Players Name ‘Enjoyment’ And ‘Trust’ As Top Reasons To Spend In Games

While gamers in the US, UK and Germany spend more time on mobile games, they are more likely to spend actual money on consoles, according to findings by Newzoo and ACI Worldwide.

A new whitepaper entitled “What Turns Players Into Payers” presents the habits and spending motivations of 2,051 gamers between the ages of 18-40 that play at least two hours per week on any platform across the US, UK and Germany. Players in these countries account for nearly 30 percent of global games market revenues in 2018.

More than 90 percent of respondents in all three countries play mobile games, making it the most popular segment in this study. Respondents also spend the most time on mobile, with 33 percent of mobile gamers playing for more than six hours a week.

However, gamers proved to enjoy a wide variety of platforms—over 70 percent of gamers play games on mobile, console and PC. In fact, despite spending more time on their phones, Newzoo found that gamers are more likely to spend money on console.

“Mobile gamers have always had access to a huge variety of free gaming content across genres, ranging from casual to midcore,” Newzoo senior market analyst Tom Wijman told AListDaily. “Despite the fact that a relatively small share of mobile gamers pay for games, there is a small group of them who pay significant amounts, helping drive up the revenue. Console gamers on the other hand, have access to less free content and have historically always paid a premium price tag for their games. Although this will change as more and more free-to-play (F2P) console titles are being released, the spending culture on the two platforms is very different.”

When asked why they are inclined to spend, 39 percent of gamers cite enjoyment as their main reason. Redeeming a gift card or treating themselves tied in second place at 27 percent. The least popular reason for breaking out the wallet was “frustration” at just nine percent—showing that players aren’t just paying out of necessity.

Among gamers, spending preferences vary by age and platform. For example, players aged 30-40 that spend at least $5 per month are more likely to spend money on console and mobile, at 73 and 58 percent, respectively. Younger gamers between the ages of 18-29 spend less on mobile titles at 55 percent, compared to 72 percent on console and 71 percent on PC.

PayPal is the most popular method of payment across all segments, followed by pre-paid/gift cards. Apple Play is the least-preferred across all age groups. Trust is the most important factor to gamers, followed by the quickest service. In Germany, however, offering a seamless experience was nearly as important as trust according to respondents.

“PayPal is known as a trusted online payment method that has been at the forefront of digital transformation. It carries strong brand value and trust, is very well known in all countries and very easy to pay with,” Andy McDonald, vice president of merchant payments at ACI Worldwide told AListDaily. “That’s what gamers want—quick and hassle-free payment options. A generation of players as well as publishers have worked successfully with this payment method which is available cross-border, and provides brand recognition and security for its users.”

Its reputation may help PayPal hold its number one preferred spot with gamers, but other payment methods are on the horizon.

“Research reveals that gamers are certainly becoming more accepting of other alternative payment methods,” added McDonald. “Google Pay and Apple Pay in particular, and even cryptocurrencies are viewed favorably. Preferences might change quickly and businesses in the sector need to be prepared for that in order to stay ahead of the game.”

Top 50 iOS Games Take 76 Percent Of Revenue, But Most Don’t Last Long

A new study conducted by Apptopia analyzed the top 50 Apple App Store games in the US using data gathered from 2014 to 2017. The results paint a stark picture of the gaming app market, with the top 50 games taking in 76 percent of the total revenue, leaving all others to fight over the remaining 24 percent.

On average, the top 50 grossing games retain their positions for 27.7 days, and in those years, only 14 games from 10 publishers managed to take the number one spot, and an elite three—Supercell, Machine Zone and Bandai Namco—had multiple number one games.

About two-thirds of the games studied dropped off the list within five days, with a third of titles lasting a single day. Only six games stayed among the top 50 throughout all the years studied: Game of War: Fire Age, DoubleDown Casino Slots & More, Big Fish Casino: Slots & Games, Slotomania Slots: Vegas Casino, Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans. The three top genres among the 25 games with the longest consecutive streaks on the top 50 list are casino and puzzle, with a four-way tie between arcade, role-playing, simulation and strategy.

“Since we’re talking money, it’s no surprise that three of these are casino games,” wrote Apptopia.

