#FFWD 2016: Don’t let the change leave you behind

This year Fast Forward Advertising Week Canada takes place January 25 through the 29th. To kickstart 2016 with a new perspective The Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) introduces a new theme for the week: Don’t let the change leave you behind. In addition to annual panels such as most influential brands and upcoming trends the conference brings together experts on the topics of data intelligence, biometrics, consumption of content, visual text analysis and more. 

The full schedule can be found here but the following panels seem particularly interesting:

Shaw Media Session: Next Generation Television – The Power of TV Combined with the Intelligence of Data

Speakers: Greg McLelland, Senior VP, Sales, Shaw Media and Mark Daprato, Chief Marketing Officer, shop.ca

Date: January 26, 11am Cinema 2

Applied Arts Session: Diary of a Creative Director: An exploration of the road to greatness

Speakers: Amir Kassaei, Chief Creative Officer DDB Worldwide, New York and Heidi Ehlers, Founder, Heidi Consults

Date: January 26, 12:30pm Cinema 2

Facebook Session: Understanding people in the new world of communication

Speaker: Josh Bloom, Director of Retail Marketing Solutions, Facebook Canada

Date: January 27, 2:30pm Cinema 2

Addictive Mobility Session: Tech Enabled Creative for Mobile

Speaker: Naveed Ahmad, CEO, Addictive Mobility

Date: January 28, 1:30pm Cinema 4

Kijiji Speaker Series: Canadian Advertising: Do or Die?

Speaker: Scott Goodson, CEO and Founder, Strawberryfrog, New York

Date: January 28, 4pm Cinema 2

Mintel Session: Consumer Trends That Will Shape 2016 and Beyond

Speaker: Stacy Glasgow, Consumer Trends Consultant, Mintel

Date: January 29, 11am Cinema 4

And off course for all of the students out there: Next Generation day on Wednesday 8am-11:30am

Stay in touch on social media: Twitter @adweekcdn @icacanada #FFWD2016 and Facebook. Register here.

The new campaign was created by Publicis Toronto is meant to emphasize the notion of transformation and how the industry is in a state of radical change.

AWSC: Internet-bad vs Internet-good: Mitch Joel and Andrew Keen Debate the Influence of the Internet

There are a lot of topics that spark debates: religion, politics, Mac vs PC, Nikon vs Canon, Patriots vs Seahawks, and the list goes on. The good thing about debates is that they spark a healthy conversation. The bad things about debates is that sometimes you just have to agree to disagree.

Some debates are vanilla, some debates appear to be chocolate and end up being chocolate chunks with a drizzle. Earlier this week I got to witness a debate that ended up being the later: Is the Internet the Answer? Debating its Future Influence on Marketing and our Lives at FFW Advertising Week Canada.

Andrew Keen is an entrepreneur who recently released a book The Internet Is Not The Answer, in which he argues that the Internet contributes to inequality, unemployment, and surveillance. Mitch Joel, on the other hand, is a man behind the Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete, living and breathing digital revolution. Needless to say looking at the credentials of the panelists it was clear the debate was going to heat up.

Keen approaches the Internet the same way people looked at the Industrialization referring to the days when we stood in line to pick up a newspaper as the old-days. As soon as he made his opening statement it became clear I was going to stay on Joel’s court regardless of my education background being in the good-old-communications.

After stating that the Internet, and digitalization as a whole, are the cause of unemployment Keen referred to the jobs created by the Internet as the Gig Economy which takes jobs away from the working class. Quite frankly I believe that those dated definitions of social structure are no longer applicable to how we exist today. People of the ‘working class’ often exceed the incomes of white collar jobs and we are not a caste society. North America has gone through a rough recession and the Internet has allowed for people to not only expand their business using the World Wide Web but create their own jobs and run business they would not have been able to otherwise.

The web has an ability to increase visibility, grow customer base, and reach overseas markets. Without web presence a business is not a business and these days sometimes all you need to be a business is a website. Owning a retail store is an expense that runs many people into the ground but running a store on-line can be done by a single person out of a living room and many people do it quite successfully.

In the old days without the Internet bands could not be bands if they were unsigned. Today, even in this saturated music market, bands can become popular without any label support by getting their music out there for people to hear. You no longer absolutely need a music label to survive, talent and hard work can actually get you fame. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis got signed after they released The Heist and while they do charge for their music some bands (like Odesza) choose to giveaway their music for free making bank on tours, merchandise, and the ever-increasing demand for vinyl.

Admittedly the journalism industry was the most impacted by the Internet but it also allowed for people who could not get their content through to print publications become a person of interest for those same publications by growing a readership through their personal blogs (Mitch Joel being one of them). It allowed stay-at-home moms, retirees and people with weird hobbies to find ways to make money, supplement their income and survive with grace by doing what they enjoy. Yes it comes at the cost of advertising, but what business doesn’t need advertising to survive?

To touch on Keen’s last point, surveillance, I would like to bring your attention back to the good-old-days of Michel Foucault and Jeremy Bentham (the Panopticon model) – surveillance has always existed and it will always exist with or without our consent. There are probably at least a dozen cameras you pass on your way to work, do you know where that footage lives?

The Internet offers us a choice to decline the situations in which we are going to be surveyed at the cost of not using the services but we chose to agree at the cost of knowing that our information will be used (at least) for targeted advertising.

