Havas’ Lucien Boyer Bringing Data Into Experiential Marketing

Lucien BoyerWhen most people think about experiential advertising – like sponsoring a music festival or finding a way to showcase Coca-Cola into the Olympics without actually buying an ad – few consider it data-driven.

Lucien Boyer, global president and CEO of Havas Sports & Entertainment for the past seven years, has focused exclusively on these unblockable ad experiences. He hopes to bring more data into the process, using it to select the right opportunities for the brands it works with and measure the results.

Those insights can influence, say, programmatic strategies. Of course, that data’s also important to measure the campaign itself.

Consider the shoppable music video Havas created for UK ecommerce site Very.com (it’s only shoppable from British URLs). Very.com saw engagement rates 34% higher than the norms. Most importantly for the results-oriented retailer, sales went up 64%.

Boyer caught up with AdExchanger during Advertising Week.

AdExchanger: Havas Sports Entertainment is the “global brand engagement network of Havas.” What does that mean exactly?

LUCIEN BOYER: It’s how to engage people via their passion and tell a story for a brand that will tap into their passion that is completely strategic. We start with insight and strategy. We have a proprietary study we created, in collaboration with the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, to identify the passions that fit with a brand’s audience.

Why align with a “passion?” What does that do for the brand? The consumer?

When you’re engaged with a passion, whether it’s football, music or a movie, there is the logic of immersion. For those two hours you are away from your normal life. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for all week long, where you forget – it’s that intense engagement.

If I [as a brand] give them a performance-based story, getting backstage at a concert or telling an unheard story, thanks to me they are going to get better access to their passion. If you do it properly, it creates a long-lasting, sincere relationship with your target audience. 

What’s the advantage of engaging via a passion in a world of ad blocking?

We’re in a moment where brands have so much difficulty getting through the clutter. People aren’t ready to be imposed upon by things that they are not interested in, which is why they are doing ad blocking. Especially for the younger generation – they’re not going to pay attention at all if you don’t start with something they like.

Brands need to become a genuine player in the conversations people want to have privately. It could be the Oscars, the Super Bowl or the World Cup. During these moments they are talking about their passions, brands can be part of the conversation. You need to bring something to the game that is enhancing the experience of the fan. Through these ice breakers, you can begin a bigger conversation.

You mention being part of “private” conversations. Is that intrusive for consumers?

If you think about data, people are very private. They are not happy that brands are starting to search through their private data. They’re reluctant to share financial, health, family data.

But when it comes to passions, they are very open – the artists they like, how they feel about the game, the celebrities they follow on Instagram. They are absolutely open to share. That’s because when you are in your passion, you are yourself, and you’re sincerer.

This is a way to profile consumers. And it’s not about doing branded entertainment on the side. This should be in mainstream advertising.

How can brands use this data about their consumers’ passions?

The data you collect can be a strong competitive edge for brand. If the data is meaningful, brands can adapt the way they communicate services and products on the back of a story about something the consumers like. We are experts in the world of entertainment, and when we do things for brands that’s very authentic, we can connect across our village, with our colleagues who are experts in data.

We have the power of data specialists that have all the tools to make the experience even more relevant and connect to different types of people. When it comes to the mathematician, it’s using algorithms to figure out this is the way to use the content on social media, and then we can tap into guys doing the ad exchange platform and DSP. It’s data content management.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

 

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