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I made my entry in the nascent, back then, European startup scene in 2006, when I launched a startup with two of my best friends, a platform for classifieds for boats, and I stepped foot in the already buzzing Silicon Roundabout in early 2010. I have a soft spot for NYC and London startup scenes as they both are in the unique position to translate tech in various industries that thrive in the same city, as well as set new trends, via collaboration of diverse international talent from creative and technical fields.

This is why, when I took over my role as Innovations manager for 18 at Havas UK, I was excited to introduce my new colleagues and partners in innovation to my world by taking them on a London Startup Tour.


Our tour ended like any tour should, with beers and good conversation, back at Havas HQ for Startup Weekend MADTech WarmUp. Itxaso Del Palacio, Investment Director at Lepe partners, Farid Haque, founder ERLY STAGE STUDIOS and Investment Associate at Lean Investments and Howard Kingston, co-founder of Adludio joined me on stage to discuss emerging technology trends that will impact advertising and marketing in the near future. So what does the future hold for marketing and advertising?

  1. Chatbots: Lets get this hot trend out the bag first- you knew it was coming! There are more than 135,000 results on Google news about chatbots and every brand wants one! Are chatbots the future of online interaction between brand and consumers or a fad much like Facebook commerce back in 2011? The truth is that FOMO has brought the “death” of many tech trends. Brands mindlessly jump on them, only to quickly pronounce them overhyped and move to the new one. Surely enough same seems to be happening with chatbots. There’s a plethora of branded bots out there already, but in most cases the experience seems underwhelming and not that different from chatting with an automated telephone menu. Being innovative doesn’t necessarily mean being first, it means being adaptive and adopting new technology trends in a meaningful way to deliver better products or services. In the case of chatbots it is more important than ever for brands to think about their “voice” and “personality” and how that will translate via text to their customers. What will also come into play is how brands will connect and use the wealth of data they have at hand to create truly personalized experiences that bring value and enable consumers to make informed buying decisions, a top priority for gen Z.
  2. Native advertising in games: Farid Haque advised this is the time to invest in native advertising in games, especially mobile. The reason why is due to the combination of the rise of mobile, ad-blocking and explosion of mobile gaming. Recent research projects an increase of 156% for native advertising, amounting to €13.2bn (£10.3bn), over the next five years. The majority of native advertising growth will be on mobile, estimating a future spend of €8.8bn (£6.8bn) in 2020. And while playing games is one of the top media activities on mobile, only 17% mobile game professionals said they served native ads in their free-to-play mobile games.
  3. Personalized communications powered by IoT: A lot has been written about IoT as the future of advertising. Itxaso Del Palacio highlighted the impact IoT can have, not by transforming our kitchen into another place to add a banner to or by tracking consumer behavior, but by pushing to our mobile relevant and personalized information. London buses are already powered to push relevant information to passengers via beacons, and more and more telecoms and retailers are getting ready to explore this emerging platform.
  4. VR: Inevitably VR was brought up as one of the most important emerging tech trends for advertising, marketing and beyond in the coming years.Howard Kingston compared VR to the rise of mobile a few years back and everyone on the panel agreed although VR has obstacles to overcome, it’s going to be a dominant platform. The key again like in the case of chatbots is long term investment and vision aligned to the brands’ broader strategy, instead of thoughtless execution which is bound to be met with disappointment at such an early stage for VR.
  5. AI: From cognitive marketing and bots to personalization, AI will be a game changer for advertising. AI can leverage vast amounts of data and adapt ads instantly to each individual’s personality and situation to create a truly personal brand experience. In the war of screen real estate, startups like Persado can enable brands to get the right call to action, while phraseepromises to deliver the perfect email subject line. Even in the case of influencer marketing brands now have the opportunity, with startups likePick1, to reach out to influencers that are aligned with their brand values and therefore form more authentic and long term relationships.

Feeling Inspired?

Join us for Startup Weekend Marketing & Advertising 13–15 May, at Havas HQ. Book NOW using the code SWMAD20 and get 20% OFF:


LETS BUILD STUFF!!!!!!!!!!! ❤

Amalia Agathou