I attended about 20 panels at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) over the course of the week (not including films, showcases, demonstrations, and concerts). The festival was quite the content-overload and some panels were better than others. Now back at work and having had some time to soak on the experience, these three panels keep coming to mind:
The common feeling was that Venuto, being from an agency so entrenched in Digital, would choose his words carefully but insinuate that we are living in an age where television is less prominent and, thus, the :30 second TV spot is near extinction. Right off the bat, however, he made it clear that this was not his feeling nor the common view of his agency. His message was that he saw the medium changing and evolving and in fact adapting certain characteristics of the digital world.
After discussing the findings of a TV deprivation study that Razorfish conducted, Venuto then began his description of how he saw the medium evolving. His suggestions seem to tap into these key motivators while pulling in tools and trends made popular online. The keys to creating this “future” include:
- Making the medium much more social
- Removing the linear structure – making the medium completely “on demand”
- Allowing content to be portable
- Dialing up the interactivity through more in-program game implimentation
- Creating a more balanced mix of studio and user generated content
Ideas about how this could work such as:
- Creating mood-driven menus
- Allowing content to be provided from any media outlet (instead of content being purely network-driven)
- Creating an interface that is similar to iTunes, complete with a rating system and suggestions tab
- Featuring social tools such as friends lists, friend-sourced playlists, functionality that shows what your friends are watching, chatting, etc.
- Allowing all content to live in a cloud that is constantly evolving
How advertisers will need to adapt and things to consider:
- The :30 second spot, according to Venuto, will still exist, though it will be featured more sporadically (decreasing clutter + increasing impact)
- On screen ads similar to online display ads will emerge
- WOM will be huge – chatting, texting, tweeting, etc. will all help to create buzz around content and/or ads
- Brands will need to integrate projects into programming thus propelling the need for TV app development
Venuto feels that this way of experiencing television will allow consumers to have more control over what they watch and become much more involved with the content in various ways.
The major take away is that the medium is changing. Content is king and the more social you make your TV advertising, the more you can engage your viewers and dial up interactivity.
Wow That’s Cool…Fun With HTML5 Video featuring Michael Dale of Wikimedia and Christopher Blizzard of Mozilla
If you don’t know the boundaries of a medium, you can’t create the best work. In this spirit I decided to attend this panelOver the last few months I’ve seen HTML5 pop up in some of the blogs I read regularly – of which very few I would consider to be “bleeding edge tech” focused. Meaning: it’s coming – and faster than we think. For a long time developers felt this medium was interesting but that the internet as a whole (given restrictions of many users) could not support this technology in any mainstream way and perhaps there were other, more appropriate solutions. This meant one thing for marketers: if what you’re interested in is engaging in a mass-market play, this platform was off limits.
Based on what I heard in this panel it seems like this isn’t completely the case anymore. Technology has caught up and much like we use HTML to support Flash campaigns, so can we create multiple viewing experiences for different users with HTML5. This is hard to understand in generalities, so let me explain a bit about HTML5.
In terms of how this works with video, the way I think of this technology is a kin to Photoshop. Except your canvas can be video or animation. And elements laid on top of that canvas are dynamic. As someone who manages a production studio I find this incredibly empowering. This means that production studios aren’t limited to “refreshing” content. When appropriate, we can use this technology to create ever-evolving content. Video is no longer a static element – it can now be the basis for messaging that is responsive, reactive, and ever changing.
I appreciated the example given that showcased how you can integrate dynamic content from Twitter – thus allowing video to be much more social and take on new meaning. Seeing the drag + drop functionality, time scroll, and other features of a typical HTML5 just further demonstrated the ease of use and heightened user experience.
Ever wonder how the recession really affected consumer behavior? Well: “Sales at Goodwill stores grew 7.1 percent in the first three months of 2009. Craigslist saw 100 percent increase in bartering. And companies began to launch campaigns to appeal to the frugal consumer, like the Babies ‘R’ Us trade-in where customers brought in old car seats for discounts on new goods.” (Courtesy of Huffington Post.) Just a few stats, but, you see a trend emerging.
For many, this behavior is mandatory. But, for others, it’s trendy. Remember all those celebrities and their plain white shopping bags a few years ago? Nobody wants to be seen as a “have” in a world where most of those that make them successful are “have nots.” The same holds true for brands. But it’s not just an image play – what companies also have to deal with is how to stay profitable when their target audience seemingly can’t afford to buy their product.
Rollins focus was about reaching the consumer, branding, and allowing that branding to do the heavy lifting of motivating that unconsuming consumer to action. Below are her suggestions for how to appeal to unconsumers:
- Clarify what you mean by “sustainability”
- Incorporate sustainability into your business’ operations, communications, and tactics
- Provide consumers with the option to rent rather than buy
- Think about selling “vintage” products
- Look to de-sanctify your packaging – understand it is trash if you don’t specify another use (i.e. art)
- Support swapping on-site
Even with the recession starting to soften, brands need to be aware that this trend is strong and, while it may diminish, certain brands will need to address this mindset present with their target audience for years to come.