IAB Live MIXX Blog, Day 2

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9:00 a.m.

Good morning and welcome back to the IAB MIXX Conference! Once again, my name is Chris, Marketing Manager for the IAB. Given the conference is sold out, this is an opportunity for those who couldnt make it can get a peek of MIXX from my perspective, that of a first-time attendee. The room is jam packed and theres a huge buzz as we await our second keynote — Charlie Rose performing a special interview of renowned author Seth Godin. Stay tuned for more updates and photos throughout the day. Plus don’t forget to tune into www.RandallRothenberg.com for more special commentary from IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg.

9:15 a.m.

Jim Spanfeller, Forbes.com CEO and IAB Board Chairman introduces Charlie Rose and Seth Godin.

10:00 a.m.

Charlie Rose just finished interviewing Seth Godin and all I have to say is WOW! This interview was just fascinating &mdash overflowing with ideas and perspectives that brought complex ideas into a simple, enlightening and easy to digest dialog. I guess that’s why Charlie and Seth are so good at what they do. Some of the concepts they touched on include:

  • 2007 is the year of change and acceptance. We’re no longer arguing old media vs. new media. Nobody’s debating whether people use email, the web, etc.
  • The new companies are the connectors; they connect people to people, people to ideas, people to products.
  • Advertisers and media companies can no longer hold the consumer hostage. People only see the ads they want to see.
  • When it comes to marketing, you have to count on the public to talk about your ideas. This is how ideas spread in today’s world. You can’t beat people over the head with advertising alone. Everyone wants something to talk about.

Seth and Charlie had the audience mesmerized.

Nobody picks a brain better than Charlie Rose.

Seth Godin did not disappoint.

I could go on all day but its time for our next panel. More updates to come!

11:17 a.m.

We’re back! Sorry for the technical difficulties everyone.

11:20 a.m.

Our first panel of the day was quite interesting. Onstage were representatives of the four key companies involved in the now legendary Burger King Xbox 360 King Games campaign. The goal of the team was to link great entertainment with great tasting food. Rather than focus on a weak, highly branded game, the idea was to develop a great game that brought value and fun to Burger King customers. They wanted users to interact with the brand without being shouted at by the brand. The end result was a huge success with over 3 million games sold in a five week period at a $3.99 price point. Plus, when you compare the brand awareness and exposure of someone playing a game for hours vs. a 30 second TV spot, it’s really no comparison at all.

Be back with more later. I’m suddenly craving a Whopper and onion rings!

Brian Geis of Burger King reminds us that it’s all about great tasting food.

Chris Di Cesare of Microsoft was happy to receive props from Bill Gates on this campaign’s success.

Rob Reilly of Crispin Porter + Bogusky felt that Burger King presented a unique opportunity for this type of experimentation.

Sion Lenton from Blitz Games was excited about the amount of focus put into making a great game.

12:30 p.m.

We just finished our second panel of the day — A View from the Front Lines: Best Practices and Ground Breaking Innovations. The panel featured the IAB’s own Randall Rothenberg returning to his journalist roots as he led four esteemed MIXX Awards judges in an engaging dialog about the forefront of interactive marketing.

What are the biggest game changers? What more can we get out of digital video? How do you drive new ideas and practices home to your teams? Where does the interactive marketing money come from? Mr. Rothenberg covered it all.

Randall Rothenberg directs our esteemed panel.

Kathleen Olvany-Riordan of Kraft foods believes the winners are marketers and agencies who provide an emotional benefit, not just rational. The losers are those just doing cool stuff for cool stuff.

Brad Santeler of Kimberly-Clark expresses that people want to have conversations about all parts of their lives and it’s up to marketers to stimulate and join those conversations.

Jenny Howell from Honda believes a huge challenge is convincing traditional marketers to let go of some budget so interactive is no longer held back.

David Roman of Hewlett-Packard expresses that you must be prepared to talk about everything in the company, both good and bad.

It’s now lunch and workshop time so I’m signing off for a while to visit the Exhibit Hall again. Tune in later for more updates once the general session reconvenes.

4:00 p.m.

