Day 2 Conference Recap

David Moore, Chairman & Founder of 24/7 Real Media, and Chairman of the IAB Board of Directors, started off the day by welcoming back to huge crowd that decided not to sleep in after a late night of fun during Advertising Week in New York. No one wants to miss a minute of MIXX. Moore gave a rundown of IAB accomplishments over the last year that have advanced the interest of its members and the interactive advertising ecosystem across numerous dimensions. He cited that by 2015 interactive advertising spend will be $55 billion, accounting for 21% of all media spend—making it the largest spend in advertising. Focusing on the growth of the industry, Moore delivered a strong message punctuated by the words, “It is foolish to punish your partners by fire when you live under the same roof.” Dave then introduced a mainstay of MIXX—the Charlie Rose interview. This year’s subject—Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief Wired magazine & Author, Free: The Future of a Radical Price.

The interview didn’t disappoint as the journalist dove deep into the FREE concept. Freemium, the business model that offers basic services for free, but charges a premium for advanced options was dissected as Anderson explained that every media organization will need to find the model that work best for their particular audience. Advertisers will be forced to scale messages for millions of micro-communities in a way that’s more engaging than the banner. It’s a once in a lifetime shift that will forever change the industry.

Yahoo! broke major news at MIXX by unveiling of their first-ever global branding campaign, featuring the tagline, “It’s You.”

Elisa Steele, CMO, Yahoo!, made a key point that targeting on the web is not about demographics. It’s about interests. With that in mind, Yahoo! aims to become the center of people’s online lives. Tapan Bhat, SVP, Yahoo, joined Steele on stage to demonstrate many of Yahoo!’s new consumer-focused features.

News Released @ MIXX

Elisa Steele, EVP and CMO, Yahoo!, shares new global campaign from the stage

Steele closed by premiering new Yahoo! marketing materials to the sold-out crowd, including stills, video and even going so far to say the famous Yahoo! yodel will now be democratized as the audience was treated to remixes of the famous audio tagline. Yahoo!’s President & CEO, Carol Bartz, made a surprise appearance at the close to reinforce Yahoo!’s importance in the industry and their commitment to success.

Next, Randall Rothenberg, President & CEO, IAB, sat down with Bob Greenberg and Nick Law from R/GA for a candid discussion about the state of the advertising agency, including how the “traditional digital agency” is evolving. The distinction between platform-based and campaign-based work is a driving force behind the new agency model and the new focus on creativity is playing a major role in the transformation. The new model has unique steps: decide what to make, curate a team to do it, and add campaign storytellers to make it all happen. Different sensibilities and leaders rise from collaboration from within the team, rather than traditional model where a single creative directors would call the shots. With regards to talent in the industry, Law noted that the best and brightest like working as part of a team. What does he think keeps attracting top talent to R/GA? It’s the agency’s dance between art and science and their ability as a company to change and evolve into what’s needed.

Steve Wadsworth, President, Disney Interactive Media Group, and George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN & ABC Sports, Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, then took the stage to answer questions about compelling content in a multi-platform, multi-screen universe. Bodenheimer expressed how even though ESPN is a television network, they stopped viewing themselves as a television company over 10 years ago—opting to purchase media rights over television rights for content. Their mission is to serve fans wherever they wish to be served. Their focus is to produce high quality content that the consumer cannot find anywhere else as advertisers pay for quality. Delivery the right experience to the right audience and brands will want to be part of it. As for where and when that experience happens—the only thing that matters is putting it on the screen that it most convenient to them at the time they want to view it.

What started as color TV is now just TV. What started as a cell phone is now just a phone. Will what started as digital advertising become just advertising? Yes, says Nikesh Arora,President, Global Sales Operations & Business Development, Google.Echoing Chris Anderson’s remarks from earlier in the day about the emerging opportunities in local advertising—Arora stressed that the new generation of media will be created by consumers, resulting in thoroughly engaging content that’s already been tested on with a large sample, the recipients themselves. Advertising will fully transform into information.

The last session of the day was the standing room only as Ashton Kutcher, Co-Founder, Katalyst Media, best known for his work in TV and film, sat down with Rothenberg to shed light on his newest venture--the “studio for social media.”  Specializing in helping brands develop their unique stories inside the social web, Katalyst builds bottom-up strategies, with collaboration from consumers and brand marketers to help build advocacy online. Unique, and sometimes humorous—with a little bit of “thrash”—this short-burst entertainment is considered the new media of the web. What’s the next biggest buzz in the industry? Kutcher’s not talking. If you want to know what he thinks—he suggests you hire Katalyst.

And with that the 2009 MIXX Conference came to a close. With so much insight and learned in just two short days, Rothenberg described the MIXX experience as drinking from a fire hose. From packed general sessions to deep-dive learning tracks to intensive workshops to high-level networking, few attendees would disagree.