Think about this for a minute: What kinds of ads really resonate with you? Well, I think they need to be relevant, but not creepy relevant – like I’ve just spoken to someone about how I love Mustangs, and now my social media feed is creepily showing me an ad for Mustang dealers… NEAR ME. Anyway, ads also need to make a point. They need to get me interested in their product or service; it needs to either fulfill a need or just be downright bedazzling. And it needs to talk to me as an average person, not a supermodel or superhero.


The highlight of the IAB’s Leadership Summit was Bruce Daisley’s interview with Dave Trott, which summed it all up nicely. He spoke about how we all need to stop trying to compete with machines and start tapping into what human beings are actually good at – being creative. We need to stop focusing on solutions and start focusing on how we actually fix things, and on creating things that better serve our clients.

And here are the top 4 topics of focus over the 2 days:

Diversity: McKinsey has found that organisations that have a higher number of women in top management see a financial performance benefit of up to 15% over their peers. A further study by HBR found that it is because women are better able to unlock the benefits of diversity than their male counterparts. Diversity in thought is important for success – it’s about ensuring everyone has a say, and everyone is heard, so that there can be a healthy exchange of ideas. You can’t get that with a room full of people who agree with each other. We also need more realistic portrayals in ad copy; ensuring they speak to the consumers of today, to our feelings and to what we care about. This is what makes relevance so important. For example, true representation of women in ads, instead of typical size-zero models.

Data Ethics: Maybe the concept of smart fridges sounds great – seeing that you’ve almost run out of milk, you get a prompt to order a refill along with other groceries this week. But is it okay for your car insurance provider to adjust your premiums based on your average speed? In a world of connected devices and IoT, there is a need to ensure data is used purposefully and to the benefit of the consumer, but not so much that it becomes creepy. With more countries looking into data regulations, this is becoming a requirement. But really, the ethical use of data and protection should be something our industry adheres to as default and standard practice.

Measurement: What good is tracking clicks when it comes to your actual bottom line? What do you actually care about and what is your personal performance measured on? That should be what you’re measuring towards. Understand what path your customer has taken. Understanding what metrics you should be looking at to show you how many people completed a checkout and contributed to ROAS, for instance. In line with the IAB’s “Don’t Be A Clickhead” campaign, another key topic was measurement and the need to align KPIs with actual objectives.

Transparency: We all need to play a part in re-establishing trust in the world of marketing, between brands and agencies and vendors. With the shift from blind reliance to accountability, agencies and vendors have a role to play as strategic partners of their brands, and need to have transparency at the core of everything they do. But equally, brands need to work closer with their agencies and vendors, and be more involved. We’re already seeing these shifts happen, but there is still a lot more work to be done.


Kelly-Marie Fernandes

Director, Strategic Platform Sales