Meanwhile, non-casino titles such as Game of War: Fire Age invested $40 million into a massive advertising blitz in 2014, with Kate Upton becoming the chief spokesmodel who starred in the famously risqué Superbowl XLIX trailer and helped propel the game to the top of the charts. In comparison, Candy Crush Saga began its rise by focusing heavily on social media, as it was originally launched as a Facebook game that quickly caught on. Developer King continually engaged with that user base, which included about 1 in 23 Facebook users in 2017, who in turn spread the word and invited others to play when Candy Crush Saga launched on mobile devices.

Although it’s hard to believe, Clash of Clans had a slightly slower start, and developer Supercell couldn’t afford to spend much on marketing when it launched. The developer had to rely heavily on free marketing and some degree of luck while constantly improving the game, particularly when Apple’s editorial team chose it to be a featured game on the App Store. Having it be fun, addictive and unique helped a lot, but the fact that the game helped highlight key features like retina screens probably made it more attractive, too. Supercell then used the influx of money to invest heavily in marketing, particularly through ads on Facebook where Supercell could filter its audience to target gamers of specific age ranges and income levels. Clans also had a Super Bowl ad that played alongside Game of War‘s, and now the game brings in more than $5 million a day in revenue.

Ranking among the top 50 is no small feat, and staying there is even more difficult, and doing so means tremendous rewards. Over 800,000 games were listed on the App Store during the multi-year period, and 2,624 of them reached the top 50. Of those games, 119 stayed in the top 50 for over 100 days, 38 remained for over 500 days, and only 15 managed to stay on for over 1,000 days. The few games that managed to stay on the list for longer than a month saw considerable returns, with in-app purchases totaling around $750,000 per day for top five games, while top 10 games brought in about $340,000.

The study only measures in-app purchases and does not take into account potential advertising revenue. However, Apptopia notes that all the top grossing games have something in common: balance between player gender.

“The top grossing mobile games got there because they understand how to incorporate game mechanics and themes that people of all ages and sexes can enjoy,” wrote Apptopia COO Jonathan Kay in a blog post. “While identifying a niche can be lucrative, the serious money is made by catering across demographics.”

But the good news is that, depending on the size of your company, being ranked outside of the top 50 can still be quite lucrative. Mobile gaming continues to grow, with data from MediaKix showing that the number of active mobile gamers has grown to 2.1 billion worldwide, totaling over $50 billion in revenue, which is expected to hit $72 billion by 2020. Games also comprised about 80 percent of all app revenue in 2017.

“State Of Decay 2” Tops May Game Sales, Bringing Down “God Of War”

The NPD Group has released its monthly report for new physical video game sales, as well as a subset of full-game digital downloads from participating publishers in NPD’s digital panel. Although not intended to cover total market/total consumer spend, the figures give us an idea of industry-wide trends.

Spending across hardware, software, accessories and game cards grew by 13 percent to $685 million in May compared to one year ago. Overall growth has occurred across all categories with year-to-date spending up 15 percent to $4.9 billion compared to last year.

Although software saw a slight decline in sales, it was offset by growth in other categories. Dollar sales of console, portable and PC games reached a combined $274 million in May 2018, which is a 4 percent decrease from last year. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella attributes this decline to the slate of games, with 2017’s release of Injustice 2 proving to be a tough act to follow. But year-to-date software spending has increased by 7 percent to $2.2 billion, led by titles that include Far Cry 5, God of War and Monster Hunter: World.

State Of Decay 2 And Detroit: Become Human Debut To Top Spots

May’s bestselling game was State of Decay 2, with launch sales that nearly doubled that of the previous game. It knocked God of War down to the second-place spot, followed by Detroit: Become Human and Far Cry 5.

Sony was May’s top performing publisher, driven by sales of God of War and Detroit: Become Human. Detroit: Become Human may be in third place, but it still represents a success for its developer Quantic Dream.

“Launch month sales of Detroit: Become Human represent a record high for developer Quantic Dream, with sales growth of over 20 percent when compared to its previous launch month bestseller, Heavy Rain,” said Piscatella.

Ubisoft remains the top revenue-generating publisher this year to date, with Far Cry 5 still reigning as the year’s bestselling game with God of War behind it. Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard is in the lead for top revenues over the 12-month period ending in May.

Software sales for the Nintendo Switch console rose by 90 percent compared to last year, “delivering the highest software revenues for any Nintendo platform in May since the Nintendo Wii in May 2011.” However, The NPD Group does not currently track digital sales for the platform.

