UntitledEven if (or maybe because) your last exposure to European advertising was a heavy metal cough drop commercial from Finland, you may be wondering how things are going over there across the pond. In general, I think the answer is, “Things could be better, but they were a lot worse.”

Ad spending is a kind

It’s hard to overstate what a “thing” Advertising Week has become. Since it was launched in 2004 by the late Ken Kaess, then chairman of the 4As, Matt Scheckner, and a team that included Burtch Drake, Ron Berger, and Mike Donahue, the conference of advertisers and advertising professionals now comprises more than two hundred and

In 2004 – the inaugural year of the industry’s biggest event, Advertising Week – Facebook was launched as a social networking site open only to Harvard students.  Now ten years old, Advertising Week – like social media – has seen many changes and, more importantly, has shaped critical conversations driving change in the advertising industry in the past decade.  Advertising Week now has its very own app, not to mention too many hashtags to count.  With dialogue and events on the most important topics in the industry, featuring many of the industry’s biggest innovators, movers, and shakers, Advertising Week is the most important week of the year for everyone on Madison Ave and beyond.

The Way I See It

  • I see an event that has grown vastly in the past ten years, mirroring the growth and innovation that the industry has achieved, to present hundreds of events, discussions, panels, and live case studies  on advertising’s most important issues.
  • I see a week of creativity and innovation that is truly unmatched.  With some of the brightest minds in an industry that is notorious for driving change faster than you can say, “Advertising Week is a hotbed for big ideas.”
  • For Advertising Week’s tenth year, programming is right on point for what will shape advertising moving forward, with mobile, data, video, and innovation tracks.  With a session called “Will Robots Ever Cut Your Bangs,” it’s safe to say that Advertising Week is looking toward the future.
  • I see the industry’s biggest leaders gathering in New York City to share and discuss the latest ideas, creations, and technology that are shaping the future of the industry.

The Way The Industry Sees It

I sat down with Matt Freeman, the Chairman of Advertising Week and Operating Partner at Bain Capital, to discuss all the details of Advertising Week’s tenth year.

It’s hard to believe Advertising Week is in its tenth year.  The industry has experienced a lot of change in this past decade – the advent of smartphones, Twitter, and YouTube, to name a few.  How do you think this year will differ from others in terms of programming and topics?

Data has truly become a central player in marketing – as is reflected in the strong presence of technology and analytic companies this week. The ability to use data to unify and optimize a brand’s connection to consumers – increasingly in real time – may be the most dynamic sector of marketing today, and it is changing all facets of the business. This data trend not only makes for exciting new capabilities, but also for a more diverse set of talents and conversations – ultimately a great strength for our industry.  Also, Pamela Anderson will be doing a Q&A. So, to summarize: data and Pam Anderson.

What role do you think this week plays in the industry?

Advertising Week is a unique chance for our industry to come together each year for both celebration and (even more importantly) advancement.  Our business is replete with award shows, but Advertising Week is a chance to celebrate the best and brightest aspects of marketing in the interest of education and advancement.  From promoting diversity to attracting and developing young professionals, the week is fundamentally centered on the long term health of advertising – in turn, a vital driver of our economy.

Continue Reading A Decade of Advertising Week

Data, data, data.  Advertising Week was buzzing with chatter about data – its importance for the advertising industry, future implications, how to improve and maximize data, privacy and security issues… The list goes on.  So it was only appropriate for Ogilvy & Mather North America Chief Creative Officer Steve Simpson’s keynote address at the National Advertising Division’s annual conference on Monday of Advertising Week to be focused on big data.  Adweek reporter Katy Bachman put it well in summing up the key takeaway from Steve’s address: “In the age of big data, advertisers need to get their act together when it comes to online privacy.”

The Way I See It

  • I see a boom in online behavioral advertising and interest-based advertising, which has given rise to the need for stricter consumer data protection standards for the industry.
  • I see a number of challenges and potential pitfalls that advertising agencies and brands need to be cautious of in order to be able to reap the benefits of all of the data that is becoming available.
  • I see the need for increased transparency across the industry in order to educate consumers about privacy policies and the data that is being collected from them.

The Way the Industry Sees It

I had the pleasure of speaking with Steve Simpson, Ogilvy & Mather North America Chief Creative Officer, after Advertising Week to further discuss his NAD keynote address and his thoughts on data, privacy, creative, and more.

During your keynote, you said that this is a “massive creative issue.” Can you elaborate on this point? What steps should the advertising industry take to address this creative issue?

