four legs to two wheels

Bizarrely, every now and then, I bump into people within our industry who still remember Tangozebra. Splendid. Eight years is a long time in online speak, the equivalent of 56 land-based years; and if I follow that logic it would seem that I’ve been involved in rich media advertising for well over 100 years, which feels about right; a lot has happened.

Tangozebra was an 11-year adventure.  The energy and passion from a wonderful team created the first rich formats in the late 90s – a time of complex hand-stitched Java-based interactivity, zero bandwidth, melting data centres and vertical learnings. By 2007, 1,500 campaigns were live at any one time on our cloud-based rich media serving platform; the Tangozebra Flash components turned thousands of creative agency Flash installs into rich media authoring suites, and all scaled nicely.

Rich media’s journey from those early days is an interesting one. The advent of Flash and introduction of layered site delivery allowed all sorts of exploding formats to emerge, often to the detriment of the users’ experiences. Experimentation was the order of the day back then but within a few short years those uninitiated large screen overlays had lost favour within the industry due to understandable user kickback, and with a sense of relief the industry started to mature. By 2007 when Tangozebra was bought, intrusive forms of rich media were yesterday’s news. Or so it seemed.

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how do you name a product, and name it well?

Create some panic. Bring your deadlines forward. Brag about how, in two days, you’ll have a product name that you can live and die by, that will be broadcast into space, that will be written into the first post-apocalyptic scrolls while the wind howls across the nuclear wastelands formerly known as Kent. That will get you to the subspace known as “Monkey Tennis”. Where you are almost always guaranteed genius.

So arbitrary deadlines dutifully broadcast, we got our war room “no-one leaves until we have an agreement” mentality on, and we gleefully dived into the depths of the bizarre (i.e. the deep well of thesaurus.com).

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creativity is technology’s best friend

Using technology to drive results for brands is nothing new: for a while now advertisers have capitalised on smart algorithms to optimise campaigns towards a desired goal. Crucially however, the creative element of the equation has always been overlooked.

A common approach in the digital space has been to produce a limited set of creative assets such as a thirty second TV ad and a rich format to host it. The media schedule and targeting would be optimised to deliver the desired result, ranging from user engagement with the video to more action orientated goals.

Naturally, such optimisation continually narrows the media and targeting parameters until the campaign ends, resulting in many of the original audience being funnelled out and left unexposed to the brands messaging. On the surface that approach can work if the campaign results are strong – but this approach does mean that brands are casting aside potential Customers.

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