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Ben Walmsley & Greg Cristal, DG MediaMind: “The next wave is well on its way to birth”

Being a journalist at heart and always eager to share interesting stories and valuable insights, I dug out my digital audio recorder and drove around 30 km to meet Ben and Greg. Who are these guys?

By Dannos Tsakalos, Marketing Manager, TDG

Well, they both work for the top independent provider of integrated digital advertising solutions in the world -the one is the Associate VP, Publisher and Partners EMEA and the other the Lead Technology Consultant EMEA.  In other words, Ben Walmsley and Greg Cristal were the perfect guys to talk about trends in Online Advertising, the challenges and opportunities for agencies and marketers, even to share some thoughts on the, full of potential yet ruined reputation, of brand “Athens”.

Question: How would you describe the value proposition of DG MediaMind in less than 144 characters?

Greg Cristal: DG, the video experts; we offer agencies, advertisers Greg_Cristal_DG_MediaMindand publishers a global platform with hands-on service to distribute ads to media channels, sites, broadcasters and players with a buy-independent tracking methodology.

Q: Well, it’s a bit longer that what I’ve asked for, but I won’t make a fuss over it! :) DG MediaMind has won an IAB Rising Star across display, mobile and in-stream video. What might be, in your opinion, the next trend in online creativity?

Ben_Walmsley_DG_MediaMindBen Walmsley: As we see the boundaries of online and TV blur, leading towards a series of different screens that we move between to consume content and communicate, the best creativity will embrace this multi-screen world. We’ve run campaigns that use phones to control other screens, and online ads synchronized with TV ads. Again, the best creativity will work across all screens, and will find clever ways for them to complement one another. Many of these experiences will offer opportunities to interact with gesture controls, meaning that consumers will literally touch the brand!

G. Cristal: Due to global limits, premium inventory for in-stream video is still in its infancy. The next trend will be cross-platform video formats, which see the start of true video convergence. At DG we call this Dual Screen.

Q: Big Data vs Creativity: Is it about time for creatives to evolve from “Mad Men” to “Math Men”?

G. Cristal: Creativity attracts attention and builds brands and connections with new audiences. Big data opens the door to relevance in creative messaging, reduction of wastage and turns the key on scaling products like “Dynamic Creative Optimization” (Smart Versioning), which gives the artist back time to work on the idea rather than be troubled by the scaling of the versions.

Q: Another major trend is Video Convergence. What is the main challenge and opportunity for advertisers?

B. Walmsley: Picking just one is hard. I think the main challenge is data. Users are consuming video content on every screen. However, making sense of so many different data currencies, when online publishers are returning different reports, is difficult. Advertisers spend a huge amount of time trying to make sense of it all. We then add TV into the mix, which has another set of metrics. As a result, we have a lot of data but not much sense of what to do as a result of it.

Being able to compare all these data points on a like-for-like basis, and, in the future, to better understand the impact of one channel on the other, will change the way media is bought. This is the challenge we aim to solve, and it leads to a massive opportunity.

A recent study by the IAB shows us that TV-only advertisers tend to expose the vast majority of their ads to the same people too often, wasting views. The high-value, tech-savvy consumers that watch an hour or so of TV each day are missed. Gross Rating Points don’t account for this. Being able to understand who the ad is reaching across all screens and how to buy more effectively is a huge opportunity for the advertiser to get more value from their marketing budget.

G. Cristal: The main challenge is perception of media value; TV has a very well established order that transforms ratings into a trading currency for media, whereas online is churned with Big Data, overwhelming the simplicity of the TV buying model. The opportunity for advertisers is to bring those channel-divided teams together, to educate each other, to bring TV forwards in its thinking about data and to support online in establishing a trusted trading currency.

Q: What’s the essential tip for all those ad executives who are eager to ride the next wave and succeed in this constantly evolving media ecosystem?

G. Cristal: Never stop learning, keep an open mind and build specialist teams to cope with the exponential growth in technical industry information, read widely and keep talking; the next wave is well on its way to birth.

Q: Advertising legend Maurice Saatchi once talked about one-word equity. Now, that you’ve had the chance to visit Greece, what’s the word you would choose in order to describe the brand of Athens?

B. Walmsley: Seductive!

G. Cristal: The word I would use to describe Athens is “Community”. As a country and an economy, Greece has overcome some enormous challenges and there is still a long road ahead. However, from the minute we stepped off the plane we saw a collaboration first hand, a collaboration without borders or judgment. The spirit and the ethic of a city proud of its heritage and so respectful of each other was as motivating and educating to us, as it was inspiring. Lessons that will strengthen our own teams locally and globally, and together we can get Athens and the great country of Greece back onto its feet.

To find out more about DG MediaMind and how it could help you stay ahead of the curve, feel free to contact us at brain-gr@thinkdigital.net. For, ThinkDigital is DG MediaMind’s Authorized Partner in CE and SE Europe.

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