New IPA pres­i­dent Sarah Gold­ing sets out her vi­sion for a more fu­ture-fac­ing ad in­dus­try

Campaign UK - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Gold­ing is the pres­i­dent of the IPA and chief ex­ec­u­tive of CHI & Part­ners

This is the cen­te­nary year of the IPA and a won­der­ful time to be tak­ing over as pres­i­dent. The re­cent cel­e­bra­tions have been a great re­minder of the im­pact ad­ver­tis­ing has made com­mer­cially and cul­tur­ally on Bri­tish life. While it was hum­bling to see the achieve­ments of the in­dus­try over the past cen­tury, it was also very ap­par­ent to me that I help start us off on the jour­ney of the next, with an agenda that re­flects the in­evitable path that adventure will take.

Put sim­ply, in the past 100 years, we all en­joyed laugh­ing at the Smash ro­bots from the fu­ture. In the next 100 years, we will be work­ing with them.

Be­fore I go on, I’d like to touch on how and why I got here. I never had any grand plan to one day be­come pres­i­dent of the IPA. I don’t sit on end­less com­mit­tees or lead the neigh­bour­hood watch. I’m far hap­pier do­ing my bit at work, then tak­ing my­self off home to watch telly.

But ad­ver­tis­ing has been very good to me. It took me in when I had no other ca­reer in mind. It looked af­ter me when I moved down from dark­est Black­burn. I have made life­long friends in the in­dus­try, and it even helped me meet my hus­band. I am not tak­ing on this pres­i­dency be­cause I feel I owe the in­dus­try a debt of grat­i­tude, I am here be­cause I gen­uinely care about the ad­ver­tis­ing world, be­cause it is such a big part of my life.

So, for the next two years, you are all stuck with me do­ing my best for the in­dus­try I love.

And do­ing my best means help­ing equip all our mem­bers for the fastap­proach­ing fu­ture. The machines are com­ing and we are go­ing to be ready and, un­der my pres­i­dency, the IPA will play a big part in mak­ing sure that we are.

Now, be­ing ready doesn’t mean fight­ing for our right to ex­ist ver­sus the ro­bots. I am not try­ing to build a wall against a Ter­mi­na­tor-style judg­ment day. But, equally, I don’t think that as cre­ative in­dus­tries we are im­mune just be­cause creativ­ity can­not be re­duced to an al­go­rithm. In fact, Mck­in­sey re­cently pro­nounced that ro­bots are now ca­pa­ble of ac­com­plish­ing cog­ni­tive ac­tiv­i­ties such as mak­ing judg­ments and sens­ing emo­tions. More than many hu­mans I know.

So while we are not all doomed to be re­placed by machines, nei­ther are we too cre­ative to be left alone. In­stead, we need to see the op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow along­side our new au­to­mated col­leagues and em­brace the new tools on of­fer to be even bet­ter at what we do.

“We need to see the op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow along­side our new au­to­mated col­leagues and em­brace new tools”

“It is bad if peo­ple have more fear about what in­no­va­tion is go­ing to do than they have en­thu­si­asm” Bill Gates

Take vir­tual re­al­ity. This will fun­da­men­tally change the way we tell sto­ries, mov­ing from sin­gle-thread nar­ra­tives to im­mer­sive multi-plot ad­ven­tures. And this is al­ready high on our clients’ agen­das. In a re­cent sur­vey by Or­a­cle, 80% of mar­keters ex­pect to pro­vide cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences through VR within the next three years.

Then there’s aug­mented re­al­ity, which gives us the op­por­tu­nity to add our brands’ dig­i­tal foot­prints to the real world around us, bring­ing bricks and clicks to­gether like never be­fore.

Both of these are cur­rently in their in­fancy. Poké­mon Go has given AR its first big plat­form, while VR’S has yet to come. But we all know that the possibilit­ies these two tech­nolo­gies have cre­ated will be huge for ad­ver­tis­ers, cre­atives, me­dia plan­ners, user-ex­pe­ri­ence de­sign­ers and con­tent cre­ators. And it’s up to us to turn these, and the many other emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies, into the new tools of our trade.

And it’s up to the IPA to help us all do that.

So the theme for my agenda is sim­ple: the magic and the machines.

In Fe­bru­ary, Bill Gates (pic­tured, right) said: “It is re­ally bad if peo­ple have more fear about what in­no­va­tion is go­ing to do than they have en­thu­si­asm. That means they won’t shape it for the pos­i­tive things it can do.”

I would like my pres­i­dency to help cre­ate a new en­thu­si­asm for what machines can do for mem­ber agen­cies. And that starts with how we can har­ness them to help us cre­ate magic.

And, let’s be clear, what we make is of­ten thor­oughly mag­i­cal. Joseph Schum­peter, the ac­claimed econ­o­mist, talked of the “alchemy of ad­ver­tis­ing”. The abil­ity to turn base met­als into gold or, in his ex­am­ple, con­found eco­nomic the­ory by cre­at­ing de­mand when there should be none.

