Ken Suh on trust, emotions and making Unruly UNstoppable!

This week we sat down with Ken Suh from our New York office to talk about trust in advertising, the power of emotions, and what life is like as a COO at Unruly.

Q: Hi, first of all, could you introduce yourself and tell a bit about what you do here at Unruly?

I am the Global COO at Unruly and am based in New York. I have been with Unruly for four and a half years.

Q: How did you find out about Unruly?

I learned about Unruly online and also from colleagues in the industry.  Back then, I met the co-founders and I knew this was a very special place as soon as I met them.

Q: What notable roles did you hold prior to Unruly?

I worked in digital media before Unruly at companies including ABC News, MTV, and AOL. Before I worked in media I obtained my graduate MBA degree. Before that I spent some time working in finance.

Q: What draws you to the type of work you do?

I love the fact that Unruly is on a mission to transform advertising for the better! The team and culture here are the biggest difference makers for me.

Q: With trust being a huge talking point recently what does trust mean to you?

Trust is critical not only with our clients but also within teams. If you trust that I am doing everything I can to my best ability, then I am free to take risks, think big, and execute as best as I can and vice versa. Brands trust that we know more about their audiences than others do given our unique emotional targeting approach.

Publishers trust that we are providing them the most relevant video content for their users. I strongly believe that trust is one of the main driving factors that keeps, both brands and publishers, wanting to work with us again and again. This is what I hear when I’m speaking to publishers in meetings, at conferences and out on the road.

ken on stage at prog IO

Q: Tell us about something you’ve learned while working at Unruly?

I’ve learnt so much at Unruly and continue to learn everyday! Unruly has taught me to become extremely goal-oriented, the importance of teamwork, and strong accountability. The company’s culture is like nothing I have ever experienced and it’s really great to see how it continues today. People gravitate to Unruly from all over the world and it’s been really amazing to see that.

Q: What are Unruly doing to tackle Fake News?

Unruly is focused on working with premium publishers who create real content. Our Verified Marketplace in UK is a great example of how we partner with quality publishers and promote their offering to brands. Quality continues to be a priority at Unruly as 85% of all video delivery is on Comscore 1000 websites globally!

Q: How are Unruly building trust with their consumers?

I love how Unruly works to provide polite placements to consumers. All our formats are user-controlled and provide the greatest flexibility for consumers to interact if they so desire. Consumers are also all humans who are full of emotions, and continuing to understand emotions, and how it impacts our behaviours, is a fascinating area of exploration that Unruly continues to lead.

Q: It’s the weekend: what do you like to do in your spare time?

My weekends are packed with the family, shuttling them to sports practice, music lessons, and play dates around New York City. I also enjoy following sports of all types (including soccer/football), especially when it comes to my Chicago-based sports teams!

Q: What makes you believe in the work you do at Unruly?

Our mission hasn’t changed from day one, and neither has our culture. Meanwhile our teams have evolved and grown. I truly believe that together we can do anything! My advice is to everyone at Unruly is to keep learning, growing, finding areas of exploration, and most importantly, have fun doing it! If we continue to do this nothing can stop us!

In 2018, Unruly launched a pro bono charity ad campaign in Sweden to help The Red Cross, the global charity dedicated to supporting communities around the world when crisis strikes.

The ad campaign was designed to generate awareness among donors, increase support of humanitarian causes and compassionate values. The charity also wanted the campaign to generate new leads to grow future donations. 

Harnessing the power of emotional data

The Red Cross partnered with Unruly to harness the power of emotional data and targeting, to ensure the ad campaign was as effective as it could be.

The charity produced three videos which evoked emotions of sadness, pride and warm-heartedness. Audiences also said they felt informed when watching the videos.

Red Cross charity ad campaign

The intended audience was urbanites aged 25 and over. In order to reach this audience the brand used Unruly’s proprietary targeting tool UnrulyEQ to test the videos and find the most engaged audience (bullseye group) to target, and increase the core key performance indicators.

The ad was then targeted at the bullseye audiences and distributed at scale across our Premium Publisher Network. The video players were customised with bespoke brand bars and sharing buttons to boost brand recall and interactions.

Smashing the campaign results

The results were extraordinary. The campaign delivered an amazing 279,769 full completed video views!

