Ad:Tech Sydney – Day 1


Ben Shepherd writes: Adtech Day 1 is finished and most of the crowd are probably exhausted after a whole day of information overload. Lots to take in across a whole lot of different areas.

Soooo … was it any good?

Lets start with the exhibitors. Not a bad turnout considering “the economy”. Myspace/FIM won a few fans with free booze and Flossie were giving away condoms, chocolate and fairy floss. DGMs ping pong table started strong but seemed to fade into the day. Traffic was strong … good idea for Adtech to make people walk through the exhibition to get to the sessions … something that wasn’t done in San Francisco and I think it adds some value to the exhibitors.

Sessions … I made it to 4 today. First one was Nick Brien who is CEO from Mediabrands. It was okay … very macro consumer trends stuff. Weirdly didn’t touch on the challenges to agencies as a result of the new media world and also the economy … I did expect that, not unreasonably, from an AGENCY keynote. His point that opportunity presents itself from crisis is pretty apt. I will probably get fired for this, but much more enjoyable than Sir Martin Sorrell at DMS2007 despite how macro it was.

I went to the Digital Strategy session in the morning as well … didn’t really think it touched at all on strategy however. Felt it was weird the Diageo person nor the Amnesia person could tell the audience what was spent on the campaign or the KPIs. I have often mused that the word ‘digital strategy’ is almost without a definition and I felt from this presentation almost everyone feels it means something different. I don’t think this was a strategy panel … or I have no idea what digital strategy is. Both are entirely possible. 

The Cash for Comment session in the afternoon was good. The fake Julian Cole was funny … some good examples in there about the issue. Jenny Williams made a very valid point about regulation. Felt this panel needed more heads on it … it’s tough for 2 people to go back and forth for an hour without repeating themselves. I was skeptical about this one pre-event but I enjoyed it.

The Twitter session was very packed and generally very solid – audience enjoyed it and of all the panels today I think it will be the one people remember.

The things it would have been interesting to hear about are the impact of Twitter in the evolution of search (ie realtime) and the local scale and takeup of the platform and the issue of resource versus reward. Mike from Telstra was great … his approach is fantastic and it was refreshing to hear such honesty. Telstra have 3 employees as part of their BigPondTeam … maybe it’s the cynic in me, or the realist … but I wondered how they can justify the resource when they only have 500 odd followers (I have 260 followers and no FTE’s working on my account) … especially in this climate … seems like an expensive CRM nice to have. Spun correctly it makes for a nice story but yet to see any great example of Twitter ROI in a CRM sense that is backed with quanitified data and some of the examples raised today made for good anecdotes but not much more. We talk about ROI, accountability, measurement etc across digital constantly but we never apply this sort of analysis to next big things. 

I thought Jye was a really good engaging moderator and  Laurel Papworth was very polished speaker and honest which made you want to listen to her. It’s a horrible cliche but a true one … people who are passionate about things are generally people you want to hear and support.

The Twitter usage of the event has been big and a good way to get up to speed with panels you have missed or find more info. Follow the general stream here –

Very positive to see no big media bashing and no sales pitches. Also good to see a whole heap of people I haven’t seen for ages. The attendance is good – most sessions I attended had solid numbers which is a great result.

A gripe is that sometimes I felt some questions from the audience weren’t being addressed. This is frustrating … please panelists answer questions that are asked … no one likes being spoken to like a politician. Don’t answer a question with a cliche.

See everyone tomorrow!

btw – the pic above is of my dog playing with his multi coloured ball last night. My fiancee sent it to me and I wanted to post it somewhere.


10 responses to “Ad:Tech Sydney – Day 1

  1. Pingback: MySpace launches demographic targeting capabilities at Ad:tech Sydney 2009 | Just Another 24 Hours

  2. your thoughts on ‘digital strategy’ are valid…

    I guess the thing that I was trying to do was explore the two very different brands I had on the panel. One had the job of outlining a digital strategy for a member owned organisation, NRMA. The other primarily marketing to their target market through their behaviours within digital and other touchpoints.

    They are both digital strategies – but with very different business objectives and desired outcomes.

    What was missing for you? The actual method of creating that strategy?

    On Diageo, not sharing the $’s (but I think Kate Tee then did via Twitter). Its not unusual for a brand not to share the cost of a campaign.

    Finally, here’s wikipedia’s view on digital strategy – might give more clarity

    See you tomorrow for more Ad:tech shenanigans…

  3. talkingdigital

    Hey Ben … i am aware and very appreciative of the restrictions faced when doing a panel like this … there will be people like me who want granular detail on a strategy but then others who want broader strokes. it’s impossible to keep everyone happy. I guess it comes down to the audience and what they’re after.

    I guess with Diageo there wasn’t a whole lot of depth into how they got to where they got to – what insights, issues, problems … how digital and strategy was used to overcome these. NRMA similar story … some broad audience challenges explained but nothing too deep as to how they used specific things to achieve certain objectives … how it’s measured, optimised, evolved etc. Again, realise within a 50 min session this is difficult to cover and my expectations are unrealistic 🙂

    Re disclosure of budgets. Understand some want to keep that close to their chest … if they didn’t feel comfortable saying it in front of the audience it’s easy to just say that. It’s natural for people to want a ballpark $$$ value especially if results are being hailed/demonstrated as strong … people want an investment figure to relate that back to.

  4. Ben, just got a call from Sir Martin…

    … he says “Don’t bother coming in tomorrow”

  5. Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the positive feedback. The session was a lot of fun to do.

    I just wanted to clarify the three team members also work on our Second Life customer service kiosk, our email support system and our live chat support.

    Twitter is simply one of many responsibilities this team has.


    Mike Hickinbotham
    Social Media Senior Advisor

  6. Pingback: Round-up from the Adtech conference | mUmBRELLA

  7. Pingback: A Digital Perspective » ad:tech 2009: Twitter

  8. Thanks Ben Shepardacus from Maximus 😛 Jye was awesome wasn’t he? Totally made the session engaging.
    Still want to know your four questions. Feel personally responsible for getting you answers now 😦

  9. I agree with Ben on the digital strategy presentation. I thought the Smirnoff example was a great campaign and this wasn’t expressed well enough. I also wonder how/what the strategy was if this happened ‘by accident’. It would have been good to see a case study of a great digital campaign from start to finish including insights, campaign platform, ideas, implementation and review/results.

  10. Hi Ben,

    Sorry you didn’t get the detail you wanted from my session. With ‘digital strategy’ covering so much it’s hard to cover it in 50mins, let alone in a panel style discussion.

    Our conscious approach to the panel was to give an opinion and stir some debate rather than offer a ‘how to’ on strategy or present our own case studies per se.

    From my POV, too many panels at Adtech were merely presentations of their company & case studies. I can find this stuff on the web. I wanted to know what interesting people in the industry thought rather than just the facts.

    However each to their own and please drop me a line and I will be sure to send you an overview of the Smirnoff Secret Party campaign. Hopefully that will fill in the gaps.



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