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    Advertising Week Today, Day Three: Getting real about NFTs, cause marketing and Seymour Roas

    Advertising Week New York is back—today is the third of four days—and so is our Advertising Week Today pop-up newsletter. Reading this online and want it delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up here. (By subscribing, you’ll get occasional pop-up newsletters for various industry events throughout the year, including Cannes Lions, SXSW and CES.)

    Applications now open for the authenticity competition

    Ad Age’s Jade Yan is on the ground at AWNY and has a few thoughts about … keeping it real:

    You’d be forgiven for thinking there was some kind of contest around who can mention “authenticity” the most during Advertising Week.

    It was certainly thrown around enough during a Wednesday afternoon panel titled “Empowering the Next Generation Through Sport Culture”—although, thankfully, panelists did offer some specifics about what they consider to be “authentic” in sports marketing.

    The panel’s consensus was that brands can work with athletes not just through the lens of sports but via other athlete-specific activities such as gaming or personal style. The challenge, said Gatorade Chief Marketing Officer Kalen Thornton, is “how do you stay in front of” trends in those spaces, “rather than just following trends.” He added that “if you don’t have an authentic place to enter that discussion,” it’s probably not the right fit. 

    The NBA Tunnel Walk is an example of the intersection between sports and fashion, said David Creech, co-founder of marketing and branding company Adopt. Athletes show off what they’re wearing before walking into an arena’s changing room, often turning up in publications such as GQ.

    (Flashback: “The NBA Tunnel Walk Reaches Its Fashion Event Horizon,” from, yes, GQ.)

    Performance marketing

    Spotted at AWNY: “Seymour Roas,” chief performance officer, MNTN. Apparently, we are all Seymour Roas—or can be, if we don a badge-shaped Advertising Week ad from ad tech company MNTN.

    (ROAS is, of course, return on ad spend—and who wouldn’t want to, uh, seymour of that?)

    Attention marketers: NFTs aren’t just art

    Asa Hiken, Ad Age’s resident expert on all things Web3, reports on an AWNY session on the intersection of NFTs and marketing:

    The CEO of OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, wants marketers to know that NFTs are more than digital art.

    Speaking in a session titled “NFTs and the Future of Brand IP” with Doodles CEO Julian Holguin, OpenSea’s Devin Finzer reminded the audience that although digital art has been getting most of the attention in the NFT space, NFTs with utility baked inside are more useful. From video game NFTs that offer real value in the context of gameplay, to event tickets that function more seamlessly than physical ones, these tokens bring more to owners than merely their value in crypto.

    “There’s this whole spectrum of NFTs that I think, personally, are very underappreciated by the mainstream press,” Finzer said.

    (Of course, we at Ad Age pride ourselves on covering the full range of NFT use cases, from first-party data collection to TV fandom to real-world credentials in the form of soulbound tokens. Finzer obviously just forgot to mention us as an exception.)

    On holding your CFO’s hand (metaphorically speaking)

    Ad Age’s Jade Yan reports on what happens when an alcoholic beverage giant finds purpose:

    In a panel titled “How Sustainability Efforts are Taking on Greater Importance for Beverage Alcohol,” Diageo North America Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Ed Pilkington spoke about how the company tries to keep sustainability and other social initiatives uniform across its brands. 

    His advice: “Pick your area”—a specific social issue—for each brand. For example, Diageo’s vodka brand Smirnoff has focused on LGBTQIA+ issues, while whiskey brand Crown Royal’s “Water Break” campaign urges consumers to moderate their drinking.

    These efforts require everyone to be on the same page, said Pilkington. At Diageo, the marketing team helps foster the understanding that although some efforts—such as building a carbon-neutral facility—might hurt margins at first, there are long-term financial benefits as well.

    “You have to hold hands—metaphorically—together with your CFO” and leaders across divisions, Pilkington said.

    AAPI women want more from marketers

    Ad Age’s Gillian Follett reports on how marketers are overlooking AAPI women:

    Nearly three in four Asian American and Pacific Islander women are dissatisfied with media portrayals of the AAPI community. That statistic comes from a survey of 1,600 AAPI women conducted by SeeHer, an initiative from the Association of National Advertisers focusing on improving women’s representation in marketing and media, in partnership with the AAPI leadership network Gold House.

    During an AWNY panel discussion titled “The Importance of Accurate Asian and Pacific Islander Female Representation,” SeeHer president Jeannine Shao Collins previewed the upcoming release of a new #WriteHerRight guide from the organization—this one focused on how to authentically and accurately portray AAPI women from a broad spectrum of Asian cultures and ethnicities, rather than treating them as a monolith. 

    Panelists also included author and TV host Padma Lakshmi; Eva Chen, director of fashion partnerships at Instagram; and model and transgender rights activist Geena Rocero. The panel consensus was that, despite the collective $1.3 trillion of spending power held by the AAPI community in the U.S., marketers tend to fall short in specifically targeting AAPI consumers even when launching “multicultural” marketing initiatives.

    Marketers need to be producing more content aimed directly at AAPI consumers, the panelists agreed. “And it should not just be around Lunar New Year,” Chen emphasized.

    Looking ahead

    A few panels to look forward to Thursday—the last day of Advertising Week New York:

    “State of the Industry: The Continued Rise and Impact of Streaming,” sponsored by Paramount.

    “Marketing in the Metaverse,” moderated by Ad Age’s Asa Hiken.

    “Supply Path Optimization: Solving the Programmatic Supply Chain of the Future,” presented by Ad Age.

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