Console Sales Strong, Accessories Hit All-Time High

The NPD Group reports that hardware spending increased by 26 percent to $186 million in May compared to last year, with sales of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 driving overall growth. Year-to-date hardware spending is up 15 percent to $1.3 billion, driven by Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and “Plug-N-Play” devices such as the SNES Classic.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 was the bestselling platform, and it remains the top-selling console this year to date. However, all consoles, including the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, achieved all-time unit sales in May. In fact, May 2018’s hardware sales totals were the highest of any May since 2011, while May 2018 dollar sales reached the highest total since May 2014.

Headset and gamepad also had a good month, with year-to-date sales of both accessories reaching all-time record highs at more than double what they were last year. Spending on headsets alone increased by 83 percent since the start of the year, while gamepad spending grew by 22 percent.

 

Cannes Lions Sessions: Engaging A Billion Users Through Technology And Culture

Gaining over a billion users is no small feat, but a brand’s job doesn’t end there—at Cannes Lions, Tencent shared the four methods it uses for creating experiences that engage and care for its users in a meaningful way.

Tencent has been the top public gaming company in the world five years running and WeChat recently crossed the one billion user threshold—an impressive feat considering that China’s population is approximately 1.4 billion.

Seng Lee Lau, Tencent’s chairman of group marketing and global branding as well as executive vice president and chairman of Tencent Advertising, took the stage at Cannes to say that the brand’s success can be boiled down to four core values.

Lau described the first company value as “The Founder’s Spirit”—recognizing, honoring and embodying the company’s original values as set forth by its creators. The second value, he said, is an open platform mindset. A company needs to recognize its own limitations and coexist with partners to create and nurture an ecosystem for the industry.

A “Digital Level,” Lau said, means helping others within the industry. He used the Internet Plus initiative as an example. Tencent participates in a nationwide effort between the Chinese government and businesses to create faster and more affordable internet access designed to drive a “new industrial revolution.”

The fourth and most important value Tencent embodies is craftsmanship.

“From the days of our inception, user experience has been the fundamental core value of our company,” said Lau. “As we evolve and we realize that the devotion to excellent user experience could only be created by an unwavering commitment to craftsmanship.”

Lau said that marketers embody craftsmanship to win a Cannes Lion award, but it is in danger of becoming a lost art.

“In order to produce an exceptional user experience, that craftsmanship has to be inculcated as a way of life, culture to produce Cannes-ready user experience almost every day,” he said, adding that loyalty is the ultimate test for a brand.

Lau explained that a “good” experience satisfies individual demand while an “exceptional” experience resonates with human nature. Humans want to share experiences to feel like they belong but they want to be independent and an individual at the same time.

Tencent’s popular photo editing and sharing app, Tiantian P-Tu (天天P) offers filters and themes that resonate with Chinese residents in an individual way such as celebrating holidays, heroes of the past or each person’s childhood.

The app uses AI and facial recognition to use common themes while allowing each user to feel independent. Tiantian P-Tu went viral in recent months and is currently seeking recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records.

While technology is buzzworthy, it can always be replicated. That’s why Lau says that brands need to create an “interplay of technology and culture” that leads to an exceptional experience. This extends to making the world a better place.

“In today’s world, it’s not enough to confine ourselves in the business of providing good products,” said Lau. “Instead, companies must play a broader and more constructive role in a society over the long term.”

What Instagram’s IGTV Means For Brands

Instagram has officially reached 1 billion users since its launch in 2010, and the Facebook-owned social platform marked the occasion on Wednesday by launching its IGTV platform at a San Francisco event. IGTV takes on online media giants like YouTube by supporting up to one hour of vertical video content as opposed to the one-minute limit standard posts have. Content featuring online creators such as LaurDIY, King Bach and Ninja can be viewed from both a standalone IGTV app or from within the main Instagram app.

Instagram’s business blog describes IGTV as an evolution for mobile video to match with the times, citing how audiences are watching less television and more digital video, with mobile video expected to make up 78 percent of total mobile traffic by 2021. The blog also states that, according to a 2016 study by BCG, younger audiences prefer to spend time with amateur content creators instead of professionals. That explains the emphasis on online influencers, but celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West, Selena Gomez, Lele Pons and Kevin Hart have already begun to post videos on IGTV.

