Mobile ad spend behind: Google boss

Google Asia’s head of marketing and innovation Lee Hunter.
Google Asia’s head of marketing and innovation Lee Hunter.

Relative ad spend on mobile channels is “laughably behind” and marketers and advertisers need to catch up, Google Asia’s head of marketing and innovation said.

Lee Hunter, the Perth-born digital marketer who will give the keynote address at the Emergence Creative Festival next week, told M&M marketers needed to develop “a mobile-first mindset” as consumers spent more and more time with their devices.

“That will take time, but it's critical,” he said.

“Secondly, digital advertising has to move towards adding value, and not just distraction.

“In a crowded marketplace, with messages being forced on consumers more than ever, the best digital campaigns will either help build utility, allowing you to do something better or quicker than before, or provide social value and entertainment.”

Mr Hunter also encouraged WA advertisers to be bolder with their digital advertising.

“Unfortunately, I think it's generally the clients who don't take the risks or see the benefits,” he said.

“It's nothing new, but we have to keep educating them about what's possible, inspiring them with great work from other industries (or competitors) and tapping into the fear of being left behind if they don’t get their act together.”

It is no surprise Mr Hunter is such a strong digital advocate. He has held several senior marketing positions at giant digital industry brands, including a period as head of brand and creative marketing for YouTube.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be part of some innovative, ambitious projects at Google and YouTube,” he said.

“My favourite project was a film we created a few years ago called Life in a Day.

Life in a Day

“It was based on videos from all over the world, uploaded to YouTube on July 24, 2010.

“The whole thing was an incredible experience, from working with our executive producer, Ridley Scott, to a standing ovation at our premiere at Sundance, to winning a Gold Lion at the Cannes advertising festival.

“There’s been many, many great experiences at Google, but that one edges out in front.”

Mr Hunter has worked with many big name creative innovators, including Scott, Lady Gaga and Eminem.

“I found Spike Jonze the most inspiring, not just for the way he thinks and what he's done, but because he's fascinated in so many different areas. From filmmaking and music, to clothing and skateboards, when he finds something he loves, he plays around until he manages to build something great out of it,” he said.

“Not many people can say that, so it's inspired me to be more open to new experiences, and be more entrepreneurial in the way I think.”

Mr Hunter said Google was a workplace that actively sought and encouraged creativity and innovation.

“For a technology company, failing to innovate would probably be the end of us — plus we’d get bored,” he said.

“I work in the marketing team and we encourage all levels of the department to feel like they can contribute ideas, and driving this is a huge part of my job.

“I spend a lot of time trying to push us in new directions, and educate teams on how they can be more innovative.”

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