Too of­ten, we are so caught up in new mod­els, new en­trants and new pay­ment terms that we for­get the mag­i­cal things our in­dus­try can do.

We can change be­liefs, be­hav­iours and busi­nesses. We can cre­ate crazes, chal­lenge con­ven­tions and em­power causes. We can sell more boxes and save more lives than al­most any other in­dus­try on the planet.

We have magic pow­ers. We are all ma­gi­cians, and the machines rep­re­sent a new box of tricks for us to use.

Just think what we might be able to learn from Emmy. Who is Emmy? She’s a com­puter pro­gram that can com­pose 5,000 pieces of orig­i­nal mu­sic in a morn­ing.

What might we all learn from Al­bert? And who is this Al­bert? Al­bert is the ar­ti­fi­cial-in­tel­li­gence plat­form that lin­gerie re­tailer Cos­abella is us­ing to rev­o­lu­tionise its search and so­cial mar­ket­ing, more than tripling its ROI.

And what can we all learn from Sa­muel? Who is Sa­muel, I hear you cry. Well, he’s just a bloke at M&C Saatchi – but a bloke who has led the agency’s team in pi­o­neer­ing Ai-driven out­door ad­ver­tis­ing.

So far, these are early ex­per­i­ments – but they are ex­cit­ing and mean­ing­ful. I want the IPA to en­cour­age more ex­per­i­men­ta­tion among our mem­ber agen­cies.


There are three parts to my agenda and this is the first: we will be cre­at­ing a new plat­form for ed­u­ca­tion, col­lab­o­ra­tion and in­spi­ra­tion called IPAI.

At the heart of the ini­tia­tive will be the IPAI Ap­plied Train­ing Pro­gramme. Avail­able and ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one, it will cover topics in­clud­ing the his­tory and hype around AI, where it is head­ing in the mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­tries, and how to nav­i­gate the tools and APIS avail­able to the tech­ni­cal teams at agen­cies. These will be in­ten­sive mod­ules that will open up the whole sub­ject for many of us.

To help in­spire our mem­bers fur­ther, we will be launch­ing our very own South By South West One (SXSW1). We will be bring­ing the most rel­e­vant thinkers to pre­sent their ideas to us here in Lon­don. I am par­tic­u­larly de­lighted that among them will be Yu­val Noah Harari, au­thor of Sapi­ens and Homo Deus, who sees a fu­ture in which we all adopt a univer­sal faith in the power of al­go­rithms.

But as well as bring­ing the most in­spi­ra­tional minds to Bel­grave Square, we will be tak­ing our in­dus­try’s achieve­ments out to the world, em­pha­sis­ing the im­por­tance of the cre­ative tech sec­tor in the same way that fi­nan­cial tech and health tech are al­ready well-es­tab­lished.

To achieve this, we will be work­ing with KPMG to come up with a def­i­ni­tion and quan­tifi­ca­tion of the value of cre­ative tech, and part­ner­ing the gov­ern­ment to pro­mote UK cre­ative tech­nolo­gies to the world. The IPA will also play a key part in Lon­don Tech Week, where we will have a whole day ded­i­cated to cre­ative tech.

I want the IPAI ini­tia­tive to last well be­yond my ten­ure and to be a con­stant cham­pion of the power of our in­dus­try to make magic with machines.

2 Magic with num­bers

The sec­ond set of ini­tia­tives that fol­low from my agenda are all about the num­bers. I want more mem­bers to be more com­fort­able with the num­bers of mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing, to see them as a real source of mean­ing­ful in­spi­ra­tion. While many mar­keters see data as a source of trans­for­ma­tion for their in­dus­try, too many in ours view it with sus­pi­cion.

But I want to end the fear. I want to shine a bright light on how the best uses of data can be cre­atively in­spir­ing, cul­tur­ally dis­rup­tive and com­mer­cially im­pact­ful. Mag­i­cal, in fact.

Data won for Farage, John­son and Trump. The brains be­hind these elec­tion sur­prises found new ways to use data to drive an in­di­vid­ual’s emo­tions, not just trig­ger a short-term ac­tion. Imag­ine those skills har­nessed by ad­ver­tis­ers and their agen­cies.

Well, that’s ex­actly the magic I in­tend to help us achieve.

To this end, we will start by run­ning a num­ber of events through the 44 Club to en­gage our younger mem­bers with this new re­al­ity.

We will also be pub­lish­ing two new think pieces from Les Binet and Peter Field, start­ing with Buy­ing Be­hav­iour in the Dig­i­tal World. These are be­ing pro­duced in part­ner­ship with Google and will reach a wide au­di­ence.

It re­mains a key pri­or­ity of the IPA to build an ef­fec­tive­ness cul­ture in mem­ber agen­cies. To achieve this, we have to gain a more co­her­ent un­der­stand­ing of how dif­fer­ent mar­ket­ing ap­proaches mea­sure per­for­mance in the short and long term. Be­cause it’s pretty hard to make magic if you don’t know how the trick is meant to work.

So I am ask­ing that the Pres­i­dent’s Prize at the 2018 IPA Ef­fec­tive­ness Awards goes to the pa­per that most clearly demon­strates the most ef­fec­tive use of data.

