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Bold Creativity in a Data-Driven World – Adobe Summit, Day 2

What do Mattel, Abby Wambach, Cirque Du Soleil, and George Clooney have in common?

I’ll wait for you to Google it…AdobeSummit_Day2_Mellor_Data Did you come up with the answer?
According to John Mellor, Adobe’s VP of Strategy and Business Development, they all are boldly creative in a world driven by data. This is what’s required to make the transformation to an experience-led business.
“Our jobs demand more data to create those experiences, but data is just a piece of the puzzle. Data alone is insufficient until we can wrap meaning around it. Our job is to transform that data into content that gives meaning to the experience,” he said.
Mellor also revealed results of a Twitter poll of Summit attendees, revealing that more than 40% believe their organization is “slow and steady” to adapt to this change of pace. Herein lies the challenge for many brands: combine data and science with content to tell great stories at scale.
“It’s through the power of storytelling that you can create the experiences and personal connections we all crave,” Mellor stated.
While Mattel, Cirque du Soleil, Wambach, and Clooney all shared captivating stories, below are highlights from two of the talks.
“Sometimes the most valuable invention is reinvention”
For most of us, our connection to Mattel stems from our childhood. Whether you loved Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher Price, or American Girl, Mattel is etched in our memories.
Richard Dickson, President and COO of Mattel, shared the story of how the brand started as a creations company by transforming the traditional paper fashion dolls into Barbie dolls, and “reinventing the toy car as a cultural phenomenon.” (Hot Wheels)Reinvention_Challenge_AdobeSummit
However as the brand succeeded and the company grew, Mattel lost its way and devolved into a packaged goods company that made toys.
The company realized it had to challenge the status quo to rise as a leading brand in “playtime.” Mattel applied the reinvention roadmap to reboot Barbie and disrupt the category the founders established 60+ years ago.
“Rapid relevance was the only way out,” Dickson said. Mattel did four major things for Barbie:

  1. Reflected the diversity girls see today, and launched more than 20 new dolls that represented a wide variety of skin tones, hair color and texture
  2. Liberated Barbie from high heels with a flexible foot
  3. Created “Hello Barbie,” one of the most advanced AI toys that engages girls with conversation (Note: this was created based on feedback from girls who said “I wish Barbie could talk to me.”)
  4. Responded to decades of cultural criticism of Barbie’s “perfect body” by developing dolls that reflect a wide variety of body types

Mattel needed to make girls fall in love with Barbie again and have their moms “like Barbie a little bit more.” This prompted the brand to create and tell a story through a short film called, “Imagine the possibilities”.
Mattel knew they had won over their audience before placing any paid advertising. They “created blockbuster relevance in the marketplace that couldn’t be bought,” with trending topics on Yahoo! and a cover story for Time as well as:

  • 50 million views of the short film
  • 500 million engagements on Facebook and Twitter
  • 81% positive reactions from moms
  • Celebrity influencers talking about it on social media

This reinvention roadmap, which is now being applied to Hot Wheels, Fisher Price, and other lines, is the push for Mattel to re-establish itself as a creations company and inspire the wonder of childhood.
Shaking Up the Movie Industry
Clooney3_talkDay 2 closed with an interview of George Clooney by Ann Lewnes, senior vice president and CMO of Adobe. Among the many topics covered, they discussed the shift in the film industry due in part to emerging technologies and social media.
“Technology and new media are opening up new ways to tell stories that didn’t exist before,” Clooney said.
“What’s happening in our industry is interesting. Television, for a long time, had its limitations. But now, TV, Netflix and others have ramped up the quality. It’s better than some of the films you see, and that’s great for our industry in general,” he continued.
With the proliferation of smartphones and similar video capturing devices, anyone can create content and share their experience with a large audience on social media. While Clooney is not a fan of social media, he indicated one benefit (from his perspective): “It [social media] can force you to make better products.”
This shift is something not only with which Hollywood has to contend, but also across dozens of other industries. You can’t ignore your fans – or your haters for that matter.
Final Thoughts
The keynote speakers of the day echoed John Mellor’s earlier remarks: “Storytelling is the biggest tool we have at our disposal. It’s that human touch that helps us connect with customers. Now, more than ever, we have to be storytellers.”

What did you learn from Day 2 at Summit?



Photo by @skimsey,

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Stephanie Gallina, Senior Manager, Microsoft + CXC Partner Marketing

Stephanie has more than 15 years' experience in marketing communications, leading and executing marketing strategies for corporate and non-profit organizations. She elevates the awareness of relevant digital solution topics and thought leadership for Perficient.

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