"While others are asking WTF about the future of the industry, I prefer to ask ‘Where’s the Future?’"
Huge Chief Creative Officer Jason Musante thinks the focus should be on the opportunities within advertising and marketing today, rather than all of the seemingly scary change taking place .
"I believe embracing data and technology to power our creativity is the answer - in fact I think it’s going to save our ass," Musante said.
During a discussion for The One Club’s Creative Week, Musante discussed how Huge’s core value of "user centricity" has been part of the agency since it was founded in 1999. This means, the Interpublic Group agency has always put users - consumers - and their problems, needs and desires at the center of its marketing efforts.
From there, Musante said the shop built out its four key capabilities, including business transformation, campaigns and content, physical and digital experiences and products and services, around the user.
"At other agencies, I’m the digital guy, but at Huge, I’m the traditional guy," Musante said, adding that the shop makes sure to have talent of diverse skill sets and backgrounds at the table in order to accurately solve problems for specific audiences. This also includes hiring "hybrid talent," who can effectively collaborate with different disciplines and even other agency partners to deliver the best results for clients.
One example Musante gave of a data-driven solution that incorporated storytelling and creativity for a brand was the agency’s work on P&G's luxury Japanese beauty brand SK-II.
While Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, the beauty industry hasn’t kept up. They needed to attract young consumers to the 39-year-old brand. The answer was to weave AI, AR and data into a narrative experience that guided users on a journey to learn about their skin, and in the process, the brand itself. Enter SK-II Wonderland: a first-of-its-kind, augmented reality-driven pop-up store in Tokyo, Japan. Wonderland used AI to analyze over a million data points on the consumer’s face.
Most importantly, SK-II Wonderland achieved what it set out to do, 86% of our target audience who visited stated that SK-II was "a more aspirational brand" afterward.
Musante also chatted about a product that Huge developed out of its own pocket: Hooha, the world’s first smart tampon dispenser. The product was ideated, created, branded and produced in-house by Huge’s Stephanie Loffredo.
"It would be very easy for a group of guys to not understand the purpose or importance of Hooha for example, but through hearing the user problem and understanding the need it’s become one of our most successful products built," said Mustante.
At the end of the day, even with technology and data playing major roles in creativity and advertising, Musante said it’s important to remember that "there’s always room for art" and storytelling can take many forms.