WPP’s Kinetic Looks for the Next Big Idea With a Pitch Competition at Mobile World Congress

Ad agencies are scouting in Spain for innovation

Industry players weigh in on an increasingly digital marketplace. Getty Images
Headshot of Marty Swant

BARCELONA, Spain—As ad agencies increasingly buy or invest in the latest emerging tech, one is hosting its own pitch competition from within its organization to find ideas worth investing in and that it can use in campaigns by the end of the year.

Today, during Mobile World Congress, WPP-owned agency Kinetic is holding a contest to develop ideas from Kinetic’s local executives that can be fostered and brought to scale. Using a 20-minute presentation and a 2-minute video, Kinetic executives in various local markets will pitch their ideas that the global team can then back with funding and other resources. Pitches will be judged by executives from Kinetic’s global management team.

“We work in the business of ideas, but a great idea is nothing without proper execution. With Kinetic’s Shark Tank, we will turn our great ideas into innovations,” Mauricio Sabogal, Kinetic’s global CEO, told Adweek. “We operate in a highly competitive business and some friendly competition between our markets can’t hurt.”

For Kinetic, Mobile World Congress and other tech conferences such as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are actually more valuable than creative awards shows such as the Cannes Lions Festival, said Liliana Caro, Kinetic’s global chief marketing and product officer.

"We work in the business of ideas, but a great idea is nothing without proper execution."
Mauricio Sabogal, Kinetic’s global CEO

“We specialize in targeting audiences on the move, so mobility is at the core of our business,” she said. “Our No. 1 focus is innovation through technology and data, and we feel that these two events are the perfect environments to get the right inspiration and connect with companies and startups that are as eager to grow and innovate as we are.”

Kinetic isn’t the only agency that’s active this year at Mobile World Congress, which this week has brought together around 100,000 attendees from around the world. Tom Goodwin, evp and head of innovation at Publicis-owned Zenith, said keeping an eye on emerging tech is important, as the advertising industry is rapidly changing “more in the next five years than it has in the last 50.”

“It’s my job to understand changing behaviors, new devices and the foundations they are built on,” he said. “If CES gives marketers the canvas for ads, Mobile World Congress gives us the toolkit to make it happen. I’m here to understand, explore and bring that knowledge to life.”

However, while many major and minor companies are here in Spain this week to debut new devices, Goodwin said the mobile industry shouldn’t be defined by devices. Instead, it’s about “connected freedom,” he said.

That freedom could become a lot more relevant as 5G connectivity becomes more of a reality. And while just last year Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to downplay the next wireless race, it’s emerged as a key theme of MWC 2017. Tech companies are beginning to announce devices equipped for 5G, and during a keynote address on Tuesday in Barclona, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai cited it as a reason for deregulating the internet to a greater degree.

“The way that the internet is changing and consumers’ relationship with it is fascinating,” Goodwin said. “We’re going to be surrounded by fast, secure, abundant, low-latency information wherever we are. The internet with 5G will become predictive and personal and this has profound effects on what advertising needs to be.”

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.
Publish date: March 1, 2017 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/wpps-kinetic-looks-for-the-next-big-idea-with-a-pitch-competition-at-mobile-world-congress/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT