Takeaways from Advertising Week NYC

Sep 28, 2017

It’s Advertising Week in New York and we’ve been taking in everything we can from a dizzying array of panels, seminars and events. Here are some of our highlights.


 When Women Lead


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“When in doubt, do epic shit.”
– Kya Sainsbury-Carter


Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient, hosted an insightful talk about female leadership and impact in today’s media and tech landscape featuring Kya Sainsbury-Carter, VP Global Partner Service at Microsoft Advertising.

One key takeaway was their call to establish a culture of learning to empower growth within organizations. Microsoft, for example, cultivates diversity of ideas through a “growth mindset” culture—one that rewards risk taking and encourages curiosity. “If you only have your own perspective, you simply cannot be successful,” she said. Kya advised the room, “Ask for what you need, commit to kicking ass, and see what happens.”

Shelley also reminded the panel that taking risks sometimes means accepting failure, but it’s a big part of the journey. “Perfect to me means you’re not growing, evolving or innovating,” she said.


The Resistance will be Advertised


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 “Truly having the authentic desire to change the world will lead to success.”
– Dena Wimette 


Instead of shying away from progressive social issues, brands large and small are trying to connect with consumers through advocating similar causes. This panel explored the growing relationship between brands and social movements. Panelists included Afdhel Aziz, Founder and Chief Purpose Officer Conspiracy of Love, Carri Twigg, Futurist and Former Obama Official and Dena Wimette, Sr. Global Innovation and Communications Manager at Ben & Jerry’s.

Key takeaways:

  • Brands are perceived as being less honest then they used to be, but consumers want brands to do good more than ever.
  • Culture and purpose need to start from the inside out. To be part of a movement authentically, purpose needs to be part of the living culture of your company.
  • Passion and knowledge are not the same. Brands need to take the time to do adequate research about the cause they want to support and encourage people to listen/learn before they step out into that space.


Winning With Sir Martin Sorrell & Ken Auletta




“What we do adds value when harnessed with innovation.”
– Sir Martin Sorrell


WPP Chief Executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, sat down with best-selling author and long-time New Yorker columnist, Ken Auletta, for a no holds barred conversation.

Sorrell shared his belief that in order for the advertising industry to grow, it needs to continue making digital inroads and get into fast growth markets such as Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. Sorrell especially highlighted growth in China, stating that many Chinese companies have already become self-sufficient which could put them ahead of the U.S. “If we think the speed of internet disruption is fast here, go look at China,” he said. Along with the strong digital forces of Google and Facebook he also noted that “two Chinese companies — Tencent and Alibaba — are the ones we need to watch out for.”

In regards to size and scale, Sorrell believes the industry will continue getting more and more condensed over time. “There’s going to be fewer agencies than there are now,” he said. Nevertheless, he doesn’t think the digital capabilities of consultancies are a threat to the industry. Instead, the industry should worry about consultants telling companies they’re spending too much on marketing.

As for the future of advertising, Sorrell suggested we need a change in perspective. Many years ago, we were regarded as an investment. Today, we’re regarded as a cost,” he says. In addition to perspective, advertising can thrive with a focus on brands and innovation. “Fundamentally I do believe that what we do adds value when harnessed with innovation,” he said. 


The Power of Audio Summit


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“Podcasts are taking off with a younger demographic in a way traditional radio never did.” 
– Erik Diehn


From 15-second credits and endorsements to short-form brand audio and branded shows, NPR hosted a session on how brands can leverage the full power of podcast marketing. The panel featured a host of speakers from NPR VP Hal Trencher to Good Morning America co-anchor, Robin Roberts.

Key takeaways:

  • Podcasts are steadily growing. 10 billion podcasts were downloaded worldwide last year. That’s 42 million per week. Moving forward, "content is what is going to drive growth, not research," says Hal Trencher, VP Sponsorships, NPR.
  • We talk about podcasting as a mobile pursuit, but 51% of podcasting occurs at home.
  • Though men tend to be the biggest podcast listeners, one out of five women listened to podcasts over the last month – a 17% increase in women listening over the last year.
  • Podcasts are audience first programs, focusing on creating value for the listener above anything else.
  • Brands are thinking differently about how to connect with audiences and podcasts are one of them. Research that says audiences appreciate sponsors that support the programming they love. “Podcasts are a passive medium in the most positive way possible. Audio has no competition.” – Rockie Thomas, VP, Business Development, Adswizz.
  • What’s does the future of podcast analytics look like? The ability to view listening patterns and place ads more effectively.