OMR19 – Highlights from the Online Marketingingsause

To grasp the success story of online marketing rock stars, one thing must be remembered: the occupations of the numerous visitors did not exist 10 or 15 years ago. Therefore, the event looks more like an industry summer party and not like a beer serious, content-driven marketing conference in the classic sense – and despite a prominent cast.

In retrospect, they were all there somehow: senior representatives of Google and Facebook, non-industry professionals such as Sylvie Meis and Tim Mälzer, mayor of Hamburg, Scooter, Yoko, Bowen Zhou of and thought leaders of our time like the bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari. It’s difficult to set highlights on this colorful mix – except perhaps Harari, who was definitely a highlight.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Philip

Philipp Westermeyer
OMR – Philipp Westermeyer (Photo: Benner)

The first day with Expo and Masterclasses already offered a lot of program to the visitors, but the second main conference day followed biblically: OMR founder and recently Cover-Boy Philipp Westermeyer rounded off his presentation on the “State of the German Internet” with his insight into the ” Seven Deadly Sins “and their importance for marketing strategies.


The background is the observation that a good product alone is no longer sufficient to guarantee its sales. With the seven deadly sins described Westermeyer strategies that marketers use to appeal to the current primal instincts of the consumer. For example, posture campaigns cause anger among certain audiences, scarcity creates envy, and brand collaboration generates desire. Overall, a successful overview of successful strategies and campaigns of the last year.

Yuval Noah Harari: “Technology is not deterministic!”

Yuval Noah Harari
OMR – Yuval Noah Harari (Photo: Benner)

Machine learning, artificial intelligence or algorithms – the tools on the basis of which machines can always evaluate independent information and make decisions have always been calling doubters onto the scene. But the Israeli bestselling author and avowedly technophobe Yuval Noah Harari is certain: “The machines will one day know us better than we ourselves!”.

He illustrated his assumptions with a very personal example: While he took a long time as a teenager to become aware of his own homosexuality, a machine would have come to that conclusion much earlier by evaluating his behaviors and patterns. “In the future, it could be that Coca-Cola knows earlier that I’m gay than myself,” he said, his disillusioned conclusion. But even human relationships will change, “if my fridge knows more about me than my partner.” It goes without saying that these technical possibilities can fundamentally change online marketing.

Harari sees himself as a realist who refuses both optimistic and pessimistic assessments. Nonetheless, he points out, “Technology is not deterministic!” He describes how the US and China have long since abandoned Europeans in AI research and that they are clearly focusing on the use of artificial intelligence to the benefit of brands and governments. Therefore, he wishes Europe not to copy the path of others, but to use new technologies for the benefit of mankind.

Also interesting: Frank Thelen: “We have a lot of catching up to do in Europe”

Andy Puddicombe creates space in the head

Andy Puddicombe
Andy Puddicombe (Photo: Benner)

Another (ent) exciting highlight was the appearance of Andy Puddicombe. The former monk and operator of the meditation app Headspace invited to an introductory meditation round to clean up the clichés around meditating. It’s not about not thinking about anything, but about organizing, structuring, and becoming aware of your thoughts.

This – the name of the app is the best definition – creates space in the head. Through this order, meditators become aware of themselves. For example, meditation does not make you tired, but you realize your general tiredness. You do not make thoughtful, but you recognize the fullness of his own thoughts.

Puddicombe also showed sympathy in the subsequent conversation with Westermeyer – especially with regard to his leadership style. How often is he in the office? Maybe one day a week to attend important meetings. Does he know how much sales his company actually makes? None. His passion was to sit in the studio and make the product better for the consumer – perhaps the best, if not the only, comment on Consumer Centricity on the OMR19.

You want to know more about marketing strategies? At the Munich Marketing Week you will learn what is possible with or in spite of the online giants.

Marketing through and through

In fact, everything revolves around selling, both in terms of content and perimeter – not surprisingly for this audience. H. P. Baxxter from Scooter, who in contrast to the organizers “never thought about target groups”, gets served first a master hunter.

Red Bull cans are casually emphasized on screen and even the smokers’ target audience, which is still notable in the industry, is not overlooked: this is how we find ourselves at the first conference where Marlboro’s Iqos cigarettes vaporizers are purchased and puffed everywhere be allowed to.

The lectures of the two big players are more reminiscent of a promotional event. Google in the person of European VP Phil Justus and Facebook’s Global VP for Global Agency Development, Patrick Harris, used their lectures for political speeches in which they each staged themselves as guardians of privacy.

A perfectly organized industry party

Many of the lectures would have had the potential, even once the industry woes to the tooth to feel. This is perhaps the only criticism. Because the trust of the people in advertising, in the big media platforms like Google and Facebook as well as in Marken altogether, is dwindling. New technologies will not be able to solve this alone. A “Everything is great and gets better!” often falls short.

That’s why Hamburg’s Mayor Peter Tschentscher sums up the purpose of this annual gathering best: “This is not a fair, it’s not a conference, it’s a party here!” – and not a bad one. Good food, lots of drinks, live shows from Scooter, Casper and Marteria – and from check-in to bratwurst as good as no waiting!

We can not conclude a review of the OMR19 without a big thank you to the organizers, who have given 50,000 visitors a super time. Well, the WLAN … but who needs Wi-Fi, if there is free beer?

Also interesting: OMR and re: publica: We need to put digitization at the center of all our thinking

About the author: Patrick Benner has been managing the digital agency Artus interactive in Frankfurt for over 20 years. As an expert in digital brand management, he looks after international clients such as Procter & Gamble, De’Longhi and Henkell.

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