On the Road at... ad:tech Tokyo

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Mr. Babe, a fashion & lifestyle magazine aimed at the ‘larger’ Japanese man aged 30-50.

Hello Kitty releasing its first male-focused collection - limited edition collaborations with six Japanese menswear labels including Undercover, Sise and Yoshio Kubo - to celebrate the brand’s 40th anniversary in October 2015.

Nintendo’s fantasy role-playing game Fire Emblem offering a same-sex marriage option for gamers' avatars.

Burberry releasing a digital sticker pack on mobile messaging app Line, featuring cartoon characters dressed in Burberry trench coats and checked cashmere scarves.

These are just four innovations from my keynote at ad:tech Tokyo earlier this month. During the session, I dived into our POST-DEMOGRAPHIC CONSUMERISM mega-trend, urging the digital marketers present to think beyond traditional demographic segmentation and showed how brands like Netflix, Spotify and Unilever are using big data and big insight to market to demographics of interest, rather than age, gender, income or location.

Despite having spoken at the London ad:tech earlier in the year, it hadn’t prepared me for the scale of the Japanese version. 15,000 people over 2 days, and a main stage facing nearly 2,000 marketers, brand managers, solution providers from not just Japan, but the wider region from India to Israel too. It’s not every day you need a panoramic shot to capture the audience! :)

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After the session, I also had the honor of being on a panel with Masayasu Morita of Hitomdia and Anis Uzzaman of Fenox Capital, two of the most successful and largest investors in Japanese startups. We discussed where marketing technology might be headed next, but my favorite insight from Anis was the background behind his investment in Jibo, the world’s first 'social robot’. Similar to Amazon’s Echo speaker - but with a cuter personality - it listens and responds to the world around it. And, unlike Japan’s favourite robot Pepper, it only costs US$749, making it viable for domestic consumption. The robots are coming…and where better than Japan to learn more about them?!

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