What’s more, with the use of the custom audience targeting (building the audience with the most intense emotional response to the video) the campaign achieved an extra 90,000 completed views.The UnrulyEQ Customer Audience targeting video also achieved an uplift click through rate of more than 28% and more than 10% uplift in average time spent with the video.

The campaign over delivered by of 3%, which resulted in 7,042 views in added media value and brand awareness. The total completion rate for boths film was 51.25% which is a great result in comparison to our benchmark. Viewability scored 73.30%, beating MOATs industry benchmark in Sweden of 59.3%. The campaign delivered a total of 3,246 hours spent with brand!

Red Cross charity ad campaign

The Red Cross were extremely impressed with the results which hit all of its campaign objectives and smashed expectations!

“Unruly were quick to understand the needs of our charity ad campaign. Through both analysis and optimisation, Unruly contributed to an increase in engagement and distribution of Red Cross material. The Unruly custom analysis and the emotional data targeting generated increased donations to the Red Cross. This was valuable in helping us hit specific campaign goals and in generating insights which will help to inform our future communication strategy.”

Check out our other case studies.

Click here to get in touch with our team and find out how we could help supercharge your ad campaigns!

Post-GDPR, and before the full roll out of the CCPA, dependencies on third party data sets have been wound down. Marketers and agencies are now looking for signals familiar from traditional advertising buys, but that are often overlooked in programmatic.

This discussion focuses on how marketers are showing an increasing appetite to understand the connection between consumer emotions and digital advertising. Featuring pioneering insight from UnrulyEQ, the chat also addresses the rise of AI and what using traditional targeting methods via modern programmatic technology actually means for those on both the buy and sell sides of advertising.

This recording was taken at Trust Talks: The Great Programmatic Debate which happened in London on 6 November 2018. Speakers are James Chandler – CMO, IAB; Liam Brennan, Global Director of Innovation, MediaCom; Becky Waring, VP Insight, UnrulyEQ; Anna Forbes, UK general Manager, The Trade desk.

The&Partnership London and Lexus will next week unveil ‘Driven By Intuition’ – the world’s first advert written by an AI and shot by an Oscar-winning director, Kevin Macdonald, for the new Lexus ES.

Following on from the success of campaigns like The&Partnership’s 2015 Lexus Hoverboard Project, ‘Driven By Intuition’ aims to highlight Lexus’ credentials as a brand at the cutting edge of technical innovation, testing the boundaries of humans and machines working together.

By exploring the importance of intuition between man and machine, the campaign aims to showcase the uniquely responsive features of the new Lexus ES executive sedan – a car that responds intuitively to the driver’s intentions and changing road and traffic conditions.

The script for the 60” film was written by The&Partnership’s first “AI creative” – a specialist automated script-writer built in collaboration with tech partner Visual Voice.  The AI was given a unique understanding of human intuition which helped enable it to create a car advert to rival all others.

The AI, built with Visual Recognition support from IBM Watson, was ‘trained’ with 15 years’ worth of Cannes-Lions-winning car and luxury advertisements, and was primed with emotional intelligence data from Unruly to teach it which moments of those adverts connected most strongly with viewers. It was then coached in intuition via a bespoke experiment for The&Partnership by applied scientists MindX, based at the University of New South Wales. The study explored what makes somebody intuitive, as well as how people with high levels of intuition respond to car adverts.

The AI then produced the script for the campaign: a narrative rich in genuine human emotion and indistinguishable from something written by a human, bar some unexpected details. For example, the AI gives the character of the car sentience and surprising emotional depth – a machine telling the story of a machine coming to life. Alongside each line of the script, the AI produced a highly detailed data key, providing references spanning the 15 years’ worth of adverts it had studied to back up the effectiveness of each twist and turn in its storyline.

Some of the key findings from the AI in terms of the ingredients for a perfect car advert were that: the car doesn’t need to drive at all, unless this is part of the story; the driving should be peripheral to the story; characters in the story should have an emotional designator, for example a husband or father over driver or engineer; and the use of children helps increase the emotionality of an advert. Additionally, strong facial expressions are more powerful than strong language; ads are most effective where use of the spoken word is limited; use of a midpoint or twist is important to keep the story moving and to maintain interest; and the midpoint should involve an unexpected event, for example a crash or near miss.

