Today was the fourth and final day of Advertising Week New York—and so this is the final edition of our Advertising Week Today pop-up newsletter.
Celebrity sighting of the day—hell, make that the week
Geoffrey the Giraffe, the Toys “R” Us mascot, posed for Ad Age’s Parker Herren today at AWNY HQ, where he was taking a victory lap. Not only is Geoffrey experiencing a revival thanks to the opening of Toys “R” Us shops in 400 Macy’s across the U.S., but he was just honored with a spot on Advertising Week’s Madison Avenue Walk of Fame—an eight-block stretch of the iconic thoroughfare located between 42nd and 50th streets.
Enter the multiverse, not the metaverse
Ad Age’s Erika Wheless reports on an AWNY panel exploring the gaming creator economy:
Metaverse is an unavoidable buzzword in the industry, but a better term for the space right now is multiverse, according to Tommy Huthansel, VP, director partnerships and Dentsu Gaming, Dentsu International.
And no, he doesn’t mean in the Dr. Strange sense.
“The metaverse is the experience layer over the internet,” Huthansel explained during an AWNY panel titled “Gaming’s Creator Economy: Marketers’ Gateway to the Metaverse.” “But right now it’s different multiverses. You have Roblox and Minecraft, Decentraland and Sandbox, Meta’s Horizons. These are all part of it. But what will truly define the metaverse is interoperability, where you can take an object from one game into others, similar to the movie ‘Wreck-It Ralph.’”
Another panelist, Minecraft content creator and YouTuber Jerome Aceti, agreed. “I imagine a virtual passport connecting everything, where maybe you take your favorite shirt or sword as a gaming NFT that follows you where you play,” he said.
Aceti also encouraged brands to think of certain Web2 games as a stepping stone to Web3: “I actually think the tech behind AR is a more realistic step—like what you see with Pokémon Go. There are plenty of people who don’t have money for a VR headset or the graphics card to support it, but many of us do have a phone, and so I think we’ll see more metaverse stuff emerge there.”
Behind Chevy’s ‘Sopranos’ Super Bowl ad
Ad Age’s Maia Vines reports on a conversation about one of this year’s buzziest Big Game ads:
In an AWNY panel titled “Campaigns Breaking Through Culture,” Steven Majoros, U.S. VP, Chevrolet Marketing, General Motors, offered some insight into why Chevy produced a Super Bowl 2022 commercial drawing upon HBO’s “The Sopranos.”
The ad, which put the spotlight on Chevy’s new Silverado EV, was about “taking a very disruptive product and doing a very disruptive thing to it—and we wanted a disruptive way to tell America about that,” Majoros said. (Is “disruptive” the new “authentic?”)
Fellow panelist Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played Tony Soprano’s daughter Meadow in “The Sopranos” and was in the driver’s seat in the spot, said that the ad leveraged nostalgia for the show and provided fans with some closure by showing where the characters could be now. And she added that Tony Soprano’s signature vehicle—a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban—was itself a beloved “character” in the eyes of many “Sopranos” fans.
Converse’s CMO on going (nearly) all digital
Ad Age’s Brian Bonilla reports on Converse meeting its customers where they are:
During an AWNY panel titled “New Frontiers of Creativity,” Converse Chief Marketing Officer Sejal Shah Miller explained why the Nike-owned brand’s current “Create Now. Create Next” campaign is “100% digital,” other than OOH ads.
“They’re not watching linear TV,” Miller said of Converse’s consumers. So the campaign deploys “Hulu streaming … SoundCloud, Spotify gaming platforms—this is where these individuals are spending their time, and that’s where they would expect to see Converse. Not on linear TV.”
Also, Miller added, “Frankly, social and digital is more measured for us because I can actually get a sense of how engaged they are with this content. Are they sharing it? Are they talking about it? Are they commenting? Are they saving it? And that’s really a true measurement of any piece of creative, because we can get eyeballs—but we need them to engage with the content.”
Not so FAST—free streaming has a brand-safety problem
Ad Age’s Jack Neff reports on an issue for streaming advertisers few are talking about:
Free ad-supported TV has spawned one of the hottest acronyms (FAST) in media. But despite its advantages, FAST has a brand-safety problem that gets little attention compared to digital and social media advertising.
Brand safety is actually the biggest impediment to more brand investment in FAST, said Kelly Metz, managing director for advanced TV at Omnicom Media Group, in AWNY panel titled “A FAST Growing Opportunity for Marketers.”
“The beauty of traditional linear television was we knew where we were running,” she said. “Therefore, it was a very trusted, brand-safe environment.”
FAST may offer advertising against quality content, but it’s not necessarily brand-safe, she said. “This is a real challenge. We do need that same level of transparency and trust [as in linear] and we’re not getting it in the way ads are being sold and packaged. There are rules in play for a lot of our advertisers—[about how] they shouldn’t be in certain places. And if we can’t enable that same experience in the streaming world, it’s a miss for our industry, and you will see real problems.”
Sweets and NFTs
Ad Age’s Brian Bonilla on the week’s sweetest AWNY activation:
Canadian agency network Plus Company seems to have invested heavily in its presence at Advertising Week New York. Throughout the venue, there were Plus Company ads with a QR code that you could scan to score an NFT that was meant to be a networking tool.
Those looking for a more tangible giveaway could visit the Plus Company Candy Bar, which was stocked with everything from blue raspberry sour gummy rings to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, with each treat representing a different agency in the network.