- October 12, 2009

Wharton’s Future of Advertising Project

Last Thursday, I spent a very interesting afternoon at the Wharton Business School as a member of the Global Advisory Board for the “The Future of Advertising Project” (FOA). It was a fun afternoon chatting with the likes of Rishad Tobaccowala (CEO of Denuo), Joe Plummer (former chief knowledge officer at McCann Worldgroup), Penry Price (VP global agency and industry relations at Google) and the other board members.

The FOA initiative was started by Professor Jerry Wind within Wharton’s SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management with the mission: “to lead the reinvention of the scope, practice and value of advertising”. The FOA kicked off last December with a two-day conference at Wharton where dozens of researchers presented papers to be considered “Empirical Generalizations in Advertising”. I presented Comscore’s “Whither the Click?”, which I had co-authored with Empi Morn of Comscore. I’m delighted to say that our paper was subsequently chosen to be one of 21 “watertight laws for intelligent advertising decisions” featured in the June 2009 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research.

The FOA project is focused on the many business challenges of the new advertising reality:

  • Highly empowered consumers
  • Greater imperative to engage and entrust audiences
  • Continuously expanding technological advances
  • New insights on message creation and impact
  • Ever-expanding and cannibalizing media models
  • Overly US-centric mindset
  • Plethora of opinion-based assertions
  • Increased pressure for results accountability
  • Old organizational models don’t reflect new realities
  • Compounded by the global financial crisis and recession

The FOA project has been structured with a distinctive approach that encompasses the following elements:

  1. Wharton-led team: independent, trusted, fact-based, relevant, collaborative, actionable, global
  2. Propose a new mental model: Portfolio Orchestration Model
  3. Test, enrich and refine with real world Innovative Case Studies, Experiments, and Empirical Generalizations
  4. Create an engaged community of industry and academic Global Thought Leaders to contribute, comment and reflect on the various experiments and co-create insight content
  5. Empower Marketers via a Multi-Platform Portfolio: YouTube channel, book, eBook, videos, podcasts, online, social media, conferences, consultation, courses.
  6. Recognize Marketer / Agency / Research / Media innovation and excellence with FOA Portfolio Awards

As part of the FOA, a Wharton/Google YouTube marketing channel Fast. Forward. was launched with support from Google during the recent Advertising Week. It is a first-of-its-kind online destination for marketing and advertising that provides actionable insights for more informed decision-making. It takes the form of short 1-3 minute videos featuring thoughts from around the industry and academic worlds and is also intended to be an interactive platform for audience engagement.vIn the words of Prof. Jerry Wind: “The idea is that the site will become the place for credible, objective information on marketing and advertising that’s current and most compelling.”

I hope you will take a look at the site. I think you’ll find it well worth your time.

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