Brands may benefit from the platform by both partnering with influencers and creating long-form stories that serve their communities. IGTV content will play as soon as users open the app, and each creator is a channel that followers can quickly tune in to. Users won’t have to search to find content from channels that they’re already following, and swiping upward will bring up related content for them to discover.

“On Instagram, people are watching 60 percent more video than they did just last year,” said Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom at the event. “An entirely new category of video now exists, and it’s being made by creators. Teens may be watching less TV, but they’re watching more creators online.”

Systrom also said that the combined reach of Instagram’s creators is in the hundreds of thousands, giving the photo and video sharing platform “one of the largest and most engaged audiences anywhere in the world.”

Any Instagram user outside of new accounts can upload hour-long videos, but the feature will eventually expand to include everyone, and these videos support links in their descriptions that may drive traffic to external sites. Although Systrom said that the platform doesn’t support ads yet, they are “obvious” and “very reasonable” additions for the future.

Instagram won’t pay creators for content the way Facebook did to launch its Watch platform, but it is exploring ways to make IGTV sustainable by offering creators a way to monetize their content, and ad revenue shares could be among those methods. According to eMarketer, Instagram is expected to pull in $5.48 billion in ad revenues this year, and brands may be eager to address this still-growing audience as they shift spending away from television and Facebook’s rising ad costs.

With IGTV, Instagram is heating up the competition with both YouTube and Snapchat, and although the latter platform has vertical TV shows that attract 20 to 30 million viewers per month, they tend to be either short—around three to five minutes—or comprised of multiple Snaps.

US Ad Spending To Grow 6 Percent In 2018, Driven Mostly By Facebook And Google

A new report released by Morgan Stanley indicates that overall ad spending in the US will grow by six percent in 2018, which is slightly revised from an earlier 5.9 percent growth forecast. However, the report also states that the areas of decline outnumber the areas of growth.

The report states that Facebook and Google are driving 95 percent of online ad growth, growing the market share year-over-year through their massive scale. The research team at Morgan Stanley, headed by analyst Benjamin Swinburne, also mentions that cyclical events such as the World Cup, the mid-term elections and the Winter Olympics helped to lift the forecast.

TV upfront 2018-19 pricing is expected to grow nine to 10 percent, but double-digit declines in ratings may leave upfronts at a loss. According to the report, TV ratings are down 30 to 40 percent compared to the last five years.

Swinburne writes that having broadcast networks, particularly NBC, reduce their advertising inventory could drive additional scarcity, leading to higher upfront units sold compared to the previous year. In contrast to primetime television, Swinburne points out that sports, most notably the NFL, has an increase in supply so that pricing is “less robust.”

With all this in mind, Morgan Stanley states that the viability of TV depends on its ability to monetize OTT and implement addressable ads.

“The modest declines seen in underlying TV advertising are a testament to TV’s audience reach and pricing power,” wrote Swinburne. “Historically, the growth in OTT consumption was led predominantly by adoption of ad-free platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but appetite for ad-supported premium TV content is evidenced by Hulu (over $1B in advertising annually) and Roku (more than doubling its ad sales off a small base to $160M in 2017).”

However, there is plenty of room for growth in OTT, even as platforms like Netflix continue to grow. Morgan Stanley’s eighth annual Streaming Video Survey, released in June, confirmed that subscription-based VOD platforms such as Netflix are fueled by massive investments in original content. Netflix subscriptions added 7.4 million new members by the end of its 2018 first quarter, 2 million from the US alone, totaling 7.4 million subscribers worldwide. The company plans to spend $8 billion on programming this year to possibly grow even further.

But the survey also points out that users tend to subscribe to multiple services, with about 46 percent of Netflix users stating that they also watch Prime Video, while 58 percent of Prime members subscribe to Netflix. Additionally, viewers that use either platform are far more likely to subscribe to other over-the-top services, with 16 percent of Netflix users also subscribing to Hulu, which could be good news for media companies such as Disney and Warner Bros., which are both in the process of developing their own OTT platforms.

‘Incredibles 2’ Box Office Soars Atop Disney’s Marketing Machine

Incredibles 2 shattered previous box office records for an animated film, debuting at number one domestically and worldwide. Together with strategic timing and mass appeal, this sequel demonstrates the superhero strength of the Disney/Pixar brand.

Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2 opened with $183 million over the weekend and another $23 million on Monday. The sequel went down in history as the highest animated film debut of all time—an honor held by DreamWorks’ Shrek 2 since 2004.

