Day 2 Conference Highlights

MIXX Conference & Expo 2012

Videos from the stage courtesy of


IAB MIXX Conference & Expo Continues...

The second day of the 2012 MIXX Conference & Expo kicked off with Peter Naylor, EVP Digital Media Advertising, NBCUniversal, and Chairman, IAB Board of Directors, welcoming back a full room of marketers, agency executives and creatives, publishers, and technologists for another day of high value insights. 

Naylor opened with an issue at the very foundation of all digital media deals done today—marketer confidence in the connections they make with consumers. Today trillions of display ads are served, yet many of them are never seen, he said. The solution, and that which will inspire a renaissance in digital advertising, is the viewable impression. It is a key component of the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative, dedicated to developing brand-building digital metrics and cross-platform measurement solutions. The effort is led not just by the IAB, but also by the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. “The people with the money, they’re embracing it. So the people who want the money have to lean in to the change,” he said. View the presentation here.

Publishers and marketers must adapt to thrive. But compelling content is timeless—and priceless. Alfredo Gangotena, Chief Marketing Officer, MasterCard Worldwide, unveiled an intimate look at the evolution of the “Priceless” campaign, which has survived 15 years and the advent of digital media. It has made an impact in 112 countries through 53 languages. “The technology is fine. The speed is fine. The impressions are very important.  The ROI is important, but the essence is and will remain the content. If you do not have a very powerful idea…those eyes will never stop on your advertisement.” View the presentation here.

Joel Lunenfeld, Vice President, Global Brand Strategy, Twitter, asked, “What has technology done for us? It’s removing barriers…We think about the hashtag as today’s modern campfire.” Advertising used to be about disruption, but now it’s about participating and building off the present moment of conversation. “The conversation is the canvas,” he said. Brands, celebrities, and consumers are interacting in ways never before possible, and it’s resulting in new campaigns and real life experiences.

Next, the theme of the event exploded to life through an entertaining and engaging look inside Tumblr. Rick Webb, Consultant, Marketing and Revenue, Tumblr, pressed play on a medley of video clips and GIFs produced by searching the term on the blog hosting platform. The audience laughed and gasped watching everything from car crashes and colliding dolphins to an animated explosion in an ad for the movie Looper. “I work at a company that’s built around technology driving creativity,” he said.  The advertising possibilities are integrated into the platform, and the company aspires no less than to enable great, creative advertising to the web.

After a break for refreshments and networking: breaking political news. Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB, announced two just-released IAB studies on Election 2012, showing that there’s been an increase in political ad spending across digital platforms and how microtargeting is playing an increasingly vital role within political campaigning.


This IAB news was a perfect introduction to Cheryl Contee, Co-Founder, Jack & Jill Politics, and Partner, Fission Strategy; Chris Hughes Co-Founder, Facebook, and Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic; Patrick Ruffini, President, Engage, and host Josh Marshall, Editor and Publisher, TalkingPointsMemo, who took to the stage to discuss the influence of digital advertising on this year’s Presidential election. The topics on the political minds mirror those that commercial digital advertisers wrestle with each day. Ruffini said, “Candidates are much more reactive to their base because they’re much more connected than ever before.” Contee said, “We’re seeing both campaigns do behavioral marketing.” A key to using this tool effectively is contextually relevant messages. Hughes said, “Digital advertising has proved itself particularly in search and social for funding and get out the vote efforts, but there’s still a lot of experimentation around persuasion.”

Up next: mobile with Melanie Varley, Chief Strategy Officer, Global, MEC, and Andy Wasef, Head, Mobile and Emerging Platforms, North America, MEC.Mobile operates across the marketing spectrum,” Varley said. Her valuable advice included: Think about mobile as your first screen and integrate your consumer touch points through mobile. “Mobile is a force to be reckoned with, as a force to be central to the way you approach business,” she said. Wasef delved into the sensory engagement or “natural theater” in the way people swipe, tap, and interact with their devices. “Mobile has removed a barrier between a person and the content they’re engaging with,” he said. The only way to be creative is to be mobile, they said. View the presentation here.

MIXX attendees reconvened after an afternoon of workshops and lunch for a presidential-style debate about programmatic buying and brand building moderated by Neal Mohan, Vice President, Display Advertising, Google. On the publisher side, Curt Hecht, Global Chief, Revenue Officer, The Weather Channel Companies, headed off against major marketer Jon Suarez-Davis, Senior Director, Global Digital Strategy, Kellogg Company. Hecht addressed the scarcity challenge. “How do we create scarcity?...Marketing budgets are not growing at the pace of the world of infinite impressions,” he said. Suarez-Davis called for transparency. “It’s not good enough to know you’re getting strong incremental sales if you don’t know what levers to pull,” he said. Hecht echoed that transparency is the best interest of all parties. “We’re all basically trying to achieve the same goals,” he said.

Then came the grand finale. Cell phone cameras drew into the air from a standing-room only crowd to welcome Marc Andreessen, Co-Founder and General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz; Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook; and Charlie Rose, Journalist. Rose asked hard-hitting questions about monetization and user experience, the Facebook IPO, mobile advertising (and mobile phone building), but the tone didn’t waver far from optimism. Both were bullish on mobile. “We want to be on every mobile device on every operating system in everyone’s pocket in the world. For us it’s the horizontal layer,” Sandberg said, negating the rumor that Facebook is building a phone. But phones will be everywhere and central to everyday life. “We’re going to a level of ubiquity that’s never been possible…These are going to be the central devices in our lives,” Andreessen said. Some of the most sobering talk centered around IPOs. “We’re in an era where tech stocks have not traded this low relative to industrial companies in years,” Andreessen said pointing out that we’re not in a bubble. In terms of Facebook specifically, Sandberg said, “It didn’t go as we expected. We were surprised and disappointed.” The secret to success? Rose asked. Sandberg pointed out the importance of consistent innovation. Andreessen said, “the willingness to defer gratification.”

The 2012 MIXX Conference and Expo, the official interactive event of Advertising Week, ended with no shortage of content to chew on over hor d'oeuvres and drinks, and no shortage of people to share it with. While the event may have come to a close, the ideas and insights gained will live on.



IAB News Released at MIXX

Ad-Supported Internet Responsible for 5.1 Million U.S. Jobs, Contributes $530 Billion to U.S. Economy in 2011 Alone, According to IAB Study
Research on IAB Rising Stars Display Ad Units Shows Big Lift Across Core Interactive Metrics
Mobile Screens Have Strong Influence on Male Moviegoers, According to Groundbreaking Research from IAB & InMobi
IAB Expands QAG – ‘Quality Assurance Guidelines’ – to Include All Buyers & Sellers of Digital Media, Delivering Brand Safety Across Digital Transactions
IAB Research Shows Digital Media on the Upswing for Election 2012, Political Strategists Predict Bigger Spends in Future National Elections

IAB MIXX Press Coverage

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