For marketers, privacy is an ethical issue, it’s a legal and regulatory issue, but it’s also a respect issue. This is to say, the new issues are the old issues.  It could be argued that the old days of one-way communication didn’t respect the consumer in the broadness of the messaging or bluntness of the media.  It intruded on your time with messages for products or services in which you often had no interest and for which you had no use. But the difference was the consumer knew what was what: the rules of the game were well known, transparent, and pretty much invariable.  The message was honest about its intent and succeeded by the power of its proposition or the force of its charm.  And when you turned the TV off, the TV didn’t rise from its stand, follow you about, and note all your doings.  It stayed shut off, because the “off” switch was a simple unambiguous technological act: “off” meant “off,” it didn’t mean “not apparently on, but watching you all day to see how you like it.”  While many in the industry declare with dewy eyes and a catch in the voice that the “consumer is now in control,” they are telling only half of the truth.  Because while the consumer can with high dudgeon tell a company exactly how to make a product better according to his own exacting personal standards—“Who’s in control now, you corporate hacks!!!!”—ending his tweet or review with a flurry of exclamation points, and moves on—he doesn’t move on, because the company he’s engaged isn’t ready to move on from him, but is only beginning to track him relentlessly in return for his “valuable inputs and collaboration.”

You said that if an advertiser is not respectful of its consumers’ privacy concerns that the job to be done by advertising, and the role of the creative director for that account, is very difficult.  Can you explain what you mean?

If consumers feel that marketers have relied solely on technology to track and target them, without openness and transparency, or without their knowledge or consent, then we have put the consumer into a state of alarm, resentment and even active resistance to our message.  Hence, the “massive creative issue.” What kind of ad can we create that is so wonderful it can overcome this?  Dear consumer, you feel violated—ready for a funny ad?

Continue Reading Data: A Creative Director’s Perspective

On Thursday during Advertising Week in New York City, I hosted an event called “Mission Impossible: Truth & Privacy – The Future is Now,” featuring Commissioner Julie Brill of the Federal Trade Commission, along with Frank Abagnale, one of the world’s foremost authorities on fraud and identity theft (you may know him best from the film Catch Me If You Can – he was portrayed by none other than Leonardo DiCaprio), and Jonathan Salem Baskin, Co-Author of Tell The Truth. Privacy is an issue everyone is talking about these days, and I wanted to share with you some of the thoughts and issues discussed during the session at Advertising Week. Click here to view a video of Ron’s conversation with FTC Commissioner Julie Brill.

Advertising is a fascinating and complex industry, reflecting the latest innovations, the newest technologies, and, of course, the height of creativity. Advertising is a reflection of the fundamental changes sweeping our society – the transformative effect of digital, the changes in all forms of media, the importance of data and the rise of wireless. Amidst this rapid change, privacy is one of the most important issues in the advertising and media business, and one which demands our attention now, not tomorrow.

The Way I See It

  • I see that digital technology and media has created an unprecedented “Holy Grail” opportunity for marketers to have conversations with consumers as individuals wherever they are on a broad array of devices. The question we must answer is, how do we manage the legitimate privacy concerns?
  • I see the FTC’s role and influence in steering the privacy and data security debate and action rising in importance.
  • I see global marketers and agencies working in good faith either alone or in groups to navigate safely through leading edge issues and the concerns of interested parties – the government, agencies, marketers, technology providers, media and consumers.
  • I see “do not track” continue to be a central issue that focuses many of the important advertising industry and societal issues about both what can be and what should be.
  • I see “privacy by design” being a simple concept, but a difficult concept to execute in real time.

The Way The Industry Sees It

Commissioner Julie Brill of the FTC shared some extremely valuable insights with me and the attendees of our Advertising Week session. I then asked Commissioner Brill some follow up questions that touched upon some of the conversation that we had in our Advertising Week session.

Can you highlight what you see as the role of the FTC in regards to its relationship with the advertising industry’s need to focus on consumer privacy and data security?

The Commission has developed a set of best practices, as outlined in the agency’s March 2012 final privacy framework, for companies that collect and use consumer data. (“Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations for Businesses and Policymakers,” An FTC Report (Mar. 26, 2012) available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2012/03/120326privacyreport.pdf.) Because the advertising industry is among the heaviest users of such information, these best practices can be useful to the advertising industry –including ad networks, individual advertisers, and all other players in the advertising eco-system—as they develop and maintain processes and systems to operationalize privacy and data security practices within their businesses. In addition to our policymaking role, the Commission takes action against companies—including those in the advertising industry—that do not treat consumer data in accordance with the laws enforced by the agency. For example, we took action against several advertising networks that misrepresented their practices involving consumers’ ability to opt-out from online behavioral advertising. (See press releases, “FTC Puts an End to Tactics of Online Advertising Company That Deceived Consumers Who Wanted to “Opt Out” from Targeted Ads” (Mar. 14, 2011), available at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/03/chitika.shtm; “Online Advertiser Settles FTC Charges ScanScout Deceptively Used Flash Cookies to Track Consumers Online” (Nov. 8, 2011), available at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/11/scanscout.shtm).

In the fast paced world of marketers and agencies where they must implement “privacy by design”, what is the biggest issue confronting the industry?

Well, there are a lot of big issues. One of the biggest issues is the rapid pace of today’s technological advances. Companies are bringing products and services to market as quickly as they can—and the advertising and marketing have to keep up with that pace. As a result, companies may not be employing a methodical process to consider all the privacy and data security issues that could arise with the product or service, or with an advertising or marketing campaign. I think one of the most important elements of Privacy by Design is for companies to take the time to thoroughly examine the consumer information they are collecting, what is being done with that information, and how it is being safeguarded. In our privacy report, we stress the importance of operationalizing these processes, which will help companies conduct these analyses in an efficient and timely fashion.

Continue Reading Privacy and the FTC: Inside Perspective from FTC Commissioner Julie Brill

Advertising Week is in full swing and is already full of surprises. On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the details of its updated Green Guides to attendees of the National Advertising Division (NAD) Annual Conference, before even announcing it to the press – talk about a scoop! It was exciting for all who were there and who work in developing environmental marketing claims. We have been eagerly awaiting the new Green Guides for over 2 years. With thousands of comments from industry groups, environmental advocates, academics and others during the review process, there were certainly a lot of people watching and waiting. The FTC is trying to put out guidance that set a balance between the firmness needed to help reduce “green washing” and the flexibility needed to allow advertisers to develop new and novel claims as environmental sciences and technologies advance in ways we cannot yet anticipate.
Continue Reading New FTC Green Guides Signal Change Ahead for Marketers

Davis & Gilbert may be the preeminent advertising law firm, but we still can’t read minds. This week during Advertising Week, I’ll have the opportunity to speak with industry leaders and top executives about the future of advertising and some of the BIG issues our industry is facing, but I want to know what you

Advertising Week is to the advertising industry and brands what the Emmys are for the television industry and what the Oscars are for the film and entertainment industry. I’ve had the honor of knowing the brainchild behind Advertising Week since its inception. Now in its ninth year, Advertising Week is bigger than ever – with five days of high-level programming hosted by and featuring some of advertising’s biggest names, including those agencies and brands who are leading the charge in innovation and creativity in our industry.

The Way I See It

  • I see the industry’s biggest leaders gathering in New York City to share and discuss the latest ideas, creations, and technology that is shaping the future of the industry.
  • I see a broad representation of an industry that has spread its web far beyond Madison Avenue. A map of the venues and the packed agenda reminds us of the growth and innovation that the industry has adopted and achieved.
  • I see an annual opportunity for the most creative and innovative minds from across the industry and across the world to gather in one place and focus on the industry’s hottest topics: mobile, data, social media, privacy, creative, technology, and the future of advertising as an industry.

The Way The Industry Sees It

I sat down with Matt Scheckner, the founder and creator of Advertising Week, to give you the inside scoop on what Advertising Week 2012 has in store for attendees, what is different this year than in the past, and what is in store for its upcoming Tenth Anniversary.

It’s hard to believe Advertising Week is in its ninth year. How has the program changed since its inception and how has it stayed true to the foundation it was built upon?

We’ve changed just as the industry has and continues to change. That’s the great constant and we work very hard to not only address what’s going on in the industry now, but we try to look to the future.
Since we think this way, we’ve stayed very true to our foundation of being an advocate for the industry and its wonderful people. We’re about education, inspiration, connection and celebration.

There are many industry hot topics that are the focus of numerous programs throughout the week. What topic do you think will define this Advertising Week?

We’re seeing this in the specific tracks that we’ve created. Mobile, social, education diversity and the convergence of Madison Avenue, Silicon Valley and Hollywood (which we call MASSIVE) are all on the tops of minds.  Additionally, with The Advertising Week Experience (AWE), we’re realizing that there is some profoundly important technologies that marketers really need to know.

Continue Reading Backstage Pass: Advertising Week 2012

To anyone in the industry, Madison Avenue is more than just a street on the bustling grid that is Manhattan:  it’s a global industry that exists in every state of the union and every country of the world. It stands for passion, creativity, change, challenge, innovation, and opportunity. The birthplace of ideas and work that have made us laugh, cry and think, while we have been entertained and informed. The industry that has helped to shape the world we live in today. 

Madison Avenue has long been synonymous with the world of advertising, marketing, and communications. It’s our Hollywood, our Silicon Valley, and our Capitol Hill. Advertising and marketing – the industry – is not just agencies, it’s marketers, clients, media, content providers, and technologists who today are all part of Madison Ave. Madison Ave is not a geographic location – it is the moniker, the advertising industry’s Tiffany blue – our brand, our logo.

The Madison Ave Insights blog will bring you into the industry – you’ll meet the people shaping our world, driving change, innovating the present, developing rules, and laying the foundation for the next big thing. Each week, I’ll be addressing the topics on everyone’s minds – mega-trends, challenges, developments, advertising. If you’re thinking about it, I’ll be talking about it here.

I’m Ron Urbach, Chairman of the preeminent advertising law firm Davis & Gilbert LLP. I’ve been both behind the scenes and out front of the most critical industry developments that have fundamentally transformed the industry and the profession – the latest campaigns, the hottest new technologies, and the most innovative new business practices — Davis & Gilbert has been doing it for over 100 years.
Continue Reading Welcome to Madison Ave Insights