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EXCLUSIVE : TV OF TOMORROW 2018: Interview With Abbey Thomas At Tremor Video

With a strong desire to be a creative partner that delivers an innovative campaign to all their clients, Tremor Video keeps raising the bar for itself and the entire advertising industry.  Conceptualizing an ad campaign is not just about grabbing attention or competing for eyeballs.  In an era of streaming, connected devices, and multiple screens, advertising is challenged to break through the noise and capture and engage viewer attention.  Advertisers want to deliver an ad experience that consumers/viewers enjoy and appreciate. It is about creating brand -loyalty and rewarding long-term consumers, as well as finding creative ways to draw in new consumers.  This is exactly what Tremor Video excels at.  In an exclusive interview with Abbey Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer for Tremor Video, talks about the unique challenges of delivering a specialized advertising campaign in the ever-changing and evolving digital world.

Tell me a little bit about Tremor Video and what it offers.

ABBEY: Tremor Video DSP is a programmatic video platform, and we work with brands to connect to their audiences one to one and deliver powerful creatives. We’re all about creating those storytelling moments for brands.

I applaud new and innovative ad campaigns. The smartest ad campaign that I’ve seen recently was the one they did for the Superbowl with David Harbour from STRANGER THINGS, who appeared in multiple different advertisements, but you kept watching all of them just to see when he was gonna pop up again.
ABBEY:  Me too. To take it to our company, if we know that you’ve been exposed to that spot or you’re a fan of STRANGER THINGS, then we can serve you a secondary message that sort of drives you into taking that next step into an action or drive into a store or check out a new vehicle. But it makes it much more powerful to know with certainty that you’ve seen one spot or not seen a specific spot and then how to serve a creative accordingly.

The engagement aspect is the one thing I’m looking for as most advertising classically wasn’t meant to be engaging.  It was just meant to be tolerated. So it’s nice to see that the advertising business and the people who buy advertising understand that we demand more now — particularly as we have so much content to choose from and so many ways of different accesses.
ABBEY:  I think we’re at a beautiful time of storytelling. I mean, look at the beautiful programming coming out of the streaming originals. Because of this powerful storytelling — and you’re right, consumers are saying, “Okay advertisers, you better step your game up, because if I’m going to tolerate your ad or I’m going to take an action, then it better be on the same level of the storytelling I’m paying to consume elsewhere.” And I think a lot of marketers have risen to that challenge.  I’ve seen almost a revitalization — a creative renaissance, if you will — where there’s more of an effort now of what message we’re gonna serve and at what time and really thinking of the consumer. Even looking at 6-second ads now, that’s a kudos to the industry saying, “We want to be more mindful to the consumer.” I mean, let’s be honest, do you need more than six seconds?  We’re at such great brand-affinity. No, if you’re a new brand or you’re a new movie or you’re a new TV show you’ll probably need a little bit longer than that.  Still, using those formats, it’s not just one or the other. It’s like this beautiful carousel that’s now been developed.

What I was just hearing about the NBC ad where they’re integrating taking the actors’ voice-overs for the advertisers so it feels like they’re still in the show a little bit, they are customizing it so it appears the ad is part of the show.

ABBEY:  Yes. So research has shown — ABC and Omnicon did a really great study about this where it’s very simple — television viewers like when their ads match the experience of what they’re watching.  It makes sense. It’s like that beautiful woman in SCANDAL drives off in her Cadillac right into the commercial pod and it moves into the vehicle. Now, with emerging technologies and companies like Tremor, you can now serve that second ad that then drives onto your mobile device on your couch screen. Now, that is the advertising that has the power to win hearts and shape minds and win people over.

So it’s like I am sitting and watching a Hallmark movie and next thing you know I’m getting an ad on my phone promoting a Hallmark product.
ABBEY:  That’s us, thank you.  I think people respond to that. They say: “You’ve thought about me. You’ve thought about my experience. It speaks to me, and if I’m gonna get ads, I’d rather have ads that are relevant to me and what I’m doing.” So that’s exciting. When you talk about advertising being tolerated, I got into the ad business because I thought of it as a creative outlet and that it had both the ability to get someone to do something and take action, but also to entertain them at the same time, and I thought that was gonna be cool.

For the most part, viewers want to buy products.
ABBEY:  [Laughs] We are a capitalist society.

We want to buy the shampoos, the bar soap. We want to buy the car. We want to buy the computer. But, on the other hand, we want it to be sold in such a way that it feels more interesting to buy it.
ABBEY:  I love the study of psychographics and how certain brands really matter to different people. Like: “Why do I buy Crest versus Colgate.” And I’m a very brand loyalist, like once I get hooked on a brand, that’s it. Why do I buy “honest company” for my kids as opposed to something. And that all comes down to what that advertiser decided as their target market and try to move and shape that audience. That’s where I think digital is the coolest place to be because you can intersect all those different psychographics and have it into one defining target audience.

It’s definitely more creative. It’s got an artistic feel more now, which I appreciate. Because, if I want to watch the ad, then I know somebody did their job.
ABBEY:  Yes, exactly, that somebody thought about that. What I picture are these war rooms — because coming from the land of entertainment where every video spot was allocated to an audience — you think about the four quadrants. You think about: What spot is gonna move the mommy? What spot is gonna move the action-hero kid? What spot is gonna move the gaming enthusiast? I think advertising as a whole — taking a page out of that studio playbook to say: “We’re gonna start to align and think about creatively more to entertain you, the audiences.”

