Charlie: Excuse me, Lieutenant. Is there something wrong?
Maverick: Yes ma’am, the data on the MiG is inaccurate.
Charlie: How’s that, Lieutenant?
Maverick: Well, I just happened to see a MiG 28 do a…
Maverick: Uh, sorry, Goose. “We” happened to see a MiG 28 do a 4G negative dive.
Charlie: Where did you see this?
Maverick: Uh, that’s classified.
Charlie: It’s what?
Maverick: It’s classified. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.
“Top Gun” just celebrated its 25th anniversary. (I officially feel #old). To celebrate this classic movie from the ’80’s, I went and saw it in IMAX 3D with 10 friends. A few things struck me. First, the dialog from above is still pretty damn good. Second, there are really only about three songs in the entire movie – as an adult I now feel slightly suckered from my youth. And we can learn a bit from Maverick and Goose’s need for speed and data about MiGs.
Today, consumers’ need for speed is that they expect the world of advertising to operate at mach speed. The programmatic ad world operates in milliseconds and makes decisions about what ad to show in milliseconds and in some cases ads are customized for us within a couple of those milliseconds. When “Top Gun” debuted in 1988, there wasn’t a world wide web, Marc Andreessen was still in high school, and ads were bought and sold over fax machines. A far cry from our world of real-time advertising today.
Recently, I was talking with thought leaders in the ad tech and entertainment space about the pace of programmatic ad platforms and decision-making. Some were saying that Big Data was going to be the new creative, others were saying that dynamic creative was going to displace the notoriously grumpy legions of Agency Creative Directors (ACDs to you and me). I argued that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. I was told to look at #drones and that they have replaced the Mavericks of the world. I said, “Perhaps, however, there still needs to be a Maverick sitting someplace, even if an ocean apart, to do the flying.” Touché. The conversation pivoted to how do we as marketers truly operate in real time with our consumers.
Savvy marketers will let the ad tech companies figure out the back end wiring and algorithms to deliver ads at speed and to the right audiences. As marketers, our job is to know which tools to use and how to use them, akin to Maverick switching from guns to rockets based on proximity to the target. You may use dynamic creative at some points, especially if you’re selling tickets to an event and delivering an ad in 20 milliseconds that knows where the person is sitting, what their past purchase history is and where their favorite theatre is (rockets). Or you may be working with an ad platform that taps into the real-time moments of sharing and hashtags to put a brand like Milk-Bone in front of a consumer at the moment they are talking about (sharing) their Golden Labrador (guns).
Yes, speed is important, and the advertising world operates at incredible speed. But unless you and your ad partner’s platform know which tools are right for you and your customer, you could be swinging and missing.
Ask yourself if you are thinking and operating at pace with consumers. Are your ad platform partners set up to deliver your brand message in a world of now moments? The way we as an industry keep solving for this by utilizing intent signals, such as hashtags and sharing events, are reasons I love being in this business and helping it evolve to drive results.
Do you have some thoughts on this topic? If so, I would love to hear them. Post your comments here.