Technology is the big winner at the Festival of Media Asia

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UM (Universal McCann), Initiative and Ensemble, all important business units under the global media giant IPG Mediabrands, were the torchbearers of the festival.
UM Malaysia, notably, clinched six awards in total, which included the most coveted prize for Campaign of the Year for its work on KFC under the uniquely long name of “How We Used Programmatic [Buying] to Develop Content and Reach Millennials to Get Them Fired Up for KFC’s Hot and Cheesy Burgers”.
The other noteworthy mention, more relevant in a local context, was Initiative Thailand’s work for Johnson’s Baby campaign named “The Magic of Bubbles”. Unexpectedly, it was the only case study from the Kingdom to be awarded any of the top three prizes from all of the categories represented at the festival.
Adulation aside, the basis of most of the victories at this year’s festival was the industry’s gravitation towards the use of technology in campaigns, especially the two case studies mentioned above.
When I first heard of the term “programmatic buying”, I was completely bamboozled by it, not knowing whether it was a term synonymous with rocket science or with advertising.

Automated buying
For the many who are not familiar with it, programmatic buying is, mainly, automated digital advertising buying by targeting specific audiences, demographics and in essence the context under consideration in search engines.
The KFC campaign highlighted the seamless intertwining between science and art, using technology to help zero in on contextual search and transforming it into branded entertainment content.
YouTube was the main platform to deploy our branded content each time a user logged on to the popular website and searched for the clip that interested him or her. That context, either popular at the time or predicted to be popular in the upcoming periods, guided our automation to select the most relevant and customised, pre-shot 10-to-15-second branded content to be delivered in-stream before their clip appeared onscreen.
This is the way of the future in an era when people are fast becoming digital natives and their attention span quickly shortening, especially millennials.
The big idea was a talking KFC burger spouting cheesy lines inspired by what millennials were searching on YouTube – hence being in the right context at the right time, delivered by programmatic buying in the age where “context is king”.
In 2015 alone, of the total US$60 billion (Bt2.1 trillion) spent in the global digital advertising industry, a quarter of that was dedicated to programmatic buying, and it is growing fast.
On to the second case where technology helped fuel a first of its kind: 4D interactive user experience right here in the heart of Siam.
Johnson’s Baby wanted to remind the busy millennial-generation mums of Thailand of the importance of bathing in conjunction with the development of babies’ emotions by way of touching, smelling and seeing, as opposed to just being a daily chore.
We all know for a fact that mere traditional advertising could never deliver this in today’s world if we wanted to induce consumer engagement.

Tradition with progression
So we morphed tradition with progression, by installing a bubble-dispenser machine programmed to release thousands of bubbles every time our thematic ad came on at Siam Square One’s |digital advertising screen. Ingenious.
Mums, dads, kids, the whole family got into the act of playing with these bubbles, a reminder that these floating particles possess the kind of power that can bring smiles to the faces of children and learning at the same time.
For a comprehensive reading of these two remarkable cases with supporting case-study videos, please visit facebook.com/IPGMBThailand.
In a rapidly changing consumer and media landscape, it is important to keep up with the technology and resources at your agency’s disposal and make sure they cater well to the brief and objective at hand, as reach and frequency are no longer the norm.

Pradon Sirakovit is associate director, corporate communications, IPG Mediabrands Thailand. He can be reached atpradon.sirakovit@mbww.com, or see facebook.com/IPGMBThailand.