs Say

Plenty of pundits have been blogging and tweeting up a storm about real-time marketing over the past few weeks. Here are just a few of the links I’ve captured; there are many more if you just Google “real time marketing”:

Real-Time Marketing and the Road to Compulsion

How to Make Real-Time Creativity Count

Agencies Reshuffle for Real-Time

Five Fast Truths About Real-Time Marketing (Ian Schafer)

However, I just came across a fascinating collection of essays on the future of advertising, collected by the University of Pennyslvania’s Wharton School. The Future of Advertising Program’s Advertising 2020 Project solicited the opinions of 175 industry thought leaders. The essays are all posted online and searchable, and so, being someone who’s thinking a lot about the future of advertising these days, I searched “real time.”

The search turned up 47 results, from industry luminaries such as Rishad Tobaccowala of VivaKi; Maria Luisa Francoli Plaza, Global CEO, Havas Media; and Calle Sjoenell, Chief Creative Office of O&M.

Sjoenell writes: “At least half of the production budget needs to be spent while the campaign is running; instead of blowing it all in one go.” And Plaza writes, “We must shift to real-time marketing. … Having access to real-time data and knowledge helps us look at the full picture at a granular level on a daily basis to understand which activities are working to achieve the desired results for our clients and to pinpoint the opportunities for improvement. This will allow us to optimize communications across channels, messaging and content as needed to increase marketing effectiveness.”

These executives see a clear, undeniable role for real-time data and real-time response when it comes to marketing and advertising. I encourage you to check out what they have to say.

Advertisers Get Real (Time) For the Super Bowl

Nothing like a little power outage to get advertisers’ creative juices going, and boy, did they ever take advantage.

Marketers ranging from Oreo to Tide posted tweets and status updates on Facebook, delivering catchy responses to the unusual situation.

Ever since Oreo conducted its “Daily Twist” campaign last year, I had been waiting for the brand to come up with something else in the real-time realm. When the blackout happened, Oreo and its digital agency, 360i, quickly came up with a four-word tweet and an image, and posted it to the Oreo Twitter account.

The quick response happened because Oreo and 360i had planned ahead and gathered a team of agency and brand marketers to “listen to and optimize the chatter on the Internet,” 360i’s president, Sarah Hofstetter, told the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog.

In another example, Tide and its agency, Digitas, posted a tweet and an image with the words “We can’t get your blackout but we can get your stains out.”

Other brands such as Walgreens sent out timely tweets but didn’t take the time to develop new creative. But after seeing the creative executions from Tide and Oreo, merely tweeting a few words in response to a situation now seems too easy. These brands have stepped up the game, and the response to the tweets shows that people appreciate the effort. The Oreo tweet was retweeted more than 15,000 times as of this morning, while the Tide tweet has shown less traction, with 1,300 retweets. For what it’s worth, Oreo’s post went up three minutes before Tide’s did. First mover advantage?

Expect more marketers to take steps to shorten the creative development process to better take advantage of a moment. For Oreo and Tide, a 34-minute blackout gave them an opportunity to deliver a message that was relevant both to the brand and to the situation. And they got a lot of free publicity to boot – neither one bought an ad on Twitter to promote their blackout-themed tweets; they simply let the Twitter community — and a lot of journalists — do the work.

Real-Time: In the News and Blogs

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been reading lately on the subject of real-time marketing:

How Big Data is Impacting the Big Idea

– Great interview with Moxie’s creative director, Tina Chadwick, on how the creative process is becoming more scientific and analytic. Perfect read right before the excess that is the Super Bowl.

Real-Time Bidding Ain’t Real-Time Targeting

– Dave Zinman, CEO of Infolinks, writes about how RTB is often based on old data and cookies, not on actual in-the-moment intent.

Targeted Serendipity: Thinking Harder About ‘Relevance’

– Opinion piece by Steve Smith of MediaPost, which amplifies a concern that many have over the increasingly automated nature of marketing and ad buying: “the danger of marketers being too relevant all the time.”