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OMD’s John Osborn: “Experiences Should Outweigh Formats for Video Ads”

This article was originally published by Beet.TV

CANNES – Innovative video ad formats like Fox’s JAZ pods and NBC’s Prime Pods are a welcome change in the drive to improve viewing experiences, but to OMD’s John Osborn it’s all about experiences. “It think for us, we need to shift the conversation from formats to experiences. And I think that represents a really interesting intersection point for us as marketers,” says Osborn, who is CEO of OMD USA.

“We’re living in a day and age when there’s no shortage of innovation,” he adds in this interview with Beet.TV at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. “Certainly innovation has come in the form of different ad formats. If you look at what Fox has done with JAZ pods and NBC with Prime Pods, you’re really seeing a different way of delivering messaging in a variety of different formats.”

As for experiences instead of formats, he believes complexity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “It think that provides an opportunity for us as sort of Sherpas, if you will, working with the clients to figure out exactly what the right formats are and what the right choices are for clients to make. To distill it down to brilliantly simple solutions that ultimately are an economic multiplier for the clients we serve.”

But old habits can and will endure. Osborn invokes the “our own worst enemy” adage when discussing change in advertising.

“Our immediate impulse is to take something that’s innovative, that’s been proven out in a test and win format and to productize it. And then we set a pricing structure to it. And there are no real benchmarks for that so it leads to a lot of questions.”

A better approach is to “just constantly strive for the right kinds of innovation, figure out the right measurement formats, and then collectively what does it all mean for the marketers we work for,” Osborn says.

At Cannes, OMD has altered its approach to an industry fixture that is also undergoing considerable change. Whereas the company used to craft its own experience and then welcome clients to that experience, “This year, we’re working with the clients to give them more curated experiences that are more customizable to their specific needs.”