Last week at ad:tech Paris I got to hang out with VP-Strategy Robin Sloan of Current TV. We built rapport over Extremely Important Stuff: why the universe needs Battlestar Galactica, how you (or, well, I) can't get a good burrito in Paris, and whether the talking space ship in Flight of the Navigator would look as cool today as it did when we were weebies.
Anyway, at some point I randomly said, "Can I take video of you talking?" or something to that effect, and he was all, "Cool," and by some strange juju I managed to catch him saying some pretty agreeable stuff about the media industry: what it needs (in the context of the perfect conference) and where it's headed.
To promote the debut of the new Lancia Delta, 200 horses appeared in the city of Amsterdam. It's formidable to witness, and still more impressive is the sight of all those somber-looking Amsterdammers, taking pictures the way kids take exams.
Three Lancia Deltas were hidden within the cavalry and ultimately revealead on the RAI Square, where the Netherlands' biggest car event happens every year.
ad:tech Paris wrapped up with a keynote called Facebook Today and Tomorrow, conducted by Commercial Director Blake Chandlee of Facebook's EMEA segment (Europe, the Middle East and Asia).
I already LiveTweeted the sesh so the last thing I want to do is type it all out again. The biggest takeaways: Mark Zuckerberg is God, and God's particular mantra is "Efficiency, Effectiveness, Scale."
One of the bigger bits of news eclipsing this talk was a recent announcement that Facebook is now 200 million (active) users strong. According to Chandlee, 50% of those users log in every day and spend an average of 25 minutes on the site.
And while the US once composed 70% of Facebook's total user figures, it's now just 30% -- not because growth has slowed on our turf, but because it's blossomed elsewhere. (France, for example, exploded from 2 million users last year to 9 million this year.)
Here are a few key video moments, punctuated by random Tweetdom.
No ad:tech's an ad:tech unless there's a session that speculates, however pointlessly, on the future of advertising. This particular variant featured New Media Director Robin Sloan of Current TV and General Director Travis Katz of MySpace. The moderator was Editor in Chief Nicolas Arpagian of Prospective Strategique.
Interesting sidenote about this panel: Arpegian posed all questions in French; Sloan and Katz wore magic insta-translating devices that enabled them to respond in English without missing a beat. It was so "Star Trek."
Sloan was up first, and he kicked off with something unexpected. Positioning his presentation as if we were already living in the year 2019, he walked us through the "past" 10 years.
Video snapshots below.
Yesterday EVP/GM-Global Ad Sales Chris Dobson of the BBC conducted a keynote on what it takes to succeed in the rapidly-changing media landscape.
The BBC, of course, was his primary example; though whether you believe it's one of the most forward-moving brands in the stratosphere is subjective. (Frankly, I'll buy it when the iPlayer is finally Mac-ready.)
It's weird about Paris. You get the sense that it's a lot like San Francisco: picturesque, unassuming, discreet by night. But beneath the surface, it's really more like New York: roaming, sleepless. You just don't realize the latter until you're swept up in it, holding on for dear life, then you look around and realize you haven't dreamt for days.
On Monday afternoon at Marketing 2.0, all 250+ speakers, moderators and attendees were invited to dinner at Bistrot Renaissance. Given the girth of our group, we thought the venue would be sizable -- so it was with surprise when I showed up to find it was no bigger than a cafe.
People sat in groups of four or six, wherever they could be squeezed together. (For visitors that popped in just for a drink or something, it must've seemed like every social media zealot in Europe had alighted upon the Renaissance with a vengeance.)
But claustrophobic spacing breeds intimacy among the far-flung. I was squeezed into a table with a girl from a British agency, Senior Editor Elsbeth Eilander of Tijdschrift voor Marketing, Marketing Exec Cedric Giorgi of Goojet and Sven Markschlager of JagerMeister -- who I knew already, because we'd become Designated Conference Walking Buddies. (Seriously? He talks about Jager ALL. THE. TIME. Did you know that in Germany, older people drink it to settle their stomachs? Or that it's preferred as a mixer in Australia? No? Now you do.)
All told, a pretty low-key night. We did the business-card-exchange thing, and I went home fairly early (around 11), which is great because on Tuesday, all flippin' hell broke loose.
David Armano -- you know the one -- was in town with his wife. We shook hands for the first time on Tuesday afternoon and he casually asked if I'd like to go to dinner. I was like, "Sure," mainly because I had no idea what havoc said dinner would wreak.
One of my favourite Marketing 2.0 talks, besides the Paula Berg stuff, was by Scott Monty, Ford Motor Co.'s social media man.
The guy's been alternately lauded and lashed, but I think he's the real deal. It's not even just that he's a nice guy; he's not afraid to express a scathing truth from top-of-mind, even if it stings. Social media's all about that: finding out who people really are, before they can terrace their images.
I didn't take any video (bummer), but I'll let you in on a priceless moment during his Q/A, when Sandrine Plasseraud of We Are Social asked about ROI tracking for social media campaigns.
Monty scoffs and goes, "ROI is a campaign metric; social media is a commitment. [...] What's the ROI of putting your pants on in the morning?"
This session razed the Richter Scale of Awkward for too many reasons.
To start with, I don't think reps from Facebook and MySpace were supposed to speak together. They were placed on the same panel in the interest of saving time.
Everyone was anxious for lunch -- which, it turns out, was more of an appetite-whetter than a satisfier; moderator Fred Cavazza spent most of the panel talking about other stuff; Damien Vincent of FB expressed a Freudian allegiance for the other team; and -- oh yeah! -- Cavazza conducted makeshift photo ops during the presentation.
MySpace's Olivier Hascoat was cool though, except for that moment where he reluctantly poses for an iPhone shot while Vincent's talking. Way to be a sport.
In the event that you didn't catch all that, take an audio/visual tour:
Maybe it's true what they say about Paris: You get a mite more existential while here.
Marketing 2.0 took place at ESCP-EAP University in Paris this year. It spanned both Monday and Tuesday.
I moderated a few panels and the wifi was down both days, so there was no way to cover the event in the detail I would've liked. Before my camera died though, I tried this thing where I just recorded random snippets of speaker talks.
This post is devoted entirely to Paula Berg, Manager of Emerging Media at Southwest.
I don't have particularly strong feelings about Southwest, but seeing her discuss its approach to consumers -- in both good times and bad -- made me wanna do the cattle call after all. She's good people, and it seems like she addresses situations with humility and openness instead of just reacting. Her presence at Southwest speaks more for its corporate culture than for any social media strategem.
See the goods below.