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June 24 2013


GroupM’s Norman: Advertisers Must Embrace the “Stream” With Quick Content

CANNES — Advertising group GroupM’s chief digital officer thinks the top challenge for marketers is to insert themselves in new platforms like Twitter and Facebook that are all about chronologically-ordered, stream-based real-time media consumption.

“Every time the distribution channels change – and the stream is a new distribution channel -  typically the manufacturing problem changes as well,” Rob Norman told Beet.TV during this fascinating discussion at the Cannes Lions advertiser conflab

“If the … six-second commercial in Vine is going to be the short-form video … the manufacturing side of the business has to think very carefully about what does creativity look like in a light-touch way, as opposed to the heavier touch of the 60- or 30-second ad.

“There is this absolute tsunami of content about simple arresting quick-to-consume, quick-to-understand visual imagery that is running all over people’s Facebook page posts…

“If you set the bar of ‘What am I going to do that engages people in a second and persuade them to made them an engagement-related reaction to it?’, that’s a terrific creative challenge.”

We interviewed Norman on Friday at the Cannes Lions festival.

April 03 2013


Vast Majority of Ad Tech Start-ups Will Fail, GroupM’s Rob Norman

Most of the advertising startups who pitch their new services and products to agencies will never return money for themselves or their investors, says Rob Norman, Chief Digital Officer at GroupM Global, during an interview with Beet.TV at the Beet Retreat 2013 in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

“Of every 100 companies that come to see me, 85 won’t make money for themselves or their investors,” he tells Ashley Swartz, the founder and CEO of the New York-based consultancy Furious Minds. Beyond that, another ten will make some money for themselves  and their investors. He estimates that four will make a significant return, but only one of the 100 companies will have a meaningful impact on the advertising business.

For more insight into how a top media agency executive evaluates new businesses and venture-based companies, as well as how the shifts in media affect hiring, strategy and business development, check out this video interview.

-Daisy Whitney


November 10 2009


Why Rent an Audience When You Can Buy Your Own?

The advertising business has traditionally operated according to one very simple principle: marketers pay to pitch their products to someone else's audience. But brands are starting to think it might be time to develop their own audiences rather than rent, according to several agency executives at the Beet.TV online video roundtable in New York last month.

Agencies and publishers are increasingly hearing this directive from clients in the last year, said two Beet.TV roundtable participants: Robert Davis, leader of the interactive video practice at Ogilvy, and Brian Quinn, VP and GM for digital ad sales at the Wall Street Journal. 

"Paid advertising has historically been to rent someone's audience to run your commercials," Davis said. "But over the last six months [larger brands] are saying they want their own audiences."

Agencies are telling publishers they're buying "customer experiences," not cut-and-dried ads on Web sites, Quinn said. "That could include things like tools and widgets," he explained.

But the tried-and-tried practice of renting audiences isn't over, said Rob Norman, CEO of WPP's giant GroupM Interaction. Risk is lower in the rental model and few advertisers have created must-watch programming, he pointed out.

Daisy Whitney, Senior Producer

Video Transcript

Brendan Greeley/Multimedia Editor at The Economist: As a content provider [I'm] terrified by the quality of creative. Honda has as part of its Invent strategy for branding this Dreams campaign...and I found myself personally engaged and it terrified me because it's quite possible the model where content providers made stuff and sold to advertisers is gone. Maybe we are moving back to an old model where Standard Oil used to pay outright for Milton Berle. Is it possible we may cut out content providers altogether and advertisers just pay to produce really interesting stuff?

Michael Learmonth/Ad Age: The world of marketers renting the media is sort of over. Brands want to create their own content.

Rob Norman: The interesting thing is what's the appetite for risk? Because the rental model is a lot like  being a godfather or uncle and renting children -- it's is so much more comfortable than owning them. What happens is if you move up the risk equation it could cost you an awful lot of money and when you add them all up the number of advertisers who have made really compelling brand programming, the number is really small.

Brian Quinn: We have an advertiser and the agency just won the account and they made it clear in 2010 they are looking to create customer experiences and they almost said if you see us placing ads for this client you lost. It's a lot about content and widgets and tools we haven't thought of. It's going to be very much a partnership [in creating].

Rob Norman: When you look around, customer service is becoming such a large part of marketing. We've got brand owners looking at wrapping services around their brands, those are ether paid-for or value-add, and brand owners working with content owners to create brand experiences. Because we are trying to get real value out of the push dollars we spend to send them into an engagement experience.

Robert Davis: Paid advertising is to rent someone's audience to run your commercial. What we're now from hearing from larger brand is why am I not developing my own audience? Why do I need someone else's? But you use the rented audience to do some things in some part of the funnel.

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