Abid Hussain Barlaskar

"The recipe for ads has changed": Google's Kim Larson

"By 2025, millennials will account for 70 per cent of India's population, which will be slightly higher than the global average of 68 per cent. These are digital natives and fundamentally consume media differently and demand a different approach. So, what does it have to do with advertising?" Asked Kim Larson, managing director, Global Creativity Services, Google during the keynote for marketers at Google For India 2019.

Kim Larson, managing Director, Global Creativity Services, Google
Kim Larson, managing Director, Global Creativity Services, Google

"The job to be done is still the same. Great ads have to catch our attention and it’s getting harder with each day. Then, they have to drive action to drive businesses. That's where the change comes in," she said.

Larson mentioned that the traditional recipe of advertising starts with a good insight that becomes a springboard to an idea. This idea goes through rigorous production and then goes on to the media.

"That's not how it works anymore. Using cloud computing coupled with machine learning techniques, we can change the approach to insights, production and media. Today, insights fundamentally depend on the ability to access quality data and the ability to ask the right questions. Often times, we don't always know what we are looking for and there is a lot of inefficient data crunching that occurs. It can be more efficiently done by machines. Machines are good at finding patterns and figuring out trends and that's usually where a good idea is," she explained.

Post the insight chapter, Larson flipped over to the production and media part. "There are a lot of pain points. But just like insights, machines can eliminate a lot of the work that goes into making ads. So how do we minimise production costs particularly when everyone is pushing to short form video?" she asked.

Larson went on to present an HDFC ad, which was a short video created by combining a static display ad with a voice over and animations with the HDFC MOGO as the background audio. Larson mentions that brands don't need to shoot each and every ad. She then shifted to personalisation and the scale needed to reach customers in a diverse market.

The Cadbury Fuze Campaign
The Cadbury Fuze Campaign

Larson flaunted Google's scale of personalisation with an ad campaign executed for Cadbury Fuze. She revealed that the technology helped create 92,000 optimised versions of a single ad, stressing on the ones that did well, saving 99 per cent of time involved in creative development and with twice the recall.

Addressing agencies, Larson stressed on the fact that ideas are important and technology can only amplify their effectiveness. She maintained that machine learning cannot replicate the emotional connection, cannot take the germ of an idea, nor can it take a mental leap or be able to create a story arc and elements such as anticipation and surprise.

"There is business for all for a long time," she said as she wrapped up.