“Between their theme parks and powerful global brand, the Disney marketing machine is without equal,” Karie Bible, box office analyst and film historian at Exhibitor Relations, told AListDaily.

One campaign produced by this infamous “machine” was the addition of six Incredibles 2 AR emoji characters on Galaxy S9 phones. Similar to Apple’s Animoji, Samsung’s characters mirror a user’s facial expressions and mouth movements with the front-facing camera.

Incredibles 2 appealed to virtually all demographics—men, women, families, children, etc. It was a film for the whole family,” noted Bible.

Marketing tactics for the film reflected this “whole family” approach, illustrated by a partnership with ASICS. A multimedia campaign added Incredibles 2 characters and visuals to ASICS’ ongoing #IMoveMe campaign, which hoped to inspire families to get active together.

Marketing you can see, interact with or visit—like this four-story inflatable super baby—are a given for marketing an animated film, but Bible noted other strategies that contributed to the film’s box office success.

“With film releases, timing is everything,” she said. “Prior to Incredibles 2, the last animated feature film from a major studio was Sherlock Gnomes, which came out on March 23. There has been a lull and audiences were clearly hungry for a new offering. Plus, many kids have just gotten out of school for the summer.”

Incredibles 2 boasts the highest box office debut on record for a PG film, thanks in part to the studio’s reputation.

“Pixar has the most consistent track record in Hollywood,” said Bible. “Their films almost always score with audiences, critics and awards voters.”

“It’s My Super Bowl”: Takeaways For Marketers From E3 2018

E3 continues to be the largest video gaming event of the year, and with 60,000 consumers walking the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center this week, marketers have had ample opportunity to test and reflect on its place in their marketing mix.

E3 is big deal for us. As I like to tell the company, it’s like my Super Bowl,” said Mike Domaguing, vice president of marketing at Survios, to AListDaily. “This is a great pulpit for communication.”

Widening The Net

For Survios, E3’s size and mass appeal has allowed the company to take a variety of tacks in marketing its diverse slate of products, all in the same space and timeframe, for a heterogeneous audience.

We have events all the way from Monday through Thursday,” Domaguing said. “On Monday night, we showcased Electronauts over at the Facebook Gaming party, and Tuesday through Thursday, we’re going to be at the Sony booth showcasing Creed, as well as our own booth over at IndieCade in West Hall, for Creed as well. And on Wednesday night is our third annual after-party, and that will be a spectacle on its own, ranging from DJ’ing on top of mirrored buses to showcasing our virtual reality arcade.”

Facebook Gaming likewise took on a variegated set of goals for its presence at E3, ranging from improving representation to contacting representatives.

Our themes are advancing our Women in Gaming initiative. Secondarily, reaching out to creator community, inviting them to learn more about how the Facebook platform can help themselves build communities. Third, it’s about our relationships with developers and how we can provide them with the business tools they need to be successful,” said Rick Kelly, vice president of global gaming for Facebook, to AListDaily.

According to Kelly, part of the show’s increasing consumer appeal is coming from increased gendered egalitarianism, both among developers and players. At the show this year, Facebook partnered with the ESA to help spread awareness and support for women in gaming, letting female developers and players share their stories at a special booth on the show floor.

“One of the key trends we saw last year was that 33 percent of all mentions of games in advance of E3 were made by women,” Kelly added. “But this year, it’s 39. What we’re seeing is that a lot of the initiatives we and our fellow players in the industry [are doing] are advancing women in gaming.”

More People, More Problems

For Funko, however, E3’s changes are making it more like other comic and fan conventions around America.

“We are here in the same way we exhibit at a lot of Comic-Cons like San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con,” Mark Robben, head of marketing for Funko, told AListDaily. “The key takeaways are always the same at a lot of these shows.”

Though they appeared at E3 for the first time this year, the show held few surprises for the geek convention-focused collectible manufacturer.

It’s always fun to go back to the office and think about why that one piece really resonated with fans. How do we make it a smoother experience? How can we make the booth bigger, more impactful; how can we make a bigger statement next year?” Robben said. “A lot of that is just logistics, just in terms of how we make sure that fans have a decent experience.”

Logistical issues played a major role in stressing marketers this year as well: even with the long lead time brands get for the show, some aspects of setting up a physical presence tend to come down to the wire.

