The drum | Overheard at 4A 2023 decisions: ‘Gaming becomes entertainment’

The TikTok whirl, tech regulation, talent: it was all part of the conversation this week at 4A’s IRL annual conference in New York.

Advertising, marketing and technology leaders gathered in Manhattan’s financial district for the live and virtual 4A’s Decisions: Perpetual Disruption conference. From cord stacking to Google’s antitrust issues to talent retention, top leaders shared a stream of key insights and provocative views. Here are some of the main sound bites from the event.

We will update this story during the conference on February 1 and 2.

Daniela Herrera, Director of Recruiting and Justice, Diversity and Inclusion, R/GA

“One thing that the ad industry is catching up with that the tech industry has been doing for a long time is the idea of ​​working remotely only, or giving people the ability to work remotely. It opens up new possibilities to work with people we would never have had access to.

…And when it comes to talent, we need to think about how to build fairness into the mix. And fairness isn’t giving everyone the same – it’s giving everyone what they need to succeed. It doesn’t mean that a very junior employee gets the same resources as a [member of the] C Suite.”

Rema Vasan, head of global marketing for gaming companies, TikTok

“Gaming is going through a pretty big shift – you know that when you watch [HBO Max’s] ‘The last of us’. There is a lot of crossover between gaming IP and entertainment. Gaming is really coming into mainstream culture because it’s becoming entertainment.”

Bill Koenigsberg, CEO of Horizon Media

“People flex so many new muscles that they’ve never flexed before. It’s not for everyone… you have to be a business athlete to keep up and get there. For me, it’s about training our athletes in terms of mindset. If you are prepared for it, you are not disturbed by it – you are part of the disturbance.”

Jennifer Clarke, director of brand strategy, Maytag and JennAir, Whirlpool

“AI can accelerate any kind of creativity. I’ve experimented with ChatGPT in my line of work, just like other strategists. [For example,] we work with niche target groups and only conduct research [about those audiences] every once in a while. We can ask, ‘Where do designers get inspiration from?’ It lists 50 or 60 sources and then we can start validating it. This gives you more time to get to a higher level of creative thinking.”

Ellen Kiernan, Global CEO, Mediabrands

“We need to reclaim some of the magic of what it means to be an agency. It’s a rollercoaster – and if we love rollercoasters, and many of us do, we have to reclaim that [joy].”

Jason Brum, group vice president, agency partnerships, DirecTV

“It’s not so much about cutting cords. It involves stacking cords. Consumers have more than four video-on-demand (VOD) services, and 63% of VOD subscribers subscribe to a cable or live streaming service. The winner is the one that delivers the most value to the customer in a frictionless manner. Entertainment gets complicated in a way it shouldn’t be. It should be a way to relax instead of jumping from shift to shift. [Plus]when people investigate [their bills amid] the economic headwind, [you may find that] by cutting the cord, you could end up spending more than you want on the content.

Brandon Kraham, vice president, global search advertising and commerce, business and product strategy, Google

“As we lean more towards automation, a new wave of change management is needed within enterprises. When you look at leaders and laggards, there are three characteristics of leaders:

  1. C-suite alignment: the ability of leaders to create the conditions for organizations to implement change;

  2. Scalability: what it takes to build human capabilities and technical capabilities and much more; And

  3. An always-on mentality: [you have to be able to] scale when you start to see the green shoots.

Scott Hagedorn, global chief solutions architect, Publicis Groupe

“Change management is tough. Trying to change the model and replace core tasks with something more automated is a tough thing to do. It’s hard to sell to the customer when you try to change the team model and compensation structure.

Joshua Lowcock, global chief media officer, UM Worldwide

“We need regulators to step in and we need to step back and stop fueling the problems. Get to the fundamental issue that consumers demand and expect privacy. We need privacy regulations that make that possible. It all becomes pointing the finger and blaming when we talk about anti-competitive behavior. Let’s all agree to join hands and walk towards [privacy regulation].

Predictions for the future? You will see changes in Google’s go-to-market behavior in the near term, which will make it clear that there is competition in the market. The TikTok ban will continue to swirl. If Congress gets its act together… there will be more focus on data sensitivity. And email as an identifier is dead. We just don’t know yet. Every trend suggests that. My recommendation is, if you’re still looking at addressable data and using email as an identifier, plan for it to be gone by the end of the year.

Additional reporting by Kendra Clark.

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