India is the most dynamic ad market in the world: Kim Larson, Google Brandlab

Larson, Global Director at Google Brandlab, speaks about the paradigm shift in ads from television to digital, and digital to mobile-first

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Sep 20, 2019 11:31 AM

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Kim Larson

Advertisers are undoubtedly moving towards an ecosystem where the primary focus is on mobile-first campaigns and Google is helping them do so. From innovation to creating a mobile-friendly format, Google is working closely with agencies in India to make digital ads more persuasive and personalized.

At the Google for India 2019 meet. Kim Larson, Global Director at Google Brandlab,  spoke to exchange4media on the paradigm shift in ads from television to digital and digital to mobile-first. Larson leads Google’s global brand services for top brands which include creative and media strategy, ad intelligence, tech innovation and consumer insights. Her teams are pioneering the use of machine learning to build data-driven creative best practices for the industry.

Digital ads seem to be the way forward. Be it the big brands or the small one everyone now wants to grab the attention of the digital audience. How is Google contributing to this growing digital ad space in India?

India is the most dynamic ad market in the world. And so we should be here. And we're also just learning. And what's really exciting is that we're learning together. It is amazing how technology is driving the growth in the ad space. Technology and machine learning is actually enabling creativity in new ways. The other thing we're doing is investing in partnerships. We realize we need to get creative, closer to the agency ecosystem and the creator ecosystem. So we've invested in something called the Re:Think Advisory Council so that we do a better job of listening to the market.

Tell us more about the Re:Think Advisory Council.  

Earlier this year, we announced a ‘Re:Think council’, for industry leaders to come together and drive this new way of creative storytelling, across the board. The advisory board is made up of different parts of the creative ecosystem. So we have a filmmaker on there. We've got someone from Kantar to talk about the research and the measurement aspects. We also have a leading creative director there. So basically it's a listening board for us.

Talking about representatives on the council we have onboard Sonal Dabral, CCO, Ogilvy South East and South Asia, Rashi Goel, VP Consumer Communications, Media, CRM,  Nestle India, Sneha Iype, Co-Founder Nirvana Films and Sunder Mathuraman, CEO-APAC, Kantar.

Tell us about Google’s creative intelligence partnership with Ogilvy. Are you looking at more such partnerships?

Ogilvy has always been a really important partner. The creative intelligence partnership with Ogilvy is to really get more in the trenches and understand the market. We learn from each other in the process.

The partnership helps us get a better understanding of consumer insights where we look at everything from how content and the way to deal with it varies from platform to platform and how agencies can provide more help to advertisers in terms of getting better results with creativity in content which is not just consumer-specific but also platform-specific. With the partnership, we are more equipped with knowledge on what works better in the ad ecosystem here, what technologies and tools are required in the Indian market, and above all, building creatives like never before.

Our agency partnerships are really critical. We are definitely looking for more such partnerships.

While ads are getting innovative on one hand, consumer attention spans are reducing on the other. What are advertisers doing to get back the consumer's attention?  

One of the things that we're doing is personalisation. Personalised ads grab desired eyeballs. When you see an ad that is really relevant to you feel like-‘ Ah, this ad is really talking to me, it's relevant’. That’s when you decide to watch that ad and not choose the ‘skip ad’ option. From a brand perspective, personalization brings a big question on how many versions of the same ad do they create? More ads mean more content means more production works which of course makes it an expensive proposition. So there's something we have that helps the brands here. We have a tool where we can actually automate the personalization of an ad. One of the examples is Cadbury. For their recent campaign on Cadbury Fuse in India, they created 92,000 versions of an ad.

And the way that's done is through a back end content engine where we can customize graphics, we can customize voice over and various other elements of the ad. And that's incredibly time-saving for an agency. The tool is called the Director’s Mix. There are many leading FMCG brands that are using the tool too. One of them is L'Oréal.

So it is safe to say in the world of digital ads we are seeing a transition towards mobile-first campaigns? Are brands creating content for mobile effectively enough? How is Google helping?

Absolutely. I honestly can't remember the last time an advertiser came in asking for a desktop brief. It's very much mobile-first. When a phone is six inches from you, watching an ad is a very different experience from watching it on TV or desktop.  So we've actually built some creative best practices. And they are around things like saturation, brightness, which are really important. There are four best practices and we call them the ABCDs. We help brands use the ABCD formula to attract, brand, connect and direct their audience. With the formula, creative agencies can produce an ad that draws audience attention from the beginning where the brand integration is done naturally and meaningfully, connection with the viewer is established through emotion and storytelling and where the ad clearly states what it wants the viewer to do.

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