And I will also be open­ing this year’s Ef­fec­tive­ness Week in Oc­to­ber, which will have a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on how to make sense of all the data now avail­able to us.

But, as well as gain­ing a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how data can con­trib­ute to mak­ing magic, it is im­per­a­tive that our mem­bers un­der­stand the rules around its us­age. There­fore we will be en­sur­ing that all agen­cies are up to speed with the new data pro­tec­tion reg­u­la­tions that are com­ing into force in May 2018 with a se­ries of IPA we­bi­nars.

3 Mon­i­tor­ing the machines

How­ever, we must ac­knowl­edge that there is the dark side to data that threat­ens our in­dus­try com­mer­cially and rep­u­ta­tion­ally. A dark side that the IPA has to help pro­tect us from. And this is the third part of my agenda – mon­i­tor­ing the machines.

The ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try will be pro­foundly dam­aged if it is as­so­ci­ated with the im­proper use of our clients’ money. A study by The & Part­ner­ship es­ti­mates that 20% of the to­tal $32bn spent on dig­i­tal video and dis­play ad­ver­tis­ing is be­ing lost to fraud. If a restau­rant failed to bring 20% of the food you or­dered, you wouldn’t go back in a hurry.

I ap­plaud the ini­tia­tive taken by Marc Pritchard at Proc­ter & Gam­ble to push tech­nol­ogy brands to open up to in­de­pen­dent ad ver­i­fi­ca­tion. And I will be adding the voice of the IPA to these re­quests as we are al­ready work­ing to pro­duce a best-prac­tice guide on on­line mea­sure­ment.

I am also en­cour­aged by some of the ef­forts taken by Google to ad­dress the brand-safety is­sues that plagued it in re­cent months, par­tic­u­larly its agree­ment to work with out­side com­pa­nies to ver­ify where ads ap­pear on Youtube.

I am de­ter­mined that the IPA leads the in­dus­try in de­mand­ing so­lu­tions. The UK is ar­guably the most ad­vanced large-scale dig­i­tal mar­ket in the world. More than half of our ad­spend goes on­line, sup­port­ing some of the high­est lev­els of ecom­merce. I call on our part­ners at ISBA, the In­ter­net Ad­ver­tis­ing Bureau and the largest tech com­pa­nies to come to­gether with the IPA to re­dou­ble our ef­forts to clean up the dig­i­tal me­dia fron­tier.

A new IPA – fac­ing for­wards, not look­ing in­wards

The machines are com­ing and we are go­ing to use them to make magic like we’ve never done be­fore.

Magic that will make our cre­ative work more com­pelling, our tar­get­ing more rel­e­vant and our sto­ry­telling more en­gag­ing.

Au­to­ma­tion will change our work­ing lives at ev­ery level in our in­dus­try. Be­fore we know it, the machines will do the com­pet­i­tive re­views, the le­gal checks, the con­tact re­ports, the im­age searches and myr­iad other daily ac­tiv­i­ties that are part of agency life.

And that will free us all to give more time to the cre­ation of bril­liant ideas, many of which will be brought to life us­ing emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies.

But only if we em­brace the machines, en­joy the machines and trust the machines.

Au­to­ma­tion is not go­ing to hap­pen overnight. Mck­in­sey sug­gests that, by 2055, around half of to­day’s work ac­tiv­i­ties could be au­to­mated. But I am set­ting the IPA on course for the next 100 years, not just the next two.

I want this to feel like a new era for the IPA, which for most of my ca­reer has been fo­cused on ad­dress­ing weak­nesses of abil­ity, di­ver­sity and cor­po­rate stand­ing.

But I want to take the IPA up a level – to look for­wards, not just in­wards.

The Ad­ver­tis­ing As­so­ci­a­tion has shown that the ex­port of ad­ver­tis­ing ser­vices is worth £4.1bn to the UK econ­omy, and the cre­ative in­dus­tries have been se­lected as one of five key pil­lars in the gov­ern­ment’s post-brexit strat­egy. So I am de­ter­mined that we be in among it with other lead­ing in­dus­tries, de­bat­ing the topics that mat­ter to us all, not just the spe­cific is­sues in our cat­e­gory.

So the IPA will be more chal­leng­ing and cham­pi­oning, more fu­ture-fac­ing and in­spir­ing, bolder and braver.

Be­cause the machines will change many things, but not the ded­i­ca­tion of all of our mem­bers to the busi­ness and bril­liance of ad­ver­tis­ing.

The machines will be our new col­leagues. And they will be the smartest, fastest, most in­cred­i­ble col­leagues any of us has ever had. And I can’t wait to start mak­ing more magic with them.

“The IPA will be more chal­leng­ing and cham­pi­oning, more fu­ture-fac­ing and in­spir­ing”

Harari: will speak at the up­com­ing SXSW1 event

Poké­mon Go: AR plat­forms al­low brands to add their dig­i­tal foot­prints to the real world

Schum­peter: ‘alchemy of ad­ver­tis­ing’

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