Advertising Week Europe

Advertising Week Europe 2017 Official Guide

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"We see huge consumer appetite for all the benefits of data sharing." Spotting sea changes—a marketer's bread and but- ter—hasn't exactly been difficult in Europe of late. An influx of refugees is re- shaping the continent from the ground up. And, the nationalism trend promis- es to transform it from the top down. In addition, the election of Donald Trump in the US could funda- mentally change Europe's relationship with its most important global partner. Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, said after the UK Brexit vote that "divorcing Europe could take the best part of a decade, and we won't know the full impact for many years." A month later, he called Trump's victory "a second Brexit." While the biggest headlines of 2016 ushered in a period of uncertainty in the advertis- ing and marketing world, a quieter industry trend also came to a head—one that could help companies cope with the shifting politi- cal and cultural landscape. Analysis by IAB Europe showed online advertising spend has finally topped television spending, leap- ing 13 percent year-on-year in 2015. That compares with a 4 percent decline in non- online spending and 1 percent growth for the industry as a whole. Ivo Roefs, Co-CEO of Dutch firm DDB Group, says the growth in digital advertising could soften Brexit's impact on the industry. Yes, London will still hold the crown in above- the-line advertising, since firms there boast both larger budgets and the language ad- vantage. But, says Roefs, "London's lead in terms of digital and social is not that evident. The budgets are smaller in these fields, so the importance of having a good idea and clever execution is much greater. Many European countries have proven to be better [than the UK] at that." Clever execution is particularly useful at a time when Europeans' comfort with diver- sity is in flux and brands want to go beyond simply creating ads that show off people of different sexes, races or religions. The goal instead is to persuade consumers that a certain set of values is intrinsic to the brand itself—and may be in line with their values, too. This, says Nick Chiarelli, Consultancy Director at trend-spotting firm Foresight Factory, is often best done through digital campaigns tailored to individual tastes, in- terests and needs. Yet some of the digital solutions that most excite marketing innovators now face regu- latory challenges. Last year, the European Parliament tightened rules on personal data protection, stepping up transparency requirements for companies that collect data and giving consumers more control over their personal information. EU coun- tries are required to sign these changes into law by May 2018, making 2017 a key year for the industry to sort out the im- plications. IAB Europe's lobbying plans include highlighting digital advertising's economic contribution to argue that leg- islation should focus only on areas "where The Rise Of Political Populism Means That The Continent's Marketers Face An Uncertain Year; Could Digital Advertising Growth Be The Ace Up Their Sleeve? By Rose Jacobs there is meaningful risk to consumers." DDB's Roefs takes a different view. Some de- gree of protection for consumers is welcome, he says, and companies need to be open to the regulation's intent rather than focus too much on finding loopholes or work-arounds. He cites companies' response to laws that required websites to ask users whether they would accept cookies. Sites duly asked the question but offered people no reasonable alternative—you either accepted the cookies or were blocked. "So consumers don't really have a choice at all." The result, says Roefs, is that "consumers are becoming suspicious and confidence is dropping, which is much more harmful for a brand in the end." Foresight Factory's Chiarelli believes a changing population could ease this prob- lem. Young people are more comfortable sharing data than older Europeans, he says—if what they get in return is a truly en- hanced product or service. "We see huge consumer appetite for all the benefits of data sharing," he says. Timetraveler, for example, an augmented- reality app developed in Berlin, shows you the German capital during the Cold War but asks for your location. A Paris-based bookselling website collects information about your reading preferences in order to curate a shopping cart. "At some point people will realise, 'I'm going to have to give something to get something,'" says Chiarelli. He also notes that people in some European countries, like Sweden, seem more will- ing to make these trade-offs than in others, such as France. European marketers have de- cades of experience catering to national differences—experience they might now wind up exporting to an America that appears, post- election, more divided than ever. Roefs' advice is to avoid portraying other cul- tures as stereotypes: "Don't exaggerate their differences," he says, "except when a concept calls for such magnification in a good way, for humorous effect." It may be some time, however, before Americans—Trump detractors and sup- porters alike—are ready to laugh at themselves again. AWE 2017 245

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