Let’s get to know you first. Tell our readers about Benjamin Pavanetto, the man who comes from – in your own words “the land of good wine and cheese and poetic landscapes.”
First of all, let’s clarify that “the land of good wine and cheese” is obviously France. We do have poetic landscapes too, although in hindsight it makes me think more of the foggy Bavarian landscapes in Werner Herzog’s Heart of Glass.
I have lived in Asia for nine years, which means I spent almost one-third of my life eating with chopsticks, listening (involuntarily) to K-Pop hits and conversing mainly in English. I’d, therefore, consider myself an international citizen, even if I can’t drop my French accent, which I still don’t know is an advantage or inconvenience when it comes to business negotiations.
After studying in China in 2011, I set foot in Singapore and interned at Razorfish. I then worked for a leading media agency, Starcom, followed by Near, who is now one of the most valuable tech startups in Southeast Asia, and then Adludio, for whom I launched its first office overseas in 2017.
Adludio is now a global advertising scale-up, with offices in London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei.
Walk us through what Adludio is all about.
Adludio’s mission is simple: to innovate and create seamless advertising experiences on our first screen, the mobile phone.
We design and deliver creative concepts that drive authentic brand engagements for mobile audiences, resulting in better returns on investment for our clients.
To do that, we rely on three things:
- Our proprietary technology: meaning the ads we build are fully responsive and fast-loading without compromising on quality.
- Our in-house studio: to ensure entire control on creative production and guarantee very short turnaround times.
- Our five years of campaign data points and device touchpoints: that influence the way we think about creative, and what works best to meet client KPIs.
Simply put, we believe that brilliant creative drives performance, and we thrive to put creative back at the heart of advertising.
You were the first hire and singlehandedly setup Adludio in Singapore. You grew the office here, built on your client portfolio besides, of course, coming up with the creatives. What are some of the challenges you faced, Benjamin?
For new players in a very competitive industry such as advertising, the challenge is in building trust. Our mantra from day one is to be transparent, authentic and upfront while delivering creative excellence. Doing this requires full-time commitment and discipline, but has helped us build a very solid base of repeat clients.
Talent, however, has never been an issue for us. We have been very lucky in finding smart, hungry and talented people who clearly understand our mission and purpose.
Regionally, Asia is very demanding. There is very fast-paced work culture and we are constantly facing short timelines. I’d also add that Asian countries all seem similar to outsiders, but each of them is very unique. They all have various working styles and languages, that demand a lot of flexibility and adaptation.
There are also external threats, such as political uncertainty, as we’ve seen in Hong Kong last year. Health emergency issues, such as the current situation with the coronavirus, also can negatively impact the business, but in this case, there is little one can do.
Tell us Benjamin, when creating for your client, what is your usual approach?
We work in a fast-paced environment where time is precious, so everyone in the system has to act swiftly and efficiently.
The requirements for “fast creativity” are two-prong:
- Instantly grasp the clients’ main objectives and what they want to achieve. Once we understand the big picture, we can better plan how mobile fits in the overall marketing strategy.
- Work directly with the campaign assets (such as images, videos, brand guidelines, and fonts) to ensure fast timelines from brief to launch.
The necessary information and tools, the intelligence gathered from engagement data points, and the talent of our designers, all come together to design a powerful creative proposition.
What sets Adludio apart from your competitors?
Adludio is a pioneer in sensory advertising. Very early on, we understood that mobile deserves a unique approach, and we focused on how consumers interact with their first screen, to help brands craft amazing creative that would drive more effective communication.
Adludio means ‘to play’ in Latin, and you can feel the lightheartedness and the passion to create an authentic experience, in the creatives coming out from our studio.
Our world-class service levels, one of the cornerstones of Adludio, also sets us apart. We have instilled a culture that values the search for excellence, as well as unwavering creativity to find new solutions to unique problems.
Where do you see Adludio in five years, Benjamin?
Predicting five years ahead in advertising is a dangerous proposition, given how quickly technology and advertising evolve. That said, I expect Adludio to continue its geographical expansion in Asia, unlocking new markets and expanding further in the ones we already operate in.
From a product perspective, I would expect continuous evolution in ad formats, to keep pace with changing consumer behaviours. If I could be technical for a bit, at Adludio for example, we are about to roll out a new physics engine inside our formats, which will allow for infinite interactions and engagements within a single unit and will massively enhance the overall user experience.
Controversially, if you asked me where the industry will be in ten years’ time, I would expect autonomous trade authorities to be discussing the systematic dismantling of the Facebook and Google duopoly. It is inconceivable to me that at present an estimated 80% of the world’s mobile ad revenue is shared by just two companies. Tax harmonisation may be the first step but ultimately having such monopolies stifles competition and innovation.
For those keen to get in touch with you, how can they do so?
I’m spending a lot of time in Taipei since we are opening a new office there, but you can always reach out to me at email@example.com to schedule a coffee or drink in Singapore.