Jane Grenier


Jane Grenier
Vice President, Integrated Strategy,
Condé Nast Media Group

Doing “Good”

Q.
Why is it important to continue to evolve digital advertising? Who benefits?

We as an industry have a responsibility to continue to ensure that digital advertising is the best that it can be. We owe it to the marketers in our community, who rely on digital advertising to reach business objectives, and we owe it to consumers. No one turns on their computer or opens up their cell phone and says, “I just want to look at some great ads.” We owe it to ourselves to continue to evolve so that we can be a more relevant, engaging, entertaining, and informative part of every consumer’s content journey. That will make us more effective and a more welcome part of consumers’ worlds.

Q.
What technologies, strategies, and techniques are emerging? Which are waning?

We are seeing less about social from a tactical perspective, and rather social more as a part of the fabric of what we do as marketing communicators. Social has followed a path that was similar to integration of corporate URLs into all brand advertising. It’s now part of the air that we breathe.

We’re also seeing much more successful cross-platform interactive advertising. For one of the campaigns that was a contender for Best-in-Show, we had a very interesting debate about whether entertainment marketers had an edge in competition based on the fact that their product is an exquisitely produced endless trove of content that can be reused.

Q.
What inspired you the most this year?

The overall caliber of the work. I’ve been an IAB MIXX Awards Judge since 2008, and this year, the mean standard of execution was higher than it’s ever been before. Digital creative has found its sea legs. We are more likely to approach a client objective or challenge from a holistic perspective, starting with a strategy and concept, and then executing tactically. That sounds fundamental, but the lure of the bright and shiny object in the digital world is hard to ignore.

Q.
What does recognizing and honoring brands that did good for the world mean to future of the industry?

The digital world is a global world. While we content producers have a home base, our Condé Nast U.S. magazines are produced and distributed primarily in the U.S., for example, our digital properties are easily accessed around the world. Marketers’ audiences are global whether they are targeting globally or not. Does that mean we have a responsibility to do good in the world through marketing? I don’t think that’s the conclusion. But maybe what our decisions represented was less a moment in time for the digital advertising business and more a moment in time for the human race—in a global perspective—to come together and improve our lots. Certainly acknowledging those marketers who chose to make that bold commitment seemed like the right thing to do this year.

Q.
Based on your experience as an IAB MIXX judge this year, how would you define success? How do we know when something works?

Success is when marketing serves as a product that the consumer can’t get enough of. Easy Way Subtitles, for example, is elegant and simple, and such a transparently brilliant linking of technological capability and core brand promise. For me, it was a light-bulb moment. It was one of those instances where I said, I want that. This links back to last year’s big discussion about product as advertising. The Nike+ Fuelband system is a brilliant marketing campaign, and the core of its brilliance lies in the consumer demand it created. I wanted to pay money to participate in that ecosystem. It’s not often a tool that exists as a brand campaign is desired by a consumer as a product. That’s a fascinating evolution.

“We owe it to ourselves to continue to evolve so that we can be a more relevant, engaging, entertaining, and informative part of every consumer’s content journey.”