“We’ve had a lot of obstacles,” Domaguing said, “ranging from working with vendors, trying to get certain items in time to making sure people understand how VR plays with the press, and our team just dealing with the stress.”

Austin Malcolm, public relations director for Gearbox, faced similar issues.

“The A/C wasn’t on, which we don’t mind, but all of our walls are based off of vinyl, so if it gets too hot it can kind of peel away. So it was really fun, trying to figure out how we we’re gonna fix that,” Malcolm told AListDaily. “That was the main obstacle, getting things set up. You just have to be fluid about it. If you have too much of a plan and it goes off-course, you just gotta steer it right back on.”

E3 As Inspiration

Just important as reaching consumers, influencers and press is, E3 also serves as a chance for marketers to take a look not just at what products their fellow brands have in store, but how they’re raising their game to promote them, pushing for more impressive show presences in the future.

“We thought our booth was really cool, but we were looking at other things and thinking ‘I can do that, I want to go bigger,'” Malcolm said. “Bigger and better is what we learned from this year.”

You see some of these booths around here that are amazing, it’s pretty inspiring,” Robben added. “I want to have a giant booth like Fortnite does. I want to do some fun stuff, I’d like to sell some more exclusives. This has been a fun test, this is version one, but I definitely think we can do more and push the limits next year.”

Epic Games’ Fortnite served as inspiration for Gearbox as well: “I think the Fortnite booth is super cool, they have a lot of fun interactions for both consumers and press,” Malcolm stated. “That’s been a theme, how can you get them to interact with your booth that’s not just providing demos. There’s a lot of people here, and it takes a lot of time to play through the demos themselves, so what other things are they doing to make the consumer feel engaged—giving away things, selling merchandise, having photo opportunities?”

But as simple as selling exclusive merchandise may seem, it too can carry some problems, especially with a medium as fan-driven as video games.

“Determining what exclusives to sell is always a challenge,” Robben said. “You don’t want to make it something that fans are going to be upset about because they can’t get it, but you also don’t want to make it too niche so that nobody cares about it. It’s always a challenge to find out the right opportunity for exclusives, and something fans are going to want but not drive people crazy in the hunt for it.”

 

Cannes Lions Behind-The-Scenes: Havas’ Marc Maleh

The Lion for Creative Data is awarded to marketing teams for work that creates harmony between data and ideas. This year at Cannes Lions, the Creative Data category’s jury president is Marc Maleh, global director of Havas. Maleh joined AListDaily to talk about how data is driving conversation this year and why the unknown is so exciting.

This will be the second time Maleh attends Cannes Lions, the first being two years ago when he served as a Creative Data juror. “It’s a lot of work but it’s an honor,” he told AListDaily.

For Maleh, his favorite part of attending the creative festival is becoming a vessel for ideas that can be carried home with him.

“One of the most important things about [attending Cannes Lions] is the information that you gather and the memories that you get that you share with your team,” said Maleh. “Not everyone gets to go. We’re always in these bubbles whether that’s an industry or clients you work with or city you live in and there’s so much amazing work out there. For me, it’s all about taking all that information and sharing it with people who didn’t have the benefit of being there to get inspired by all the awesome work.

How does your experience inform your judging and voting?

Most of the work I’ve done is closer to product work as opposed to more traditional marketing. I come from a technology background so I want [to see] work that is thought through in a way that is not advertising. Data has been used in media forever, basically, and now I think it’s exciting that you have all these systems and data [that] can now be an ingredient in product development and continues to be an ingredient in media. What I look for is how they’re being used. How are they being used to impact an overall customer experience?

I [also] look for things that are leaving the advertising world. Exciting [campaigns] for me are when people outside the advertising industry know about the work, and not because they saw a TV commercial. To me, that is really awesome. It really shouldn’t be something that was only in the advertising world.

How do you think the marketing industry perceives itself in 2018?

I think the industry has changed a little bit and is a little more sensitive as to how it communicates with consumers about the use of data. I think there’s going to be a lot of discussion at Cannes about data in general primarily because of everything that is going on in the world like GDPR. Net neutrality is probably going to be a topic of discussion, [as well as] what’s going on with Facebook.

All of those things have a very direct impact, for obvious reasons, on the advertising industry, but they also have a direct impact on ethics and the morality of how we advertise and use data to make better products for our consumers.

Ethics and morality—specifically with the use of data— should be a big part of some of the conversations and even the way you look at the work being judged.

