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Search Market Mentors

Lessons from the Big Apple: Ad Week New York 2021

View from Hudson Yards at Ad Week New York


Our team was thrilled to attend Advertising Week New York, some of us in person and some virtually, to stay on top of the latest developments and trends in our industry. Some sessions reaffirmed that we are on point with what we are doing for our clients, while others provided glimpses into the future. Here, we share key takeaways from Ad Week New York.


Michelle Abdow, President

We’ve been ahead of the curve with the trends of CTV/OTT advertising, which was validated at AdWeek by the industry experts, measurement companies and media companies. TV is getting smarter for advertisers. Consumers who stream through a smart TV pay $64 a month on content over sticks or boxes, so we will continue to see more and more people cutting the cord. Cord-cutters and cord-nevers are alive and well. It’s a blurred space, but taking risks and doing A/B testing will make a difference to contextualize/personalize ad content. The great news is that it is measurable! CTV should be part of your media mix.

Amanda Moyer, Account Director

The reach of your media buy can increase up to 28% by adding a streaming component to it. People who “cut the cord” still tune into their favorite shows after they have aired, and the commercials that air during the streaming of a show are non-skippable. Commercial breaks are also shorter, so viewers are less likely to go do something else during the break, which means more eyes on your ads.

Combatting Misinformation

Liz Barry, Public Relations Specialist

In a session called “Information Hygiene: Combatting Mis- And Dis-Information Online,” professionals who worked on the Ad Council campaign for the COVID-19 vaccine shared that using real, authentic stories and matching the medium to their audience were the two aspects that helped them combat misinformation the most. They took the time to understand the issues and used real stories of people in their target audience to make emotional connections and build trust.

Extending Your Brand

Dave Smith, Content Writer

Raja Rajamannar, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of Mastercard, detailed how, in the current decade, marketers are realizing that radical new thinking and new rules are required to achieve success. He showed how the MasterCard logo underwent simple changes while the company created a new audio-based “Sonic DNA.” The “sound of MasterCard” is now being used in pop songs that are topping the charts in Latin America, Turkey, Korea and more. It’s extending MasterCard’s brand in a subtle way.

Amy Breguet, Content Marketing Specialist

The average consumer is bombarded with messaging and attention spans are shrinking, which means companies need new ways to capture interest. While we typically think of advertising as calling on the senses or sight and sound, MasterCard is tapping into “neuro power” by incorporating a strategy they call “multisensory marketing.” This means appealing to not only sight and sound, but also to smell and taste. Recently, MasterCard released two high-end “Priceless” fragrances and entered the restaurant sector with a handful of high-end eateries and other unique culinary endeavors. It will be interesting to see how these fare, and if they boost the Mastercard brand.

Social Media

Mike Connors, Content Writer

“Now Trending: How Brands Can Move at the Speed of Conversation” centered around the importance for brands to stay current when it comes to trending and popular topics on social media. The cultural moments that play out on social media are often a great opportunity for brands to engage in the conversation while simultaneously building community, engagement, relevance and brand awareness. The speakers stressed the value of building trust between brands and marketing partners so that when these opportunities arise, the marketing partners can take advantage of them in the moment.

The Sales Journey

Megan Tomaszewski, Account Executive

A key takeaway from a session about futureproofing brands in the data age was how, at the end of the day, you have to enter the hearts and minds of consumers and understand their journey. When times get tough, consumers gravitate towards brands they trust. Developing use cases and tailoring KPIs to each client is essential.

Retail Trends

Sarah Murphy, Traffic Manager

Roku gave us a peek at the holiday shopping season, noting that they expect more money to be spent this year. Because many people are still working from home, the most sought-after gifts are from the home and house goods category. People are spending more on their pets, and millennials are spending more than any other demo this year.

People are feeling more comfortable going into the stores, BUT the majority of holiday shopping will remain online. The bulk of online shopping happens during the workday, and 41% shop while streaming on a device, too. So, consumers may be watching a streaming video, see a commercial and then go online and shop for the product or service while still watching their streaming show. Cord cutters are not going back, so businesses that only advertise on traditional media are missing the opportunity to meet consumers where they are.

Tracking Digital Success

Sara West, Account Director

With cookie deprecation on the horizon, we’re all in the same boat, digitally speaking. All agencies and marketing efforts are going to be affected. That makes it more important than ever to keep your end goal(s) in mind and determine what metrics, and emerging metrics, you need to measure to prove your success. Above all, be nimble and ready to pivot. After all, if you can’t control the quality of your data, everything else is moot.

Diversity & Inclusion

Sue Spiry, Marketing Specialist

In a session about “The Inclusion Revolution,” we learned that between 2020 and 2030, 90% of growth will come from Asian, Hispanic/LatinX and African American demographics. As minorities become majorities, the psychographics are changing. It’s not enough to check the “diversity” box. Consumers are savvy, which is why it’s important to implement strategic actions that are authentic and empowering. What you say and what you do must match, and brands must be reflective of the audiences they serve. Values-driven consumers are looking for values-driven brands, but brands have to be intentional and do the work to become trusted sources.

What’s Next?

It was great to take advantage of all Ad Week New York had to offer, and we’re already integrating what we learned into our work. If you have questions about your advertising strategy, we have answers. Reach out anytime to talk about refreshing your creative, refocusing your target or realigning your goals.