Reasons to be Cheerful: Lara Izlan, Director, Advertising Data & Analytics, ITV

As the coronavirus pandemic has quickly become the new normal, NDA wants to celebrate the positives of our current situation.

We spoke to Lara Izlan, Director, Advertising Data & Analytics at ITV, to find out what she had to be happy about at the moment.

What, if any, positive long-term impact on the digital industry will coronavirus have? 

I think the crisis is humanising digital technology. It has accelerated and expanded how we use and incorporate these tools into how we live, work, learn, and play, all while enhancing our ability to connect with others.

Digital businesses have an amazing opportunity here to learn from this intensification in consumer behaviour, and bring this insight into building more engaging, more useful, and more impactful products and services for the future. 

For digital advertising in particular, one of the most positive outcomes I’ve seen is a return to the value of the creative message. For too long, we’ve been focusing on data and technology primarily to drive targeting, optimisation, and short term performance.

The crisis has forced the industry to bring the creative back into the picture, and to think about near and long term brand goals across all media channels. 

Media owners have an active role to play here by mobilising data and technology to provide audience insights and flexible formats, in addition to deeper creative partnership.

ITV recently launched ITV Hub Shout Outs, our new 3-5 second video ad format, which allows brands to engage with audiences using a short, impactful creative message that is also cost effective. 

What positive impacts on long term consumer behaviour shifts will it have? 

The crisis is bringing into focus on some of the biggest social challenges, like diversity and inclusion, mental health, and sustainability. Even before the crisis, consumers were moving towards brands that reflect their individuality and are aligned with causes they believe in.

The heightened sensitivity to social impact as a result of the crisis, will likely accelerate this trend and brands and media will need to quickly adapt. 

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had to forgo many things we previously thought we couldn’t live without, we have found time to enjoy things we were always too busy for, and we have realised the value of people, things and experiences we had taken for granted.

It’s been a massive re-set, and as we look forward, I hope we find ways to hold on to the best of what we’ve discovered about ourselves in lockdown. 

What technologies have you been most impressed with during this new situation? 

It’s impressive how we have expanded existing technology for new means – like turning luxury production lines into manufacturing protective equipment, or using business tools like video conferencing to communicate with family and friends, and using social messaging tools to connect people to community causes at scale.

The crisis has also been a catalyst for more experimentation, more quickly.

It’s made individuals and businesses think more creatively and sustainably about the value and utility we can derive from everything around us. 

Within digital advertising, the crisis will accelerate the demand for agility and automation, alongside the already growing focus on trusted, brand safe, quality advertising environments.

ITV’s new addressable advertising platform, PlanetV, due to launch fully later this year, will provide advertisers and agencies with more control and flexibility over their advertising campaigns on ITV Hub, allowing brands to adapt and optimise messaging to the times, and to changing business goals. 

What positive impacts have you seen on how your business operates? 

It’s been incredible to see how quickly teams across our business adapted to new ways of working and interacting with one another. From data and technology, to commercial, to production – teams are turning the challenges of working apart, into opportunities to do things differently, more creatively and more sensitively. 

What has also been heartening to see and feel is the pride we take in our role, as employees of a public service broadcaster, in this crisis. Delivering trusted news and information is more important than ever, and so is providing entertainment our viewers love, and using our platform to connect audiences with important causes like supporting the NHS and talking about mental health. 

What have you been most heartened about in how your staff, partners, customers or clients have reacted to the new normal? 

Unsurprisingly, we find that in tough times, we are stronger together. The partnership and collaboration between colleagues, customers, and partners has already resulted in some really impactful and meaningful work across the board. 

One amazing example is the advertising collaboration between ITV and JustEat, in support of our mental health awareness campaign, Britain Get Talking.

The ad, which ran during Britain’s Got Talent, recently ranked number one most emotionally engaging ads showing life in lockdown in research conducted by Unruly. 

It’s been really inspiring to see how teams within ITV working closely with our clients and partners are able to create new and groundbreaking work, despite being physically confined. 

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