How Media is evolving

Last week, the internet blew up when fashion house Balenciaga and Epic Games’ Fortnite launched a 3D OOH experience in London, New York and Tokyo

By Elliot Leavy

The creative was part of a convergence of several current trends — from fashion and gaming’s ever closer union to the ever-evident importance of social in OOH.

Not only that, the work undoubtedly raised eyebrows due to the fact it's leveraging on technological advances.

Media space has undergone an impressive amount of innovation over the past years. Together with improved access to data and sensor technology, the increasing digitisation of media has led to brands being able to offer more contextual, dynamic and creative campaigns.

Whether it be revitalising of Stockholm’s underground music scene or the increasing rise of weather-dependent ads, media is in many ways evolving.

With that in mind, we asked some experts about what else they were excited about in media innovation today.

Simeon Adams, creative partner, Goodstuff

It’s easy to be cynical about media innovation. In an industry full of cynicism, it’s particularly easy to be cynical about high end fashion brands lavishing big budgets on creative exploration with game developers. It’s easy to question the investment of time, effort or money vs the reach, results or reward (and be wrong).

But I think it’s bloody marvellous. I love the scale of Gucci’s virtual world in Roblox, the humour in Balenciaga’s Fortnite partnership, and the ambition behind Burberry’s B Bounce game, Honor of Kings skins and broader explorations in digital retail tech.

Fashion brands should be the avant garde. Game developers should be the new breed of media owners. And, even if you don’t ‘get’ gaming, brands should be experimenting with personalisation, identity, self-expression, direct retail, creative technology, and interaction within media channels. It’s laying the foundations or securing the future of those brands.

I’m excited to see this develop beyond gaming. Ocean’s DeepScreen tech was used to great effect by Doggo. Next up, let’s see similar strides in audio, AV and digital display. This is where media agencies, like the fashion houses, should be blazing a trail.

I’d rather be part of something experimental and outlandish as a Balenciaga high-vis jacket, than some ‘inventive’ data-matching or sequential digital re-targeting campaign.

Celine Saturnino, chief operating officer, Total Media

We are definitely experiencing a period of heightened innovation in market. Changing consuming behaviour as a result of COVID has helped to fuel new products and tech to media. Not only has COVID seen behaviour change but it has also changed the shape of investment for many brands – forcing them to seek out different and alternative opportunities.

There are lots of examples of innovation being delivered across the market which range from more creative use of longstanding media placements such as the explosive billboards for Marmite Dynamite earlier this year through to tapping into the growth of audio enabled opportunities in voice commerce through companies such as SayItNow. In 2021 we see technology as a huge enabler for innovation in the market - whether that is through platforms such as Twitch where gamers can experience characters jumping out of their screens; the use of AR lenses in Snapchat to engage younger audiences in topical issues or the digitisation of all media leading to many more data driven, personalised and attention-grabbing advertising.

Lots of examples of innovation are being driven through the way people experience content and experience the product. More and more we are seeing brands working in collaboration with media partners to deliver unique experiences integrated into the media platform whether that is radio stations created for brands or virtual car showrooms on Amazon. We fully expect this trend of unique, immersive experiences to continue to deliver new and creative routes to market.

All in all there is lots to be excited about and lots to be excited for!

Lindsey Jordan, head of media creativity and joint head of systems strategy, MediaCom UK

Media innovation for me is about the exciting intersection of media and message.  That might be nothing new, but what’s different nowadays is the democratisation of that message. Gone are the days when creativity was reserved for the hallowed few. The internet, data and the algorithm have unlocked a new type of atomised creativity. 

This is a creativity where ShantyTok got into the Top 40 at the start of the year, where influencer marketing is expected to reach over $14bn by the end of the year, and where you can have 15,000 versions of a single message served in real time. This is a creativity where people connect with brands through interacting with their ideas.  A creativity where we have to let go of some creative control.

Social media has dramatically changed how audiences communicate with people, with celebrities, and with brands. And it’s also changed how people with aspirations to be creative can now reach thousands, if not millions of people from their bedroom. TikTok has exploded this trend, with 21m users in the UK, who spend on average 85 mins a day in the app, generating 117bn video views a month. And you can create for any kind of subculture that’s right for you, whether that’s MumsofTikTok, WitchTok, CottageCore, FitTok or DarkAcademia.

A great example of this, is a campaign we just launched for ellesse for their new Autumn/Winter line. We partnered with TikTok to create the first-ever shoppable live streamed concert on the platform with Swedish pop megastar Zara Larsson. Zara sported various looks from the new collection whilst performing her biggest hits, meanwhile, TikTok users could purchase the collection live, dropping the items straight into their online basket. To support this, we also launched the BeBold hashtag challenge, a dance craze featuring TikTok creators sporting ellesse looks, that has already garnered 1.3 billion views. 

Media innovation is unlocking the power of media and message coming together as one, by letting go and stepping into a new world of democratised creativity.

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