‘The creative message defines success’ A Q&A with ad tech investor and advisor Mainardo de Nardis

The role of advertising is changing. Consumers have more media options than ever before, and the acceleration of technology has changed how they interact with that media. Advertisers are working with these behavioral shifts, along with a crowded market and economic uncertainty, in their quest to engage consumers.

Photo Courtesy of Mainardo de Nardis

Good creative is paramount in this quest. But what does good creative look like? How does it work? To get answers, Connected-Stories has turned to leaders across the advertising industry for their perspective.

Today we speak to Mainardo de Nardis, an investor and board member for companies like Edelman, VidMob, Equativ and Connected-Stories.

1. Tell us about your role and what you are working on today. 

After many years in marketing services, running creative and later media agencies across the world, I now invest and advise small, medium and larger enterprises in AdTech, MarTech, media and marketing comms services. I focus on companies which are truly transforming their specific markets. And I only work with people I rate and like!

  1. How do you come across ad creative in your line of work? 

Creativity is a key component of every transformation process. In communications, the creative message is the most important factor to define success. Different sources state that comms success is 50, 70, or up to 80% driven by creative. The specific number across different models doesn’t really matter, as long as we fully accept the importance of creative optimization as  a key performance driver.

  1. How has creative changed since you’ve been working in advertising? 

Massively. From long formats on linear channels in a media world dominated by a limited offer, to the right-sized formats personalized based on specific audiences and optimized by platform in a data-led media ecosystem where the offer is practically unlimited. Everything has changed but nothing has changed, in the sense that creativity is as important today as it was then.

  1. What do you see in the near and distant future for ad creative? 

Super personalization in an entirely addressable scenario across all platforms. Data and intelligence driving the process in real-time. Smarter value measurement of relevant business KPIs. Media and creative messaging working as one (but please note, this is not the old “full-service” offer some may recall) where creative effectiveness shapes the strategy, planning, and buying of media.

  1. What do you see as the main barriers in realizing that future ? 

Baggage, history, habits, walls erected to separate specialists, lack of training, data seen as the enemy instead of the inspiration, all platforms seen as similar or even the same. Creative intelligence is a relatively new science and often considered a threat more than the inspiration it has proven to be. The industry needs to gear around the proven approach where creative and media optimizations are equally important and have to work in symbiosis.

  1. What is the most inspiring/notable creative you’ve seen recently? 

I love big, winning ideas, but I am also so happy and proud of this fantastic industry when I can see the level of attention paid to formats and platforms, as well as audiences and context. Making big ideas work in this complex ecosystem is the only way forward.

  1. What are you watching/reading these days?  

I am a news fanatic, across platforms, languages, and geography. Also love great movies on a big screen and a good book, when everyone else has gone to sleep.