Our first afternoon panel took the 2007 MIXX Conference in a different direction. With an election year almost upon us, there is more focus than ever on the potential impact of interactive in the political world. Assembled onstage were Rob Shepardson of SS+K, currently working on the Obama campaign, Richard Kosinski, VP of Political Advertising for Yahoo!, Arianna Huffington from The Huffington post and moderator Jacob Weisberg, editor of Slate.

Being a huge fan of Arianna Huffington, this was a personal show highlight for me. Jacob Weisberg spent no time cutting right to the chase, asking why candidates don’t allocate more funds towards the interactive medium. Each panelist had a different perspective.

Richard Kosinski was fast to point out that political candidates are about seven years behind marketers in taking advantage of online channels. Right now most in the political world are in the try and learn phase. Free tools are being taken full advantage of, but other tools such as behavioral targeting are just starting to receive small budget allocations for testing purposes.

Rob Shepardson had a different point of view, feeling online still has not been proven to carry through to the final phase of the purchase funnel in the political process, actually leaving the computer and casting a vote. He feels interactive is a viable medium for fundraising but outside of that, most online tools are simply converted offline tools instead of true innovation.

Arianna felt very strongly that this is the year where online will decide the presidency but freely admitted that there are issues holding online back. She raised the point that political consultants are preventing a move from traditional media to interactive media as they prefer what they are familiar with. In addition, part of what hurts online is the candidate’s need for control and online is very difficult to control. The frontrunner’s campaign is not the way of the internet because you don’t want to take risks when you are winning.

Overall, this was a great session that left a huge buzz in the room. It will definitely be interesting to see just how huge a factor interactive becomes in the 2008 election.

Jacob Weisberg asks why candidates don’t advertising like consumer products.

Rob Shepardson believes online has been a great tool for fundraising in the Obama campaign.

Richard Kosinski talks about how political candidates are slowly catching up to savvy marketers.

Arianna gets a laugh from the crowd by pointing out how most political ads on TV would fit in perfect in the 1950’s.

I couldn’t resist posting the shot. That’s David Doty, SVP of Marketing and Thought Leadership for the IAB with Arianna and me. Arianna asked me for a photo and I couldn’t say no ;>)

4:30 p.m.

Our last panel was a TV lover’s dream. We had representatives from TiVO, Sling Media and Joost onstage with Matthew Carr of Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions and Steven Levy from Newsweek. The panel’s focus was on new business models and how advertising fits in.

Steven Levy asks if we are entering an era where people won’t want to fast forward through advertising.

Matthew Carr of Microsoft believes we are going to reach a point where consumers understand that if they provide more personal data in a constructive way it will benefit them.

Todd Juenger of TiVo talks about the measurement capabilities of new business models.

David Clark of Joost conveys how consumers still want to hear from marketers, just on their own terms.

Jason Hirshhorn of Sling Media questions whether profiling could limit what you are exposed to by marketers.

5:45 p.m.

Our last session of the 2007 MIXX Conference focused on the future. IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg led four industry heavyweights in casual discussion about the future of the interactive world. They talked about whether the line between agency and publisher is blurring, who is going to win the battle for consumer insights and whether audience measurement is a transitory issue.

Randall Rothenberg expressed to the panel how interactive has become the fulcrum of which all marketing efforts are balanced.

Mark Read, CEO of WPP Digital feels the future is all about technology and data.

Jonathan Nelson, Founder and Chairman of Organic, Inc. believes online is truly the holy grail and soon we’ll be able to fully measure browsers converted to buyers.

Tim Armstrong President, Advertising and Commerce, North America, and Vice President, Google, Inc. conveys that the most important thing we can do as an industry is stay in line with consumer behavior.

Jim Spanfeller President and CEO, Forbes.com states that the end of the day it’s still a very fundamental business. People consumer a service such as reading a Web site and the publishers share their viewing with advertisers.

Ok everybody. That’s all for the 2007 MIXX Blog. I’m off to the cocktail reception and then the 2007 MIXX Awards at Gotham Hall. Tune in tomorrow to IAB.net for a full wrap up of MIXX 2007 include the gallery of awards winners.

And that’s the way it was…

photos by Doug Goodman and Sean Sime