Category: Advertising Agency

Working towards the Triple Play (the last mile problem)

Three Scoop Icecream
Image by LonelyBob via Flickr

It seems to me that more and more companies are working towards what the cable and phone companies are calling the triple play package. This is where you get phone, Internet, and TV service all from one provider all with one bill, hopefully lowering the overall price and making things less complicated.

I have found recently that this convergence is starting to happen (or at least trying to happen) in the world of online advertising. I think the three plays in this case are Search, Display, and Other (which could be video, audio, etc…)


A Slight Problem With Ad Exchanges… (warning NSFW)

The idea of Ad Exchanges (Right Media, DoubleClick Exchange, etc.) makes a lot of sense – especially for smaller players who manage display media in-house or independently from an agency. Lately, it seems that several agencies (and Yahoo) have been experimenting with Right Media to get ahead in the CPA view-through game. For example, if client “A” is judging the success of a campaign on conversions, low-cost, remnant inventory on Right Media will give the program significant reach. With a view-through window of 30 days, latency conversions become a numbers game and the cheaper the inventory, the better (note: this is much more likely when the pricing model is CPA based).

Most legitimate online ad networks offer marketers a quality guarantee when it comes to publisher content and ad placement. However, one apparent problem with Ad Exchanges is that there aren’t as many checks in place to ensure brand-safe venues. In an open market, anything is game and with thousands of options, most agencies and marketers do not have the time to sift through all of the options. Similarly, raised this question last year when we discovered embarassing brand placements within various User Generated Content publishers. Below is a perfect example of how a blind buy across Yahoo’s Right Media can lead to highly controversial ad placement on






What is your Internet Strategy?

I hear this question get asked a lot at various shows, groups, and in work environments. I used to hear this question asked when I worked at a large ad agency myself. These days I am working in the world of search engine marketing, so by the time a client reaches me, they are already well aware that the Internet is not just another “channel” they should be considering.

I recently read a great post over on the newly launched ideasonideas which got me thinking about how large advertisers handle this very question.

I agree with much of what the article says, and think the problem lies within the initial “split” that occurred in the late 90′s and early 00′s when big ad agencies developed Interactive Departments that had little or nothing to do with the bulk of the planning and advertising that went on.

The question for this century, or at least 2008, should be:

What is your Marketing strategy?


There no longer is any such thing as having an offline strategy and an online strategy.

These two groups are now more connected then ever. Doubt it? Try to find me one single advertiser that does not have ANY listings on the web or has zero listings come up on a search engine.

Offline advertising influences online communities, interactions, and even behaviors. By not monitoring these sources you are missing out on a large discussion of your brand and or company.

It appears the folks at ideasonideas “get” this synergy – but I agree that it is difficult to explain it to the “rest of the world” (read: big advertising agencies).

The advertising agency model of the future is a hybrid of what exists today.

There is no way to predict what the future advertising agencies look like, but there certainly are parts that exist today that are not going anywhere;

1. integrated account teams that understand all media
2. Planning across all departments
3. Allowing TWO WAY communication to happen as part of the message
4. Accountability and metrics will remain paramount
5. Change will continue

Those are just a few of my thoughts of what will continue, but I know there will be more. Number 5 above highlights the most important issue that all marketers, even those in the hip interactive agencies, must recognize and always remember to look at things from a different angle sometimes.


AdWeek: Interview with Doug Checkeris

AdWeek has a great interview with the new CEO of MediaCom. (Disclosure: I used to work at MediaCom)

A few distinct quotes caught my attention in the interview:

Were you surprised when MediaCom offered you the top U.S. job?
I was. It wasn’t something I had planned on or saw coming, but it didn’t take a long time to decide it was a good idea. Having spent my career in Canada it was a great opportunity to go and look at something brand new. Having had some distance from it allows more freedom of thinking.

Are you planning any structural changes?
It’s about how do we insure that we bring digital thinking to the core of everything we do.

…and finally one quote in particular that really stood out for me:

Overall, how much of a makeover will MediaCom get in your first year on the job?
There’s an old MediaCom and there will be a new one.