The result is an unusual and engaging short drama: a 60” film telling the story of a Japanese Lexus Takumi Master craftsman who, having worked painstakingly on the new Lexus ES, releases his finished car out into the world – only for it to be kidnapped and nearly destroyed. At the crucial moment, however, the car comes to life to avoid its own test crash – demonstrating the engineering and design that make the new ES Lexus’s most intuitive model to date.

To bring the AI’s script to life, The&Partnership brought in visionary director Macdonald, whose films include ‘The Last King of Scotland’ and ‘Whitney’ as well as Oscar-winning documentary ‘One Day in September’.

Macdonald said he was immediately intrigued by the concept, recognising how it required a different approach from a conventional film. “When I was handed the script,” said Macdonald, “the melodrama of the story convinced me of its potential. The fact the AI gave a fellow machine sentience, placed it in a sort of combat situation, and then had it escaping into the sunset was such an emotional response from what is essentially a robot. The charmingly simplistic way the AI wrote the story was both fascinating in its interpretation of human emotion, and yet still unexpected enough to give the film a clearly non-human edge.”

The film is part of a multi-market, multi-asset platform rolling out across Europe to promote the Lexus ES executive sedan. The car’s innovative chassis boasts features including a GA-K (Global Architecture – K) platform and intelligent Lexus Safety System+ functions, enabling it to brake for the driver as well as responding to road and weather conditions.

The campaign, which will reach audiences across digital, social and cinema, was created and overseen by Dave Bedwood, Creative Partner at The&Partnership London, and produced by Carnage.

Dave Bedwood, Creative Partner at The&Partnership London, said: “I thought I’d be writing an ad with the assistance of A.I. Instead it took over and wrote the whole script: a machine telling the story of a machine coming to life. A lot of other AI work to date has been interesting because of the process itself. This has been fascinating – maybe scary – because the end product is good in its own right.”

Vincent Tabel, Senior Brand Manager at Lexus Europe, said: “Here at Lexus we love to push the boundaries of technology and design, and that’s why we wanted to do something completely different – a world first – to launch the new Lexus ES. The ES is both intuitive and innovative, so we wanted the advert to reflect this. The resulting film surpasses our expectations of what an AI is capable of, from its creativity to its human emotion.”

Alex Newland, Co-Founder of Visual Voice, said: “This was both a challenging and fascinating project to be a part of. From the outset, it was almost impossible to know what level of quality or intelligibility the AI would produce. To see the project brought together with such a rich finished piece is extremely satisfying to witness. We believe this project moves AI-generated content from being a novelty gimmick into the beginnings of true, stand-alone creative merit.”

The&Partnership London’s CEO Sarah Golding has called upon the advertising industry as President of the IPA to grasp the opportunities for growth afforded by bringing AI and creative talent together. Her two-year ‘Magic & the Machines’ agenda for the IPA aims to future-proof commercial creativity, and challenges advertising practitioners to embrace ‘our new colleagues, the machines’ in order to produce more creative magic.

Said Golding: “Working on a collaboration between Lexus, Kevin Macdonald and an AI creative has been our most exciting foray into Big, Bold and Bionic creativity to date. It’s fascinating to see how the AI has absorbed and drawn on Cannes Lions’ most prized car and luxury ads – but the dollop of magic sauce is in our AI’s insights into human intuition, and how to provoke an emotional response in an audience.”

Check out the ad below.

NextM is an event created by media agency group, GroupM.

The event is a forum to inspire new ideas, ignite conversation and deliver exposure to new concepts and original thinking. It is attended by some of the world’s leading advertisers and publishers including Google, AppNexus, and Bauer Media. 

The annual NextM event takes place is Dusseldorf, and kicks off this week. Unruly Futurist Eleanor Corchero will take to the main stage to talk about the impact of IoT in advertising, and how the connected home will change the way brands interact with consumers.

Find out more about the event.

Sarah Wood has been ranked alongside some of the UK’s biggest influencers in this year’s LinkedIn Top Voices list.

The list is made up of the 10 must-know Influencers driving the business conversation in the UK and beyond, and includes author and speaker Bernard Marr, Hays CEO Alistair Cox and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

To find all of the standout voices, LinkedIn used a combination of data and editorial signals. They screened for engagement among professionals sharing in their area of expertise, looking at what kind of conversations – measured by engagement, including comments and re-shares their original content is creating.

