Welcome to the Ad Spotlight series where we hear from a different guest from the industry each month to get an insight into the landscape of advertising as well as their own personal experiences.
Our guest this month is Stef Jansen. Stef joined Finecast in 2022 as Business Development Director after over a decade at Mindshare where he held roles as Video, Product, and Business Director.
Stef’s experience means he knows a thing or two about the TV ad industry and the trends shaping it.
Q: Why did you choose a career in advertising?
A: I studied engineering at university but was a big music fan. I had my own radio show playing house and dance music to the tens of fans in Loughborough in the mid-00s. When I graduated, I wanted to get into radio.
I had a friend working at Mindshare who asked if I’d thought about the advertising route into radio. It sounded like a good idea but, at the time, there were only roles in the TV team. I never looked back!
Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the industry right now?
A: Current challenges in TV advertising echo what’s happening in wider media and advertising. Media fragmentation, walled gardens (when organisations keep tech, information, and user data to themselves), and debate around data privacy and ethics are ongoing hurdles.
One of the reasons I joined Finecast is it is tackling these issues by bringing together disparate media partners in one place, and overlaying data at scale in a privacy compliant and safe way using a ‘one to few’ rather than ‘one to one’ method.
I’ve also noticed a shift toward short-termism and a knock-on lack of creative effectiveness. It is important that creativity – the heart of the industry for so long – isn’t forgotten. Targeted advertising can help.
Q: Sum up the future of advertising in three words…
A: Creative. Transformative. Immersive.
Q: What is your biggest career highlight?
A: Working at Mindshare meant helping launch TV campaigns for some of world’s biggest brands. One that stands out was working on Facebook’s first ever UK TV ad campaign. It came with plenty of pressure but was very rewarding.
Being named Mindshare UK’s Person of the Year in 2015 was also a great personal honour. It’s always nice to see the work you do acknowledged.
Q: …and biggest regret?
A: I would tell my younger self to put himself out there and speak up more. Good ideas and innovation can come from anywhere – and any level – in our industry. I remember my bosses at the time telling me to get my ideas across more and to be more vocal. I would echo that now myself to anyone who is just starting out in the industry.
Q: What is your favourite advert?
A: I’m a sucker for a catchy tune and animals. There’s something about putting them together on screen that just works.
Thinkbox’s series of Harvey the dog adverts ticked both boxes. And I was lucky enough to work on the launch of the Three Mobile campaign with the Shetland pony dancing to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’ which hit the mark with a lot of people.
Switching from dancing ponies to the industry and its future…
Q: What is the most exciting opportunity on the creative side of addressable TV?
A: We are only scratching the surface when it comes to how data can inform creativity. At Finecast we’re looking at ways to help advertisers tailor creative based on insights around people’s behaviours, our clients’ products, and brand awareness in different areas of the country.
We’re seeing more and more dynamic creative in the digital space (some executed better than others). Technical limitations meant TV hadn’t explored that much until recently but now there’s room to drive creative effectiveness through data. That’s exciting, especially when you think about the viewing opportunities of a more immersive TV world beyond a 30-second ad spot. Tailored creative on the big screen is very powerful.
Q: How does collaboration work within the addressable TV ecosystem?
A: It’s a combination of media supplier, data, technology, creative, and the client. Finecast is the integrator, developing partnerships across all those elements, bringing them together in one place, and making it easier for advertisers to deliver on their objectives.
There’s been a big shift over the last 5 years within the ad-supported TV industry toward understanding the need to collaborate. It’s like the old saying, “united we conquer, divided we fall”. As external threats to ad funded content from the likes of Netflix and Disney+ have emerged stakeholders have recognised they need to work together to compete in the attention economy.
Q: What is one thing you’re confident we will see in addressable TV by 2023?
A: Ultimately, the way we interact with TV ads – from buying direct through voice interaction, gaming, the metaverse (whatever that will look like) – will follow what we’ve seen on platforms like Twitch and social media where it is a lot more participatory. That might not be by next year though!
I do think, however, that there will be a resurgence of creativity driven by the data and technology we now have access to. We’ve missed the point if we’re not using data insights to enhance creative.
We’re already experimenting with things like QR codes in adverts to make it a more immersive, multi-platform journey for a viewer. I’m sure by this time next year I’ll be able to give you a list of great examples where data and creativity are combined in TV environments to drive sizable performance gains for advertisers.