Emotion: Is Programmatic Taking The Crucial X Factor Out Of Advertising?

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“Hey, I know you bought that kettle three weeks ago, but I was wondering if you’d like another kettle?”

1 hour later…

“Me again, I nearly lost you on that last website, but here I am again with even more kettles to show you.”

If someone were to make a screenplay about my relationship with programmatic, boring as that would be, it would read a little like the above. Of course, this isn’t the case for all uses of programmatic and that is what this afternoon’s panel have come together to discuss. Chaired by Dora Michail of The Telegraph, the panel features Marco Bertozzi, VP of Sales, Europe at Spotify, Cadi Jones, Commercial Innovation Director at Clear Channel and Ruth Zohrer, Head of Programmatic Marketing at Mindshare. Their task for the afternoon is to convince the audience that programmatic is creatives friends and not the enemy.

Michail opens by asking the panel what each of them thinks is the X-Factor of advertising. Jones gives her opinion that “it’s about feeling something and having an emotional reaction to the brand.” She cites campaigns like This Girl Can and #LikeAGirl, as fantastic examples of heartfelt creative, delivered programmatically to the right people that not only made them feel but react to the topic. The rest of the panel agree.

If programmatic is helping create these highly awarded and well-received campaigns then why is it we in the industry are put off by it? Zohrer believes that “we’ve fallen in love with the tools and forgotten about the people at the end of it. We need to talk more, I don’t think we’ve spoken a language that allows other people to be involved in programmatic.” She may very well be on to something, programmatic has been banding around as a buzzword for years, but do we really know the extent of its ability. After all isn’t programmatic just data and as Jones puts it, “show me a brand marketer who isn’t interested in data.”

The emotional aspect of advertising has been a hot topic throughout this week’s timetable. If we believe that people feel first and think second, then surely adverts based solely or algorithms don’t have the capacity to pull at our heart strings. Bertozzi draws upon his experience at Spotify to show how data can be very aware of our emotions and market to us accordingly. “If people are creating a playlist for showering that tells us a lot about not just what they are doing, but the mood they are in and how they are feeling.” He goes on to explain how marrying this kind of data with creative is how great adverts are made.

Okay, so we’re all happy that programmatic in its most rudimental form is data being used well, what about creative? “We still have to acknowledge the skills of the craft. If the creative isn’t amazing it doesn’t matter how good your targeting is.” Jones is an advocate for moving programmatic out from behind the cover of jargon and tech and bringing together it’s capabilities to make the work of creatives more effective than ever.

From today’s discussion, it’s clear that when used correctly programmatic is helping creative, not hindering it. However, we need to be talking about it more and not in a disengaging, jargon-filled and overcomplicated way, but for what it is. Data and insight that shows the reality of people.

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