I have many feelings about MediaCom which can of course cloud an objective stance on such a change. From a marketing standpoint it is great to hear that they are receiving a new CEO such as Checkeris. He is talking about some major changes, based on my knowledge of the agency, and time will tell if he is able to make them.

I have stated many things about traditional agencies at, and maybe some of the things that Checkeris will bring to the table will prevent some of hardships happening to many big firms. Agility, adaptability, innovation, and talent have all been a problem for many major large agencies over the past two years. The sweeping changes happening are no longer simply apparent in the dollars spent on ad flowcharts, but are visible via the decisions of brands to go with different kind of advertising agencies. Some of which did not even exist ten years ago – some less than two years ago. As always, actions speak louder than words so we will see what happens.

In the meantime, I have an open invite to Doug Checkeris to come on the Podcast for an interview.

[tags] Doug Checkeris, MediaCom CEO, MediaCom,, Marketing, Advertising Agency [/tags]


WPP: Marketing Cannibalization?

Sir Martin Sorrell has a keen eye for acquisition (both hostile and friendly) when it comes to the marketing services industry. In the last year, Sorrell has taken an interest in online media & technology companies such as Wild Tanget, JumpTap, Video Egg, and most recently: 24/7 Real Media.

WPP’s strategy is remarkably different from other holding companies. As agencies struggle to meet the demands of new marketing, it appears that WPP is trying secure media outlets and for it’s client base in addition to it’s pursuit of interactive service expertise.

One might trace the roots of this investment strategy back to Sir Martin’s “Friend-Enemy” description of the Google-WPP relationship (WPP spent $200 Million+ with Google in 2006). As more and more media spending shifts online, Sorrell would like to squeeze as much as possible out of each budget.

As far as I’m concerned, this raises some serious ethical questions for WPP:

How will WPP’s media and advertising agencies make unbiased decisions when it comes to budget allocation?

While certain discounts will be undoubtedly be appreciated by clients, will the integrity of a brand’s marketing budget be sacrificed for the future success of WPP?

There is a reason that marketers contract media agencies to plan and buy: clients want expertise and relationship leverage in order to maximize the efficiency of their spend. If WPP purchases 24/7, will buyers still be able look at each and every ad network campaign opportunity equally?

Perhaps WPP should focus more on the evolution of some of its behind-the-times portfolio agencies (Grey Global Group?).

Related Links:

Advertising, Media & The Digital Revoultion

WPP: Group M Interaction Strategy Study, April 2007

[tags] Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP, 24/7 Real Media,, marketing blogs, advertising, M&A, acquisitions, Ad Agencies [/tags]

More Podcast Interview With Kevin Roberts: Winning The Consumer Revolution

Welcome back to another Marketing Podcast at


In the latest podcast, we had the pleasure of speaking with Kevin Roberts, CEO of Worldwide Saatchi & Saatchi Ideas Company.

Marketing Podcast
Marketing Podcast

Download this episode (right click and save)


Show Notes:

Kevin’s Story: 30 years of brand marketing at Mary Quant, P&G, Gillette, Pepsico and ultimately the switch to “the land of ideas,” as CEO of Worldwide Saatchi & Saatchi

The Consumer Revolution:

OLD: push, interruptive, mass-marketing; brands are in control

NEW: pull-marketing, choice, emotional connectivity; consumers are in control in the “attraction economy”

SOLUTION: opportunity for brands to regain consumer loyalty = Lovemarks

Lovemarks: the Books, the Online Community, and the Philosophy for Change

How can brands inspire “love beyond reason?”

-The Lovemarks Evolution: Idea -> research -> real life brand successes -> Philosophy for change at Saatchi & Saatchi

Saatchi & Saatchi: focus on ideas, insight & foresight
Book – One in a Billion
Fill the World With Lovemarks

The Future of Television?

TV is the most important medium of the last century. It will remain important in the future however, the design & architecture will change: television will become interactive with more live viewing, more franchise programming (Sopranos, 24, LOST), more choice


To learn more, be sure to Kevin’s blog KRConnect and pick up a copy of:



( book review coming soon!)

