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Takeaways from Native Advertising Days 2024 Day 1: Ain’t no mountain high enough – out-of-the-trashbox inspiration

By Native Advertising Institute on June 17, 2024

Hubbub founder Trewin Restorick knew blaming smokers for cigarette butts was not going to magically tidy them up. Instead, he asked how smokers could be persuaded not to discard them onto the street. 

Listening to young men leaving a London pub, he realised their biggest passion was not their jobs or families, but football. Ballot bins asking smokers to use their butts to vote for either Ronaldo or Messi saw numbers reduced in the UK capital by 73 percent in just one year.

Look out for the bins on your next visit: there’s probably a poll on Trump vs Biden.

One marketer’s trashbox is another …

This out-of-the-box/in-the-trashbox example was cited by Carla Johnson in ‘RE:Think Innovation’, the opening presentation on Day 1 of Native Advertising Days 2024, as a classic demonstration of how to break through the ‘Three-Storey Limit’. 

Other examples included Persil reclaiming dirt as its champion, Mattel selling the idea that Dad has a place in Barbieworld, and Emerson reminding its employees that their children and employer share the same values.

Carla’s presentation brilliantly set the tone for a day of inspiration at DGI-byen in Copenhagen:

“Are you the disrupted or disruptors – are your creative processes limiting your way of thinking?” 

Follow the wheel of innovation – Observe, Distill, Relate, Generate, Pitch – and you can break through your ‘Three-Storey Limit’ and build your own skyscrapers, she concluded.

Thinking ‘outside in’ instead of ‘inside out’

Next up on the main stage, Victor Wendel from Bonnier News Brand Studio shared some of his company’s own skyscrapers: super-successful native advertising campaigns that pack an emotional punch.

And Pacific Content Head of Strategy Annalise Nielsen (yes, she does have some Danish heritage) outlined the gap in the markets of many countries for skyscraper podcasts to capitalise.

But for a true successor to the ethos of Carla’s address, the audience had to wait for  ‘How to be a Corpfluencer’, a compelling presentation by Henric Smolak – Country Director at Azerion, Sweden’s biggest tech-podcaster – in Track 1. 

‘Why is a teenager with a smartphone better at their job than your entire marketing team?’ he provocatively asked those present.

Brands no longer have the ability to think long-term and have lost sight of the immense value (and opportunities to monetise) that comes from building a large audience or community, he argued, countering: 

Brands need to think ‘outside in’ instead of ‘inside out’ and favour content that is inspired by ‘what the audience wants to hear’, not ‘what the brands want to tell’.

Let the games begin: why the power of play is immense

Engagement was also the focus in Track 2 where Andreas Fabricuis and Dennis Rohde Ladegaard from Playable were joined by Joen Dahl from Ekstra Bladet Brand Stories for ‘The Power of Play’.

The audience learned how humans are hardwired to play and happily engage with ads that encourage them to spin the wheel or test their skills, making them more likely to give up data as they advance through the layers of engagement.

Native advertisers can really step up the quiz angle with hypotheticals like “What kind of world leader would you be” – before they know it, users are happy volunteering all their dictatorial tendencies – or quizzes they will play multiple times in search of a perfect score.

This was the case with a recent poser that bore many similarities with Trewin Restorick’s cigarette butt ballot. Joen recounted how a campaign for Max to promote ‘House of the Dragon’ split Denmark in two halves, Zealand and Jutland, so quizzers were proudly competing on behalf of their region.

Gamification like this, concluded the presentation, ensures content is better remembered than it would be from an article.

Joen then popped up at one of the round-tables, the Influencer A-Z led by Anne Bolstad from Norway’s Schibsted Partnerstudio, who challenged participants to predict the success of campaigns featuring glamour models outside their comfort zones. 

The takeaway? What might be good for the eyeballs isn’t necessarily a winner for sales. But the same argument couldn’t be made about the vast array of lunchtime dishes in the DGI-byen cafeteria – they tasted as good as they looked.

Who do you trust to win? Jurgen Klopp, AI or Morpheus from ‘The Matrix’

So where to next? The takeaways were coming thick and fast in Tracks 1 and 2:

  • In a homage to Jurgen Klopp underlining the importance of earning trust in your audience, LinkedIn’s Claire Austin cited a Cantor survey saying humour is one of the most powerful tools in posts on this platform

  • Schibsted Partnerstudio CEO Mikaela Folkestad delivered compelling insights to a packed auditorium in her Matrix-inspired presentation ‘Will you take the Red or the Blue Pill?’, which turned out not to be a question but a Morpheus directive to find out how “deep the rabbit hole goes”.

  • Brand Movers Head of Video and Partner Alexander Aude discussed how establishing why and what is key to working with AI, delivering insights regarding how it can be used (and not) when producing video.

  • Anders Lithner and Amanda Mattsson from Brand Metrics took a deep dive into the methodology behind measuring the effect of native advertising.

Of the four, the latter had the most killer native advertising-related takeaway: “Display advertising is how you meet new people, but native advertising is what gets you married.” 

Gospel truths: ugly feet and annoying kids

It was then back to the Main Stage for the concluding keynotes, some pre-awards advice and gospel music. Say what? Yes, gospel music!

‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’ was certainly the takeaway of the presentations by T Brand Studio Managing Director Raquel Bubar and Head of Seznam Brand Studio Andy Sitta, ‘Navigating the Next Era’ and ‘Winning with Creativity not Cash’, which respectively digested the appeal of ugly feet and annoying children.

But it was left to Native Advertising Institute Partner Stine Holmgaard to steal the show when she invited her very own gospel choir on stage to deliver a medley of soul-pleasing classics.

It was an ebullient display that dropped jaws, fittingly bringing an inspiring day of presentations to an end. 

Next stop the awards!