Walt Geer, Executive Creative Director for Experience Design at VMLY&R, kicked off our inaugural Publisher Forum Virtual on Aug. 25, 2020, with an electrifying keynote the reverberated throughout the rest of the conference. In dissecting the current (sad) state of digital creative and showcasing numerous innovative campaigns, he made a solid case for tight partnerships between creative agencies and publishers.
One of the key takeaways for me was that publishers have been limited by their conceptions of media—not just trapped in IAB standard display units, but that all campaigns must fit somewhere on a website. Many of the examples ; Before the pandemic, we were seeing more and more digital publishers expand into live events, with diverse sponsorship packages that covered video, display, and even branded content.
But another interesting idea presented by Geer was to funnel publisher data directly to creative teams for interesting executions. He highlighted one campaign using real-time stoplight data in Tokyo to help bikers determine faster routes. What could various niche publishers bring to the table for a similar project?
Indeed, premium publishers are constantly bringing insights to clients and their agencies, but perhaps we’re thinking too much in terms of ad targeting. Creative input could help us realize far more exciting uses for the seemingly endless supply of pub first-party data. (It was hinted by Geer and the AdMonsters editorial team that media agencies have become a barrier to smart collaborations between creatives and publishers.)
Those takeaways only scratched the surface or packed a whole lot of wallop into 30 minutes!