They also tracked relative follower growth: are these Influencers attracting dedicated fans in their particular sector? Finally, they emphasized quality and diversity; in order for the list to reflect the world we work in.

Follow Sarah on LinkedIn and check out the rest of the list here.

Advertisers in New Zealand can now maximise the local impact of their video content, using UnrulyEQ.

Did you know that kiwis tend towards individualism rather than collectivism, which is in keeping with their Aussie neighbours, but also Brits, Canadians and Americans? Or that New Zealanders are very secure – meaning that in general they are less likely to buy things to feel good about themselves.

Unique cultural insight like this has been used to create two new bespoke products for the New Zealand market – launched today at ad:tech Auckland – by the video marketplace you can trust, Unruly. These products are designed to help advertisers maximise the impact of their video content and target cultural audiences at scale.

The impact of culture on consumer response to content has long been known intuitively by advertisers, and now work by Unruly has quantified this impact for the first time.

Based on the seminal cultural framework developed in the late 60s / early 70s by behavioural psychologist Geert Hofstede, and exclusive access to MediaCom’s Cultural Connections research, Unruly’s cultural insight allows advertisers to build up an extremely accurate picture of the cultural leanings of a market, and individuals within that market.

Unruly, a News Corp company, has incorporated this quantified cultural data into its video content testing solution – UnrulyEQ Max, and targeting segments – UnrulyEQ Custom Audiences for the New Zealand market.

UnrulyEQ Max allows advertisers to discover, and capitalise on, the emotional impact of their video content prior to launch. The tool utilises a variety of data sources, such as facial coding and declared survey data, to understand the impact of video creative on local audiences. Higher emotional impact drives engagement, brand recall and ultimately sales. A Nielsen consumer neuroscience study found that ads with above-average electroencephalography (EEG) scores deliver a 23% lift in sales volume (Nielsen consumer neuroscience internal study, FMCG brands, –2015). In other words, the more emotive an ad is, the more people will react to it. If an ad triggers the right emotional responses and is attributed to the correct brand, it will likely lead to increased sales.

UnrulyEQ

With culture greatly influencing the emotions people feel when watching content, the addition of Unruly’s cultural insights to the UnrulyEQ tool gives local advertisers the opportunity to further predict both campaign and brand success by pre-testing content for cultural resonance in New Zealand.

The new bespoke test also allows global and trans-Tasman advertisers to understand whether existing video content can be repurposed for the New Zealand market – giving them the opportunity to adapt creative at the pre-testing stage.

Unruly’s audience targeting solution – UnrulyEQ Custom Audiences – helps advertisers find the most receptive audiences for their video content. Using UnrulyEQ methodology, Unruly can uncover the most emotionally engaged audiences, audiences to match brand personas and consumers with the strongest intent to buy a product or those with a specific brand affinity.

With the addition of its exclusive cultural data, Unruly’s Custom Audiences solution now allows advertisers in New Zealand to further maximise the effectiveness of their video content by reaching audiences with the greatest cultural affinity to their video content.

Finding the cultural bullseye for a campaign can results in uplifts of up to 40% in purchase intent, up to 55% in brand promoters and up to 26% in brand favourability (all vs. the average consumer response to a video – Unruly testing)

Ricky Chanana, Unruly’s Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand said, “Thanks to our unique access to MediaCom’s groundbreaking Cultural Connections data, video advertising has just become a lot smarter.

In an age when media budgets are being squeezed and the need for efficiency is greater than ever, it is critical to understand how video creative will perform before media dollars are deployed. Our UnrulyEQ testing and targeting solutions can help advertisers to reduce media wastage and ensure better engagement with consumers.

Our cultural targeting segments can be used to maximise the impact of the ads even in situations where videos cannot be edited. We can find pockets of ambitious individualists in collectivist markets, find fashionistas in markets where function reigns and curious cats in markets where the norm is closed.

New Zealand is a unique market, with a unique set of cultures, and these tools will give our clients confidence that their campaigns won’t just reach people, they’ll move them.”

They kept us waiting for what seemed like forever but the John Lewis & Partners’ Christmas ad is finally here!

The UK department store released their Christmas ad entitled Elton John Lewis this morning (Thursday 15). The UK chain kept the public waiting for longer than usual and changed a number of their storefront names from John Lewis to John in the lead up which built up the excitement even more.

