Marketers must “fight clutter and multi-tasking with content”

Some 300 business and marketing executives have attended the first annual Media Innovations Forum by Omnicom Media Group, held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The forum aimed to inspire delegates to embrace content through different media platforms with a detailed look at how it can elevate a brand’s talk and produce a high level of consumer engagement, using award-winning case studies.

C Squared CEO Charlie Crowe, who was looking at the most effective and exciting campaigns of the last year, identified bravery, sustainability and consumer benefit as some of the key characteristics present in the best work.

And, according to speakers, even for events such as the FIFA World Cup, people are now focusing more on new technologies to follow the action. The proportion of people checking the matches by mobile phone jumped from 8 percent to 52 percent between 2002 and 2006, while the reliance on TV dropped over that period.

Dusan Hamlin, founder and managing director of insidemobile, explained the trend is set to continue. With approximately 2.9 billion people subscribed to mobile service worldwide, not only are the numbers phenomenal but mobiles also allow for an immediate and constant interaction with consumers. Hamlin showed how major brands use mobiles to engage and migrate consumers across platforms, which he called content portability.

Jason Dawes, founding partner of Naked Communications in Amsterdam, stressed that communication is more than just advertising. He proved the importance of thinking outside the box and breaking new ground. Using the example of UK directory enquiry service 118 118, he explained the simple yet effective use of hiring actors to communicate a brand at public events and even in media.

Coast chairman Ron de Pear showcased the clever use of short “programs” rather than advertisements. Talking to programmers rather than advertisers, the twist was in creating emotive programs that were only in association with a brand, bringing content to the fore.

“This has proven to be quite an eye opener for many of us. It’s one thing to talk about content, it’s another to fully appreciate the results such an approach generates,” enthused Elie Khouri, regional managing director of Omnicom Media Group. “Truly, content has come of age, as have our abilities to evaluate its performance, so today a leap of faith is no longer required to sign off such operations. More than inspiration, what we got today was validation of the approach.”

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