Miles Young talks to CBN Weekly

The following is an English translation of the interview published in CBN Weekly on March 7th, 2016. The original article can be viewed here.

How should a company conduct content marketing? According to Miles Young, Worldwide Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, an advertiser, like publishers and media, should be engaged in the production of content. In fact, his idea has been a topic of discussion in the advertising industry for years. However, the discussions are merely about the production of content on social networks, but rarely about promotion. The Contextual advertising is expected to be an increasingly popular trend in the next five to ten years.

CBN Weekly: What is the biggest change to the advertising industry and traditional advertisers in recent years?

Miles Young: Many people are talking about digitalization. Yet, if you choose to embrace digitalization, you’ll find that our means of communication with consumers have thoroughly changed. We used to place ads on mass media for clients, but now we’re keen to send advertising content directly to users. In the past, advertising content was well packaged, like TV commercials, posters and DM advertising. This model is changing. An emerging advertising model is contextual advertising. This new model has created a new way of thinking and ecosystem. Now, consumers may choose any content they wish to use. Content should be interesting enough to encourage active participation by consumers. In the next five to ten years, differences between content-oriented industries like advertising, publishing and media, will become more blurred. We’re not just producing an ad or a book, but also content. You need to tell stories in different ways. In the advertising market, one major trend is that we’re now playing the role of content producer or publisher instead of traditional advertiser.

CBN: For the contextual advertising model, do ads mostly take the form of native ads? Could you say something about the content-based ad ecosystem?

MY: They are more than native ads. For instance, many extended video contents and even games are the content-oriented ads that we’ve already attempted to develop. We can draw a cross chart to describe this ecosystem. For the lateral axis, on the left is Mass and on the right is Individual. For the vertical axis, the upper part is Entertainment and the lower part is Useful. Now we’re producing four types of content on different dimensions. Mass entertainment covers a wide variety of content. We once developed a case for Vittel (Nestle’s high-end bottled water brand). The bottle cap, like an alarm clock, reminds you to drink water. We also designed a video ad for Vittel. Many people shared the content, because it interested them. For individualized entertainment, we usually design online technology-laden and interactive games. In the case of Vittel, consumers are informed thanks to our practical content as to when to drink water and how much water to drink each day. In this way, they come to realize that 80% of people often forget to drink water.  The last point is every easy to understand. It’s about the production of useful information for target customers.

CBN: Do you believe that the mobile channel will enjoy the best advantage in the contextual advertising?

MY: No. It is simply one of several effective methods. The mobile channel is critical, but in this new ad world, traditional channels are also important and will continue to play their usual roles. TV is still an essential channel. If you introduce a new product, a new brand of bottled water and a new mobile phone, you must inform people. TV can still achieve the broadest coverage. You may have noticed the interactive ad format which involves both TV and mobile phone. This also shows that TV as a channel will always have value. From this perspective, the mobile channel creates new opportunities for TV.

CBN: Some small independent advertisers are showing their strengths in terms of contents and creative design thanks to their efficiency and speed. Are these advertisers putting any pressure on the traditional advertisers?

MY: I don’t think there’s any pressure of this kind. If you’ve ever witnessed global ad expos, you won’t find a single small independent advertiser from China or other regions. They’re not large enough right now. For one, it may be difficult to build a solid reputation. In addition, their small size will restrict their marketing and advertising capability in reaching global consumers. They may be market leaders in one city or several cities, but they hardly pose a threat to traditional advertisers. What’s more, small advertisers lack the foundations of the latter. We spend much time on training staff, and we have the corporate culture and creative spirit that have survived for decades and even over one century. These types of advantages are impossible for the small advertisers. 

Date: March 18, 2016