It has been many years since Romulus and Remus founded Rome, yet coming back to Rome is a major highlight of the year. Rome is a fascinating city with a brilliant vibe to it, and you noticed it having an effect on the attendees of the FOMG – Festival of Media Global – conference, now in it’s 10th year with around 900 attendees including global agency CEOs and the world’s biggest brands.

The subjects discussed varied – from economists talking about the changes in population to agencies and advertisers talking about the changes in media. The ‘P’ word (programmatic) was heard often, but there was also lots of discussions on where TV and media are going. Hence it was not surprising to find presentations from a variety of companies, people and ‘silos’ including Twitter, Times, Xaxis and Adform.

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If there was one thing missing, then there wasn’t enough tech talk. There was not enough profound discussion around attribution and cross device marketing. But similar to Cannes, tech talk will follow suit in the next few years no doubt.

The event highlighted a variety of multi-screen TV ads that have been executed from major brands such as P&G and Nike that are shaping the future. Yet, most campaigns are still briefed to be in a single silo. The better ones have been executed using mobile technology. The decade of mobile is upon us….

Brands lent their voices to several of the hot button issues in media. Volvo, Philips, Boehringer Ingelheim and MasterCard discussed the transparency issues in the industry and how to access innovation in a fragmented world. Also debated was if it’s feasible for brands to take media buying in-house, how much control the brands really have, and what role do the agencies play?

It’s not a media conference of course without the topic of viewability. Our industry is moving more and more to a highly accountable system. More measurement companies are coming to light and trust is high on the agenda. More on the FOMG agenda here.

Among the key challenges brands said they faced is staying up to speed, trusting their agencies, requiring innovation, and, of course, how to source innovation from the start up community. Data and insights was one major innovation area of interest. However, some agencies and advertisers are struggling with quickly accessing data and insights at the right moment to make them actionable.

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Twitter, amongst others, spoke about a theme we like to call ‘seizing the moment’ and triggering ads against an array of external data points. TV, sports, and even weather events drive engagement across Twitter. Being able to influence buyers during these moments is crucial to brands. Twitter will continue to be a key channel for taking advantage of these moments since moments on Twitter is increasing manifold.

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The event highlighted the challenge of keeping up with audiences. Recently, when Kanye West was in a British restaurant, people turned their backs on him. Why, you might ask? It was so people could take selfies with Kayne in the background. No doubt, user behavior is changing and brands need to along with it.

The thousand-foot view from FOMG is that the media industry seems to be growing up, becoming more accountable, and tech vendors and media owners are working hand in hand. I’d call FOMG a must-attend mini-Cannes. It’s non-salesy, nice for networking, a good place to see and be seen, while enjoying a few viewable impressions of a mighty town.