The one-day event on June 8th highlighted the latest trends in digital media, and experiential marketing led the pack. Hosted by Campaign Asia-Pacific at The Langham in Shanghai, China, the “rising stars” in the media industry came together for the renowned training program. Created to arm the top talent in the region with cutting edge practices and top-tier techniques within the country’s quickly growing digital marketing sphere, it was a full day of interactive workshops. Participants represented a rich variety of agencies and brands, all led by experts in the field.
In-depth discussions on the latest topics were tackled with case studies from real events. Last year’s most popular event was bested—and it’s not easy to top 70+ Chinese marketing gurus eager to hear from Coca Cola (and win the mega client over with a pitch!). Featuring TED-esque discussions from leaders eager to share their digital strategies, the event perfectly blended creativity with business savviness.
In the afternoon, delegates are placed in roundtables led by senior agency heads who act as a mentor. There are also Q&A client walkabout sessions, time to pitch ideas to judging panels, and much more. For many, the annual event takes them up a rung in their career.
However, this year, experiential marketing was the real rising star.
A Real Experience
The 2017 speakers dove into programming trends, storytelling, taking marketing from online to offline, and of course event marketing. It was an exciting introduction to the pitching workshop that moved at an incredible clip. The keynote speaker, Jane Lin-Baden (who heads up Isobar APAC as CEO) talked about the state of new media forms throughout China. Lin-Baden pointed out that trending items can die just as quickly as they rise—which makes for a unique challenge for marketers.
“When we are talking about digital economy, it is not really digital but rather experience economy. In the end, we are talking about experiences that are related to the brands, but we are using a smarter way to present it by linking the online and offline experience.” It was a remark that resonated with attendees, who have already been living that reality.
Other hot topics included native advertisements as a sizzling trend in China. John Dao, the general manager at Tencent (an Online Media Group) who covers the Channel Department, gave a nod to The New York Times’ success with this approach. Social media storytelling was also discussed, with creative partner and ECD at Reload Sunny Lai calling it the “superglue method” to capture audiences’ attention—particularly in the mobile-ready era. He shared incredible stories from McDonald’s, including the story about the Filipino boy which went viral. The homeless boy knuckled down into his homework outside of McDonalds, and a photo was picked up and turned into a meme by 9gag.
There was also the Publicis Media head of EC and programming Mandy Hou, who urged attendees to not put programming in a silo. She encouraged programming teams to partner with media teams and produce the most powerful content in every fitting media channel. Attendees flocked to the O2O2O session, which focused on the link between ecommerce and brick and mortar shops. CEO and founder of Verystar, Milan Jiang, led the session and reminded attendees that the goal of any campaign is to simply get customers into the store. While crafting campaigns, Jiang highlighted the importance of the the retail experience, not just the company and brand.
An Experience Steals the Show
One of the most popular workshops was all about experience at the “Using of experiential marketing in the new digital ecosystem: To SEE It, To LIVE It, To OWN It.” There was a strong representation from the Apax Group creative team, who talked to attendees about the importance of experiential marketing. Within the evolving digital landscape, it’s critical. Apax showcased a Diesel case study to make their point. The “Diesel BAD Shipping Container UK Tour” offered a new tour experience where consumers could engage with the mobile truck in an innovative fragrance event. See the entire program, download the agenda, and get updates on the 2018 at the official site.