Takeaways and photos from DigitalMediaWorks 2017

Single-day event in Shanghai delivers industry insights and an intense workshop experience.

Attendees at DigitalMediaWorks 2017, which took place in Shanghai Thursday, heard from industry experts on subjects including storytelling, programmatic trends, online-to-offline marketing and experiential marketing—and that was all before they took part in a fast-paced pitching workshop with industry mentors.

Jane Lin-Baden, CEO of Isobar APAC, opened the event by commenting that the rise and fall of new media forms in China is phenomenal. Trends that pick up rapidly can become obsolete just as quickly, proving a difficult challenge for marketers.

"From the perspective of creatives, when we are talking about digital economy, it is not really digital but rather experience economy," said Lin-Baden. "In the end, we are talking about experiences that are related to the brands, but we are using a smarter way to present it by linking the online and offline experience."

Meanwhile, a keynote address by John Dao, general manager of the Channel Department in the Online Media Group at Tencent, highlighted native ads as an emerging trend, citing the success of The New York Times in this format of advertising.

Sunny Lai, ECD and creative partner at Reload, argued for the importance of "awesome" social-media storytelling, using a "superglue method" to link up all the elements in a great story when it comes to building brands in the mobile commerce era. He shared clips created by McDonald's from the viral story of a homeless boy in Philippines who did his homework outside of the fast-food restaurant as well as the meme monument video created by humour site 9gag.

Mandy Hou, deputy general manager and head of EC and programmatic at Publicis Media, said programmatic should not operate as a silo. Instead, she suggested that the programmatic team should work with the media team to work out the most effective media channels to place the content.

Another session focused on "O2O2O"—the connection between offline shops and ecommerce. Milan Jiang, founder and CEO of Verystar, said the end objective of all campaigns is to get consumers into stores. She also urged marketers not to focus on the pain points of the brand when planning campaigns; instead they should focus on the pain points in the retail experience. 

Finally, the creative team Apax Group impressed upon the attendees the importance of using experiential marketing in the new digital ecosystem, by showing case studies from Diesel.

Following the morning's seminar content, the attendees received a brief and were then divided into working groups, each with an industry mentor. Just a few hours later, the teams made pitches and then heard immediate feedback from the industry judges.

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