Held in Singapore from Sunday September 16th to Tuesday September 18th, the Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity 2012 gathered a wide array of professionals from the creative, media, production, technology and communications industries. Some of the finest work in film, print, outdoor, radio, digital and mobile competed for the region’s most prestigious industry awards. As a long-time supporter of Spikes Asia, Microsoft Advertisingwas honoured to host discussions with attendees about industry trends, share new insights and showcase new products shaping the way brands engage with consumers.
Trends in Digital Advertising: Consumers at the Heart of the Digital Experience
A recurring theme throughout the event was the on-going challenge advertisers face to find new ways to deliver relevant content to consumers divided across a wide spectrum of devices, expanding platforms and varying needs. The promise of digital is often perceived as the answer to this challenge. However, discussions at the event revealed that the industry has not fully realized the potential of digital as a creative platform.
Our goal at Spikes Asia was to show how digital is evolving to create more immersive, more relevant and more human experiences for consumers.
Through the combination of technology and imagination, Microsoft Advertising is enabling the convergence of experiences across screens, which is especially important in Asia, a region defined by its explosive growth in mobile technologies, its mix of hyper-connected cities and economies, and its blend of languages and cultures. According to Bruno Fiorentini, General Manager, Microsoft Advertising Asia Pacific, “brands that harness digital strategies will be both ideally positioned to reach the billions of people already online in Asia and ready to reach the next billion coming online in the near future.”
Upcoming Microsoft Products: Expanding Digital Interactions
We brought this to life in the Spikes Digital Lounge where attendees could see how technology can help them engage with audiences through more ‘human’ experiences – touch, gesture, and voice. From Windows 8 Release Preview PCs and tablets, to Windows phones, MSN, Skype, and Kinect for Windows – visitors were able to touch and feel the potential of digital advertising for themselves. Advertising and publishing partners were particularly excited to see that the journey to Windows 8 opens countless new doorsfor immersive and creative advertising solutions within applications. Most importantly, the Windows ecosystem puts the promise of connected experiences across devices in the hands of the industry. Seamless, beautiful and rich. The evolution of display.
Delegates were also intrigued by Bodymetrics, an application that uses Kinect for Windows to scan and map a person’s body measurements to allow clothes to be tried on virtually. As they waited to get scanned, people discussed the opportunities this technology could offer to retail partnerships, online shopping tie-ins, and virtual fashion outlets. We were joined by RAOUL, an international label that can claimKate Middleton as a fan! RAOUL created an in-store retail environment and dressed our spokespeople to bring high street fashion to the high tech world. They even offered a SGD 500 gift voucher to the delegate with the best answer to the question: “What does digital advertising mean to you?”
While the evolution of display advertising and consumer engagement were important topics, delegates also had questions about social advertising. At the Skype booth, attendees saw how Skype gives brands access to the most important events in people’s lives – birthdays, holidays, weddings – and to the simple moments that happen every day. Visitors were interested to learn more about Conversations Ads, which appear during one-to-one Skype audio calls for non-paying users with no Skype credit or subscriptions. According to Shawn McMichael, Senior Director of Advertising, Skype, “Another exciting phase of development will take place as Skype becomes more deeply integrated with Windows Phone apps, Microsoft Advertising and Bing.”
Consumers in Control? Think Again.
The industry is entering an era with an explosion of data and devices, platforms and channels. Technology has enabled campaigns to be more connected, more integrated and more seamless, and with more ‘routes-in’ to consumer engagement.
A study presented by Microsoft Advertising at Spikes Asia 2012 revealed the most effective ‘routes-in’ to connect with consumers in different regions. Conducted by BBDO and Microsoft Advertising and presented by Natasha Hritzuk, Global Senior Director of Insights, Microsoft Advertising, the study found that the most successful campaigns in emerging markets are built through social engagement, while campaigns in developed markets aim to create a feeling of ‘serendipity’ and discovery for the consumer.
Hritzuk reminded industry professionals that regardless of the market in which a brand operates it is essential to keep strategies as simple as possible, even if the current trend leans towards using increasingly sophisticated technologies to create equally complex campaigns. The digital realm is where less is truly more.
Advanced Advertising Solutions: Conquering the Asian Market
Joined by executives from Asia Pacific, Greater China and the UK, Axel Steinman, Vice President, Emerging Markets, Microsoft Advertising, travelled from the US to listen and learn from the delegates at Spikes Asia in special in-depth meetings with agency leaders. They discussed the evolution of display advertising from a static banner to a rich experience in Windows 8. They wanted to hear from the industry on how we can deliver more social, more relevant and more human experiences to consumers.
The topics ranged from previews of upcoming consumer products to in-depth discussions about our current advertising solutions. MSN, already a destination for more than half of all internet users, will soon offer upcoming new features such as high-quality video, advanced packaging and an updated approach to social across devices with less intrusive advertising. Additionally, the rebrand of adCenter to Bing Adswill help advertisers understand that through Microsoft Advertising, they are buying traffic on the entire Yahoo! Bing Network, including Yahoo! Search and Bing partner publisher sites.
So where do we go from here? We talked about an evolution of the way brands engage with consumers. We showed the latest technology. We brought experts to explain how it all works. We want to keep the conversation going. Please reach out to us to tell us which customized programs we can bring to your teams – from Windows 8, to Skype, to consumer insights, we are eager to share and learn from you.
Creatively. Simply. Awe-inspiringly. Microsoft Advertising.