Also, check out Lee’s profile at the Lovemarks online community:

[tags] kevin roberts, lovemarks, saatchi & saatchi, podcast, consumer revolution,, advertising [/tags]


DoubleClick Acquisition: The Need For Third Party Advertising Measurement

There is a reason why DoubleClick has become the dominant player in online display advertising: there is a growing demand for accurate, unbiased, third party media measurement. Whenever billions of dollars change hands in a buy/sell marketplace, there will inevitably be the demand for accurate, independent metrics and auditing.

For example, in television, Nielsen ratings are the currency by which advertising rates are determined. Both advertising agencies and television networks rely on this independent data (the quality of which is the topic for another conversation). If Nielsen was owned by Time Warner or WPP, its services would be compromised or at least questioned.

Similarly, DoubleClick filled this void in the online space. For the last ten or more years, it has provided advertisers and publishes with independent, reliable tracking. Online media needs a reliable third party to measure campaign performance.

Google has long maintained that it is “a technology company” and “not a media company.” When it comes to billions of marketing dollars, there is also a need for transparency and accuracy. Google’s biggest challenge will be proving this to DoubleClick’s client base.

[tags] google, doubleclick, acquisition, nielsen, display advertising, marketing, [/tags]


Google AdSense Access Down

I just tried to login to Google AdSense (04/14/07 @ 1:45PM EST) and the site appears to be down, at least from the US.

Here is the site I received instead:

Adsense Down

Here is the URL for the page:

The logo in the corner of the page is not even loading…I wonder if this has anything to do with Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick.?

I am sure there is no integration happening yet, but it definitely is suspect given the timing of the announcement.

Watch this space closely as I agree with Fred, The Banner is Back

[tags] Google, DoubleClick, Adsense,, marketing, advertising, interactive advertising, online [/tags]


Kraft Needs to be more careful where they advertise

Easy Mac

I recently came across the following interactive ad buy by Kraft for the Macaroni and Cheese brand. Kraft created a custom brand message surrounding the video player on As you can see from the screenshot below, an injured girl floating face down juxtaposed against the family friendly mac n cheese brand does not seem like an ideal fit. The link is to the custom mini-site It is likely that Kraft had no intention of sponsoring such objectionable content. To me this seems like an alarming yet unintentional error. While I am not stating that this video has no place on the Internet, I do question the relevance and appropriateness of easy mac n cheese around an injured girl.

This is the perfect example of how an interactive advertising buy involving user generated video can go horribly wrong.

Targeting your demographic is important, and clearly represents an excellent medium to reach the intended audience of college students and users of Easy Mac n Cheese.

I have used this example to illustrate the point that although innovative and cutting edge advertising ideas seem good on paper, it must be executed properly.

I have placed links and the actual video below but please note – the contents are of an objectionable nature showing someone running and jumping off a cliff and receiving personal injury.

Video Description: The video depicts a girl being filmed by her friends (heard in the background) consciously deciding to run and jump off of what appears to be at least a 50 ft. cliff into water below. The girl accomplishes this task with a running start and falls feet first into the water. Next her body appears floating to the surface, face down, while panic is heard in the background of her shocked friends. The crowd yells to get down to her quickly while a nearby boats drives up and someone dives into the water to hopefully save her. This is where the video ends. To see the video – click through to the article as it is embedded below.

I have contacted the support and email contact information for Kraft and as of this writing on 3/25/07 have not heard a reply.

Easy Mac Cliff Jump

[tags] Kraft, girl jump off cliff video, interactive advertising, college humor,, easy mac, mac n cheese,,, marketing [/tags]


IAB CEO: Marketers Must Earn Their Audience

Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the IAB, offers an eloquent summary of the state of marketing in his farewell-address-style AdAge column:

No greater challenge or opportunity has ever faced incumbent marketers and the media and advertising people who serve them. Once, they needed only know how to beguile a captive congregation. Today, they have to “earn their audience.”

Well said Randall.

[tags] marketing blogs, randall rothenberg, adage, new media, technology, advertising, agencies [/tags]