This morning their ad was released to the world with mixed opinions. This year’s ad feels very different to anything they’ve done before. Years gone by have featured woodland creatures, penguins, and monsters, often with playful and youthful tones. This year was a step away from that, with the brand using the life of global pop star Elton John to tell their Christmas story.

The chain changed their name to John Lewis & Partners earlier this year so perhaps Elton John Lewis is a statement to the world that they are moving in a new direction, or maybe they just fancied a shake up of the traditional model they have stuck to for so long.

An emotional perspective

Our UnrulyEQ Insights team have given us their first impressions of the Elton John Lewis ad and what emotions they believe it evokes. They have also looked at how it compares on an emotional level to John Lewis & Partners Christmas ads from the past three years.

A clear trend across the past three years has been that of aiming for the relatable and the magic of Christmas; ‘Man On The Moon’ focused on loneliness around Christmas, ‘Buster The Boxer’ on the sheer joy of Christmas and ‘Moz The Monster’ on the experience of monsters under the bed, whilst bringing a loving Christmas attitude to the story.

Elton John Lewis on the other hand offers a complete change in focus and goes down the route of watching the life of a pop legend in rewind. The ad ends with him as a child getting his first piano for Christmas. It offers a clear depiction of the effect a gift can have on someone’s life. Receiving a piano  set the course of Elton John’s life and career, which turned out to be life-changing.

How does it compare?

Previous years’ focus on relatability has proved to drive a strong emotional response amongst viewers; tugging at the heartstrings by portraying the magic of Christmas through the innocent eyes of children. In contrast, even though Elton John Lewis is likely to be less applicable to the greater population, it is likely to drive strong pride evoked from depicting a national treasure such as Elton John. This is likely to be coupled with warmth from depicting not only Elton John’s extraordinary career, but also that he was once just a boy receiving a gift at Christmas.

John Lewis ad comparison

Even though many will find Elton John’s story emotional, there is likely to be a proportion of viewers who question the ad’s emphasis on Christmas. Furthermore, with the film ‘Rocket Man’ being released in the spring, which tells the story of Elton John’s life, some might query the promotional aspects of this ad.

Ultimately, with much anticipation, we are awaiting the true effects of Elton John Lewis which marks a new style of Christmas ad from the brand. We are expecting a strong but potentially polarising emotional response from the British people.

Check out our insights on some of the most popular Christmas ads from the past few years.

Find out more about our UnrulyEQ offering.

On 15th November our Associate Director of Strategic Sales Ella Gribben and VP of Insights Becky Waring will be talking at Mindshare’s Huddle 2018 along with the Visualogical team.

Huddle is a jam-packed event of intimate and no-holds-barred discussions about the future of media, and each year the event focusses on a different subject. This year the focus is on ‘The New Era of Influence’.

The session entitled ‘The Art of Science and Emotions’ will take participants on a journey that explores the different applications of emotional data and demonstrates how emotions provide the competitive edge in a brands media strategy, now and in the future.

From supercharging campaign effectiveness to creating visualisations of our subconscious, emotional data is the new secret sauce that marketers need to pay attention to.

Our expert panel will explore the different ways emotional data can be applied, and the art and science of emotions will be bought to life as the audience can test Unruly’s facial coding for themselves, or participate in Visualogical, and create a digital portrait of their subconscious!

The session will take place in area 62 at 12pm.

Check out the full agenda here.

One of the things we care about at Unruly is encouraging diversity across the business.

Recently, inspiring Unrulies Sarah Young and Hannah Mackaness were approached by Sky and asked to do an interview on what it’s like to work somewhere where diversity and inclusivity are celebrated.

The pair loved the conversation that spurred from the interview, and asked if they could re-film it so that it could be made available for anyone to watch.

During the video the pair speak about the ProDev teams approach to diversity and inclusivity. They also speak about the changes they put in place that allowed the team to double the amount of women working in it.

The pair also talk about the journeys that brought them both into ProDev, and the impact that support for inter-team transitions has had on the team as a whole. 

Pop your headphones in, sit back, and find out more about the amazing Unruly ProDev team…

Does Unruly sound like somewhere you’d like to work? You’re in luck! We are hiring for new positions across the world! Take a look at which roles are currently available.