It’s smarter, actually.  So what exactly are you guys doing that you find is unique to your company that is wooing audiences?
ABBEY:  Emphasis on one-to-one data. Never before have marketers been able to have this sort of direct one-to-one conversation with their audience. I think we owe it to that audience to entertain them. So, again, if I know with certainty you just saw that ad on TV, I’m gonna give you or unlock something special for you, like a special coupon, or take you on another journey, or show you a behind the scenes clip, or whatnot, because I know you already saw the other spot. And that’s very unique to Tremor.  We also combine that powerful data with an in-house creative agency, who is fantastic. So they can help make those creative moments even more special for a brand. They can say, “Look, I need an additional spot to help drive or promote sales, or I need an additional store locator if I’m a retailer.” So our creative team can sort of help do that heavy lifting.

Is it for digital platforms or traditional television or the OTT platforms?
ABBEY:  Think about video anywhere it is being consumed outside of traditional television.  So connected television, OTT, which I think is such an interesting wildcard space right now. There’s, obviously, tablet video, mobile video, in-app, as well as mobile web, which is a very different type of format, and desktop video which, if you can believe it, people are still watching, a video on desktop, so anywhere.

There is the “walled garden” places, like Facebook or even Netflix, and you cannot actually just go advertise there.  How do you approach it when your client says, “I want to reach a Netflix audience?”
ABBEY:  That one’s tough because if it’s a closed-rights platform, the closest that we can get is looking at an aggregate ad of behavior of someone who typically doesn’t watch a lot of traditional TV. We can look at it holistically across all these different companies — that if they are this overall binge-watcher — then this is someone likely to be a [streaming service] consumer and you can make hypotheses and apply them back.

How would you want to target them?
ABBEY:  That’s a good question. I don’t know. I’m not a [streaming] expert. I do know that people are not one-dimensional and you have to reach them in a variety of different ways. So I could tell you that advertising in the connected TV space is probably the best place to reach that type of consumer, who is spending time on different devices, that they’re watching a variety of different programs. So that’s probably the best way that we would complement that.

Today, one of the panelists talked about a toothbrush that gives him the weather and the news every morning. And I thought, “That’s the next targeted-advertising — we’re gonna get it through the toothbrush because we’re stuck there brushing your teeth for a certain amount of time every day.”
ABBEY:  Think about it:  the average now is thirteen connected devices per household, which is pretty amazing.  I’m pretty interested to see what happens in the automotive sector, in terms of entertainment, because think about where you have someone captured and their attention, and the time in the vehicle and driving becomes more ubiquitous and available. There is no better place for entertainment consumption than your car.  You are hours on the road or traveling. So we are starting to see a little of that, like the electronics show is now turning into the automobile show, because it’s all about these new major media companies getting into the auto game. So I’m interested to see how that arises.

We spend a lot of time in our cars. We have to, that’s just our lives. So what is the next thing that is coming in advertising, besides cars?
ABBEY:  Besides cars in advertising — my typical response would be connected TV is getting its day in the sun right now. If you can’t advertise on [streaming services] so where would you go? You’d go to connect to television to try to find that audience. And I can also tell you, if someone has not watched any traditional broadcast or cable, the trend that I’m seeing the most of is this sort of event amplification, which is a true convergence of TV and digital. And I think as TV teams are getting integrated more and more — and video buyers are also TV buyers and TV buyers become video buyers — we are gonna see more thought and strategy put into how we are surrounding a major event, and more screens than just the historical television screen or an integration. That is pretty cool because suddenly if you can say, “Okay, tonight everybody’s gonna go watch the World Cup.” I’m not only gonna think about what ad is running on television and how that whole viewership pattern looks, but I am also gonna think about how everybody’s sitting on their home screen devices and tweeting and posting and sharing and talking and getting in the conversation and suddenly, this “couch screen,” if you will, has emerged. This trend of “amplification,” I think is going to be very popular. I can tell from looking at the numbers, the sheer scale that’s available in multitasking — because 70% of all people watching television are multitasking on a second screen device — the scale is there for people to serve that secondary message or to conquest the screen. So we’re seeing lot of that. We’re seeing competitive-conquesting, which is fun. I always love a good competitive-conquest.  It’s a great time to be in advertising.

Do you see the smart phone becoming more the dominant device?
ABBEY:  Yes. Yes, actually.

Why?
ABBEY:  Yes, because I can’t go a minute without touching it. It’s everything. To me, to my life, to my family. I dropped it and cracked it, and I couldn’t go 24 hours. I was freaking out that I had fly with a cracked screen. I still had access to it. That is personalization. It’s proximity. It’s trust. It’s all of these things that go into it. I mean, that — hands down — is the platform to move people.

How is your company Tremor Video going be on the cutting-edge of all that?
ABBEY:  There is no better vehicle to move and shape people’s opinion than video. Sight, sound, and motion is the best way to convince someone to take an action and I think marketers know that and brand marketers value video. I think being a partner with expertise in video — ten years expertise in video — is incredibly powerful to deliver the most beautiful in-view instinct-engaging creative and I think we’re going to be the leader of programmatic video for many years to come.

This year’s TV OF TOMORROW truly provided an inside look at how technology companies, advertisers, and data companies are working together to create a better experience for buyers, sellers, and all the companies serving those markets.  Tremor Video provided an inside glimpse into how they work with advertisers and businesses to reach their audience in ways that is pleasing and productive.  That nuanced approached is the key to its current success — that and the talented folks that it has been smart enough to bring aboard for this intriguing venture into integrated advertising and entertainment experiences.

To learn more about what Tremor Video has to offer, you can visit its website: http://tremorvideodsp.com/
Then more information about the TV Of Tomorrow 2018 conference can also be found at: http://thetvoftomorrowshow.com/about

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