Internet is progress. It was that way when it first became a term and it will continue to be so simply because we cannot control it as a single enterprise. Although the web is governed in many ways at the end of the day it is a digital world created and operated by people.

The digital revolution is what we can do with the tools the Internet has to offer and while I agree that the fruits of such technology are not beneficial in all parts of the world (and not even in all parts of North America) the modern society we live in here now has been benefiting from the benefits of the Internet in ways no one had expected even when the built the first Personal Computer.


Originally published on Advertising Week Social Club here.

#FFWD2015: Five key takeaways from Twitter Canada session

On Wednesday FFWD Advertising Week hosted Twitter Canada for an insightful session about the #PowerOfAtweet. The panel consisted of Rita Ferrari, Director, Brand and Product Marketing at shomi, Kristi Karen, Director of Media, Consumer Engagement and Agency Partnerships at Mondelēz (Oreo), and Derek Hutchison, Head, Enterprise Social Media at RBC. The conversation, moderated by Jamie Michaels from Twitter Canada, covered success which these three very different brands were able to achieve on Twitter.

If you live in Toronto over the last month or so you have more than likely come across shomi billboards, TV or digital ads all throughout your daily routine. Ferrari’s team has been aggressively promoting shomi using a rich variety of channels including Twitter using some of the most innovative solutions the platform is able to offer. Their results of close collaboration with Twitter were a 2.3 increase in site visitations.

Kristi Karen lead the Oreo team during their collaboration with Sochi Olympics, and we all know how successful that campaign was. Their promoted tweets resulted in 14% to 24%  engagement increase. And while a bank might not seem like a Twitter account you’d want to follow RBC was able to achieve a 200% increase in positive sentiment by supporting team Canada during the same Olympics.

Throughout the discussion 5 key takeaways came up:

1. Take adventure of Twitter’s Account Associates: they are there to help you achieve better results not only by making suggestions about targeting but by working on your goals towards more innovative solutions.

2. Be creative with promoted tweets and Twitter cards. The targeting possibilities are fantastic and CTAs have a lot of potential to increase engagement. For example shomi used Twitter cards to encourage people to add their favorite shows to calendar.

3. During high-times or prolonged public events that require daily responses having a war-room will help the best ideas and solution rise to the top. Oreo had one during the Sochi Olympics and the creative outcome was incredibly attention grabbing.

4. Twitter is a great place for reputation management, software cannot possibly do that job as well as a real person. Having a team handling incoming mentions is worth the investment, especially if you’re a company that has a potential for getting a lot of questions, concerns or complaints, the labour is a worthy investment.

5. Whatever your brand challenge is Twitter alone will not solve that issue. Traditional media support is still as essential as it was a decade ago.


Julia Pott for Oreo from Hornet on Vimeo.

#FFWD2015: Advertising & Marketing Week Canada

The world refers to us Canadians as polite. That’s a good generalization to have for a nation but what I’ve been noticing over the last few years is that we are more modest than we are polite. Toronto is the culture capital of Canada, bravely compared to the Big Apple but when you contrast the two Toronto is shy of the fame and the glory that New York boldly throws into everybody’s face.

This modesty applies to the advertising and marketing industry alike. Although this city, this country, is jam-packed with creative and strategic talent we don’t shout about our events, our award shows or successes.

It is time to start inviting the world to our conferences and industry events. A good place to start is Advertising Week which in Canada happens during the Winter, January 28 – February 1. This year AWC has expended their horizons: enter Advertising & Marketing Week 2013, organization’s fifth anniversary year conference appropriately re-branded to as Fast Forward Advertising Week.

The organizers of FFWD, Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA), made it their mission to embrace and drive change in the industry. Including marketing into the mix was a reflection on the changes within and the rapidly evolving business world in which advertising lives. The idea is to not only showcase industry’s best, offer a highlight of new ideas, but also to inspire discussion and create awareness of the business-building impact that advertising has on the economy.

Last year the notable speaker was David Droga of Droga5, NYC, this year the ICA has invited Rory Sutherland, executive creative director and vice-chair of Ogilvy One, UK, to drive the boat into the mystic forest.

Sutherland’s speech, entitled “The Next Revolution in Advertising Will Be Psychological, Not Technological”, will expand on his theories in regards to technological progress. He argues that technological progress will slow down in the next few years giving way to neurological and behavioral insights as key influencers of communication strategies. Needless to say this speech is built to be a good start to a week of varied activities.

The rest of the conference events will include international keynote speakers, seminars, panel presentations, networking events, the Globe & Mail Cannes reel screening, CASSIES awards, the annual Ad Ball gala as well as the Next Generation Day, a student free-for-all from my previous experience. The speaker series will feature presentations from Yahoo! Canada, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, Toronto Star, Google, and MDC Partners discussing multiscreen advertising, consumer insights, and cross-platform measurement strategies among other topics.

Whether you are in it to learn, to network, to get inspired, or to just get out of the office for a day FFWD is one of those events that will benefit anyone who works in or aspires to make a career in advertising and marketing.

The bottom line is educated industry begins with educated individuals and there is only so much we can learn by reading the Internet.

To find more information, schedules and tickets visit www.advertisingweek.ca.