Connect: The digital vs linear battle

On 19 October, representatives from MKTG, Eurosport, CONTENTed and Twitter gathered to discuss the increasingly important role of digital in brand advertising and activations. But will digital ever completely take over from more linear methods?

The Rio Olympics in 2016 highlighted a huge innovation in the ways in which brands are using digital technology for activations and campaigns. Speakers from creative agency MKTG, Eurosport, Twitter and CONTENTed discussed the transition into and increasing importance of digital technology for brands looking to activate. 

However, this does not mean that traditional, linear activations and campaigns have become irrelevant. During a presentation from Jonathan Davies, managing director of advertising and partnerhsips for Eurosport and Discovery Channels, guests learnt that 95% of viewers during Rio 2016 were watching on linear television, rather than consuming content via digital means.

In addition, Adam Bullock, CEO and co-founder of video studio CONTENTed, outlined that linear and digital methods can come together to elevate consumer experience. He said: "It's about understanding the ecosystem that we work in. Whether it be linear TV channels, or enabling platforms - if you can tie those elements together, I think you'll be well placed for the future. But I don't think one element will win out."

Charlie Wylie, head of sports and entertainment at MKTG, commented: "The world is becoming a much more experience-based and shareable economy. People want to share their experiences, but you've got to give them that experience. I think we'll see a move away from brand-led campaigns, into something that adds value and meaning to a consumer. Actually engaging with consumers is going to become exponentially more important."

Each speaker agreed that it's the consumer experience that is moving to the centre of brand activations, and technology is devloping to help that transition. The introduction of technologies like virtual reality (vr) use digital methods to provide the consumer with an engaging, memorable experience.

Bullock said: "VR and 360 [video] are two of the biggest opportunities in our [sports] industry. Virtual Reality will be a huge growth area, but for me it's a specialist industry. It will play an increasing part in our world, but it's not something you can cheat."

In July, Momentum Worldwide's Francesca Elliot discussed the importance of VR in experiential industries, and this month, creative director at RPM, Tim Jones, weighed in on the importance of customer experience in high-street retail

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