“Programmatic is coming up more and more with each of our clients,” said Azher Ahmed, director of digital operations at DDB Chicago. “But there’s still a lot of testing and learning that needs to be done.”
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The game has no advertising, but could the Seattle software giant’s $2.5 billion acquisition change that?
It is very likely, according to Azher Ahmed, senior vice president of digital operations at DDB Chicago. While he doesn’t expect to see advertising inside the game, he does believe that it could become available around it.
“Microsoft will use Minecraft for marketing. I think there’s a demographic play here. [Microsoft sees] a younger audience they can market to, advertise to and provide services to,” he says.
Ahmed believes that through content marketing and branding initiatives, the company will integrate Minecraft into Windows, boosting the operating system’s appeal among a well-established legion of loyal fans.
In fact, there are a number of tools they can leverage to enhance their listening capabilities and make their communications more real-time, says Azher Ahmed, senior vice president and director of digital operations at DDB Chicago.
That includes Twitter-based tools such as Radian6, Sysomos, or even native Twitter search functions. Based on the programming keywords or hashtags, marketers can get a decent feel of what’s happening in the moment during a broadcast, he says.
In addition, Ahmed notes enterprise trend intelligence company Bottlenose is also an interesting platform for brands and marketers to explore because it offers a combination of trend alerts and dashboards with more predictive modeling around what’s next as it emerges.
DDB’s Azher Ahmed is a part of the creative team working for brands like State Farm Insurance (consumers might recall the “discount doublecheck”) and he is at SXSW talking with clients about digital strategies.
Also, DDB parent company Omnicom Group, which is merging with Publicis Groupe, just signed a deal worth $40 million to market brands on Instagram. Who better than Ahmed to discuss the potential for such emerging marketing platforms? He helps run McDonald’s Instagram account, and is experimenting with different ways to engage users there.
It’s all about “participatory content,” he said. One example he shared was when a user posted pictures of model cars built out of McDonald’s food containers.
“The social media team picked that up and turned it into an Instagram video where it was a stop-motion car that was moving,” Ahmed said. “That demonstrates a couple of things. A: That we’re paying attention to what’s happening out there and people are obviously passionate about our products. B: We’re willing to take it and remix it, which is very much a part of Internet culture. And C: We’re putting it out there in a form that it wasn’t originally video, but now it is, and it’s actually traveling much farther than some of our other content that we might have felt was a little more brandy.
“So I love it.”
Below, Ahmed discusses via Instagram what criteria he uses to determine whether a platform is worth pursuing as a marketer, and what type of content plays well in those new spaces.
“I think the challenge [with native], particularly for the mobile ad networks, is what their native capability is and how much they can really support in terms of richness within the native piece,” said Azher Ahmed, senior vice president and director of digital operations at DDB Chicago.