What are you most excited for in the coming years?

To me, coming from a technology background, what’s exciting to me is the unknown. These new interfaces have been popping up over the past couple of years, like voice and well before that, mobile in general. Now you see data and AI and all the systems out there and the notion of new types of interfaces is really interesting and exciting to me. Especially now with such deep commitments from the phone manufacturers, what’s exciting to me is how this business is always changing the way we’re interacting with consumers.

Last year chatbots were a big trend, voice continues to be a trend . . . the more things change, the more talent in the industry needs to learn and pivot the way they work. After all, how do you concept for things that aren’t even here yet if you’re a strategist?

Cannes Lions Behind-The-Scenes: McCann Worldgroup’s Rob Reilly

The Lion for Brand Experience and Activation is awarded to marketing teams for work that builds a brand through “next-level” use of experience design, activation, immersive, retail and 360 customer engagement. This year at Cannes Lions, the category’s jury president is Rob Reilly, global creative chairman at McCann Worldgroup. Reilly joined AListDaily to talk about how great campaigns translate into any language and why marketers fight for their jobs every day.

Reilly says he has attended Cannes Lions “around seven” times, and things have certainly changed since the first time.

“Back in the early 2000s, Cannes wasn’t really a thing for the American agencies,” Reilly told AListDaily. “Only in the last decade has it become the show for US agencies. When I worked at Crispin [Porter + Bogusky], we were the small agency—a great agency that won a lot of awards—but we didn’t talk to a lot of press and didn’t have a lot of things to do. Now it’s a big thing when you work at a network agency because people from around the world are there and you’re meeting a lot of people and multinational clients.”

As a juror, Reilly’s schedule has freed up in some ways, but in others, he works even more while at the festival.

“When you’re judging it’s good and bad,” he said. “The good is, you’re not in meetings with people all week long. The bad is that you’re in a dark room with people all week long. There’s no having too much fun in Cannes these days, there’s too much work (laughs).”

McCann Workgroup certainly keeps busy, with offices in 120 countries. Last year, the agency gained worldwide attention (and 18 Lions) for its “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street.

How has the nature of your work changed in the last five years?

The best ideas continue to win—that’s the constant that remains, although the ideas are different. Decades ago, television and print were “the things” and 10 years ago, [it was] integrated campaigns. Now it’s a lot about innovation and frankly, things like direct marketing, activations and experiential are just as important and valued as film. The nature of our business is so multiplatform now compared to the past but what remains constant is that usually, the best ideas end up rising to the top.

I think that’s the great thing about award shows—those ideas that transcend different geographies and cultures to end up winning the Grand Prix or Gold and really stand above the others because they translate everywhere. Fearless Girl translated in the US obviously but it translated in China and Australia and Russia—you feel you’ve really done your job when those ideas travel.

The world chooses the best ideas—we just validate them at Cannes.

How do you think the marketing industry sees itself in 2018?

I think marketing is so valuable these days. Brands are accepted into people’s lives more and more. The flip side is that people expect a lot more out of brands, so you’d better be innovative, transparent, do right by the environment, etc. Brands have a real opportunity to be meaningful in people’s lives and need to be. It doesn’t have to be philanthropic or mutually exclusive to making money, either. People don’t mind if a brand makes money if they’re doing the right thing. It’s an awesome time to be a brand and to be a marketing partner to a brand because the value of them in peoples’ lives is becoming higher.

Where do you think marketing is headed in the coming years?

I think brands have to have a purpose and tell people about it. Ads [need to] have actions that reflect and deliver on that purpose. Data-informed advertising, programmatic, all that stuff is going to become more and more invaluable because why wouldn’t you want to be sharper [about] who you want to reach? The need to break through is going to continue to be important because there are less and less marketing dollars and more and more ways to reach consumers in a crowded marketplace. I think we’re at a time where every sector is realizing, “Wow, we need to go for it. We can’t just sit on the sidelines.”

I don’t see competition in other agencies, I want everyone to succeed. The competition [comes from] convincing CEOs and boards of companies to invest more in marketing and believe that what we’re doing is valuable. I think we’re going to have to continue to prove our value and prove marketing’s value. That’s the fight we have in front of us for the next foreseeable future.

I think that’s the fight we’re going to be fighting—not just as an agency—but as an industry. [Marketing is] the easiest thing to cut when a brand invests in technology and not storytelling.