What to see at Advertising Week New York: Blockchain, AI and the retail apocalypse

Not sure what to see at Advertising Week New York? With so many venues, speakers and topics, it can be overwhelming! We’ve broken down the three areas which continue to dominate discussions within the ad industry. We’ve also highlighted the talks we are looking forward to around each topic.

Why are people still talking about Blockchain?

It feels like we have been talking about blockchain forever, and that’s because we have. Ten years in fact! The first blockchain was conceptualised back in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin. It’s come a long way since then and many people believe that the technology will revolutionise numerous markets including the advertising sector.

With problems of fraud, complicated supply chains and lack of control over data privacy, many believe that blockchain could help to bring some transparency back into digital advertising. They believe this will be done replacing the current online model with one in which companies have more control over campaign performance tracking, and ensuring equitable outcomes.

Whatever your thoughts are on the technology it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. There are lots of discussions and talks planned around how it could disrupt digital advertising next week.

What to see at Advertising Week New York

Out of all the talks on blockchain this year, we’re especially looking forward hearing Venture Capitalist Bill Tai’s Blockchain Crash Course. This is happening on Thursday afternoon on the IBM Watson stage.

How much longer do I have to wait until machines can think for me?

AI is advancing all the time and Google recently revealed Duplex. This gives their Assistant the ability to make calls on your behalf. It can also book appointments for you like your haircut, or a table at your favourite restaurant! Scary I know!

Boston based emotional intelligence company Affectiva are also working on software which will allow AI to read facial expressions. This will open up the possibility of assistants being able to make recommendations to us without us needing to say a word to them!

AI robots

More and more companies are creating voice assistants, and piggybacking on the tech of Alexa, Google or Messenger to create specialised assistants. A good example of this is Diageo’s “Open the bar”, or Estée Laude offering nutritional advice, where you have the dialogue with the brand, not Alexa.

Our Futurist, Elena Corchero recently wrote an article around how AI and future tech will change the way brands communicate with consumers. She believes that if brands are not careful they will easily get bypassed by other tech savvy competitors. AI will be a huge talking point at Advertising Week.

What to see at Advertising Week New York

After appearing on our Home Show Live, we are looking forward to hearing IV.AI’s views on the impact of AI on different industries. We are also looking forward to IBM kicking off the week with their ‘Survival of the Fittest in an AI World’ talk.

Is retail dead yet?

shopping mall

Over the past year the conversation around retail has changed. Many thought that physical stores would eventually shut down and everything would move online. Although we have seen a lot of store closures and retail chains disappearing in the US, many retailers have embraced the digital era. They are finding new ways to attract customers with combined on and offline advertising campaigns.

Rather than seeing the online space as separate to the physical store, many retailers are combining their approach and using digital to attract customers to their stores. Amazon opened their first physical store in the US last year. It allows customers to shop by simply taking products off the shelf and charging them directly rather than having to queue at a till.

The online US lingerie company Adore Me opened their first physical stores last year. After seeing the benefits of having a combined on and offline presence, they have announced that they plan to open another 200-300 stores in the US in the next five years.

As retailers continue to see the benefits of a combined on and offline approach, they are looking for their ad campaigns to follow suit. Expect a lot of conversations around the benefits and drawbacks of combining online and offline advertising in campaigns.

What to see at Advertising Week New York

This year there are a number of talks on this subject. We are especially looking forward to hearing SET’s CEO Alasdair Lloyd-Jones on why he believes the retail apocalypse is a myth.

To find out how we could help improve your ad campaigns check out our offering.

If you are going to be at Advertising Week and would like to chat with one of our team get in touch.

We’ll also be live tweeting from Advertising Week so follow us to stay up to date with the latest news!