Gokul Krishnamoorthy
Jun 21, 2016

Cannes Lions 2016: In Ad-block age, Rob Norman makes case for 'thumb-stopping' creative

GroupM's chief digital officer addressed delegates at the IAA Cabana on 21 June

Cannes Lions 2016: In Ad-block age, Rob Norman makes case for 'thumb-stopping' creative
The publisher has the responsibility to provide an authentic opportunity to see. The advertiser must offer a relevant proposition. The creative must be sufficiently arresting. And the media must provide the right environment, fit for the target. These were the requisites listed by GroupM global chief digital officer Rob Norman for digital advertising to deliver, overcoming the ad-blocking challenge.
He was addressing delegates at the International Advertising Association (IAA) Cabana on 21 June, during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016.
In this context, does the ecosystem demand a different working relationship between stakeholders? It does in some cases, while evolved relationships are already in place to cater to current demands, said Norman, even as he made the case for jointly briefing stakeholders.
He said, "Only by briefing (stakeholders) together can there be a harmonious implementation of the plan, defining a fit-for-purpose media placement."
Publishers need to build content of sufficient value, or even greater value that could help them transition from an advertising-led model to a subscription model, observed the speaker. He emphasised the need to create ad units and design user experience while respecting data access constraints and privacy concerns of users.
"We need to create advertising assets that are 'thumb-stopping' creative," noted Norman.
The value of video
"The key factor to the value of video is whether anyone is watching it," quipped the speaker, adding that re-engineering video for platforms was very important.
Countering the notion that video consumption on mobile was ubiquitous, Norman pointed out the lag in adoption of 4G in many parts of the world, with the case of India. He explained that the only app that works on 2G is Facebook, because it was built for purpose, after reduction of features that could hamper speed. Even on 3G, there are issues like buffering, the speaker contended, adding that 4G had only been launched in parts of the country. In a bundled offer for the iPhone5, only 20 per cent of buzers used 4G, with the rest using it as a Wifi device, besides using it for voice and SMS, he added.
"To assume that the world has moved from a broadcast model to mobile video would be completely incorrect," explained Norman, submitting that if video was a solution, it would need to factor in various considerations.
KPIs at enterprise level
Asked about the agency of the future, the speaker noted that 90 per cent of investment by his company since 2007 had been in data-driven businesses.
On the client end, the Norman mooted the idea of defining KPIs at an enterprise level, across the portfolio. Underlining the need for looking at sources of data closely, he urged more dependence on first-party data rather than third-party data. Companies that are not digitally native will have move up fast, observed the speaker. 
"Nothing worse than having data but not having a mechanism to reward yourself from it," he surmised.
Campaign India

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