And some of the biggest names in digital advertising are taking the stage—Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Publicis CEO Maurice Levy are doing a joint on-stage conversation about the convergence of big data and communication. After that conversation Wednesday, MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan will interview Facebook VP Carolyn Everson, plus executives from Ford and MillerCoors, about the convergence of advertising and technology.
Starcom MediaVest Group took advantage of the spotlight of CES to unveil new technology to create branded content—articles that promote products—at scale, in a new cost-effective way. Until now, it's been time intensive to create "native" advertising, which make brand messages look like they're editorial content. But Starcom MediaVest's initiative, called "Content at Scale," lets advertisers tap into articles from publishers including Time, Martha Stewart Omnimedia and Forbes. The technology allows advertisers to browse a library of what's been published and include excerpts from articles in display ads. The publisher and advertiser then share the revenue.
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Weed is also looking for new start-ups in which Unilever's marketing venture fund could invest. The idea is to find tech-driven companies in the marketing space that will give Unilver's brands innovative ways to reach consumers. For example, Unilever invested in a mobile marketing company called Brandtone, which allows the company to deliver mobile ads not just to smartphones, but more basic feature phones around the world. Now, the consumer products company is hunting for the next technological innovation to allow it to reach consumers in a more efficient way.
So which companies will benefit from the shift toward digital? Desmond says she sees Yahoo, Google, and Twitter, plus Samsung, benefiting from the ongoing shift to mobile devices. Weed wouldn't pick favorites but says he's meeting with all the major players, from Microsoft and Samsung, to Twitter and Facebook.
With seemingly endless meetings and parties, the executives are touring the show floor. It all comes down to the rush for all these brands and executives to get "to the future first," as Weed put it.