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Starcom On How RUN Is Helping Publicis Bust A Move Into Ad Tech

LisaWeinsteinStarcomMediaVestGroupHe who has the gold makes the rules. But the in-house trend doesn’t just apply to brands – agencies are starting to buy up ad-tech vendors, as evidenced by Publicis Groupe’s acquisition Tuesday of mobile programmatic vendor RUN.

Publicis has been dipping into the ad tech waters for a while. The holding company bought up 20% of Israeli performance media player Matomy Media Group earlier this month, and its tech and media unit VivaKi has been doing a bit of investing through its VC arm, VivaKi Ventures. But the RUN purchase represents Publicis Groupe’s first real ad-tech present to itself.

Considering what the competition is up to, it’s a necessary move. WPP just poured $25 million into a data-management platform (DMP) for its trading desk, Xaxis. And Omnicom’s tech arm Annalect is trying to turn itself into a platform.

RUN, at least for the moment, will retain its name, management and operational structure. The technology will operate as a standalone unit within Publicis as part of its media planning and buying arm, Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), rather than as part of VivaKi.

“RUN is an owned asset of our group, but we want them to have a robust business, not just with us, but within the general marketplace,” said Lisa Weinstein, SMG’s president of global digital, data and analytics. “While we expect to see their business to continue to grow, their technology also aligns to where we are and will help us get to where we want to be – people-based targeting.”

However, that doesn’t mean current Publicis Groupe clients need to be wary about being obligated to use RUN’s technology, said RUN CEO Seth Hittman.

“We’re going to continue to build our business and our product suite so that the brands that work with Publicis feel more confident about the future,” Hittman told AdExchanger. “But there is no mandate. That’s not the spirit here.”

Weinstein spoke with AdExchanger following the RUN acquisition announcement.


Publicis Groupe Acquires Programmatic Platform RUN

publicisbuysrunThe programmatic ad tech consolidation continues. Publicis Groupe has bought mobile-focused ad platform RUN, previously known as RUN DSP, the holding company said Tuesday. Read more on RUN's blog or read Publicis' release. Details of the deal – including price – were not disclosed.

It’s a significant move for the holding company, whose recent financials have been less than stellar. Publicis Groupe’s revenue grew a scant 4% year over year, reaching $2.21 billion in the third quarter of 2014.

CEO Maurice Lévy blamed the meager growth on key account losses – many from its digital agency Razorfish – and what he referred to as the lingering “distraction” of the spectacularly anticlimactic failed merger with Omnicom.

Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) will leverage RUN's DMP and DSP in support of existing solutions, teams and agencies across Publicis Groupe, including ZenithOptimedia and Publicis trading desk VivaKi.

The RUN acquisition could mean that Publicis has finally decided to follow in the footsteps of WPP, the only other big-boy agency holding company that has pursued an ad tech "ownership" strategy via its Xaxis unit. WPP has previously invested in AppNexus and Rentrak. Omnicom, in the meantime, has Annalect – though the holding company's CEO John Wren indicated during his last earnings call it trailed Xaxis.

As part of VivaKi’s Audience on Demand platform (AOD), RUN will also be integral to Starcom MediaVest, Publicis Groupe’s media planning and buying hub. VivaKi will reportedly leverage RUN’s data-management platform and its demand-side platform (DSP) technology to enhance AOD. According to a VivaKi source, one of the desk’s first initiatives will be configuring RUN’s tech to power AOD for cross-channel advertising.

The question then becomes: Will there be an internal mandate for Publicis clients to tap into RUN? If a client has a pre-existing DSP relationship, that could cause some friction.


Maxus Global CEO: 'Media Isn’t Going To Be The Last Three Pages Of The Pitch'

maxus lindsay pattison steve williamsWhen Lindsay Pattison was appointed global CEO of GroupM media agency Maxus in mid-October, she saw a clear opportunity to build collaboration with creative agencies, particularly in the United States.

Steve Williams, Maxus’ US CEO, is already in the midst of forging “incredibly strong relationships with lots of creative agencies,” said Pattison. Her own attention is more focused on building out a long-term strategy – a skill she honed over the past two years, which she spent as Maxus’ global chief strategy officer.

The problem afflicting media agencies, particularly in the United States, is that they’re often perceived as performing only buying functions. But Pattison envisions Maxus pushing far beyond the limitations of that role.

The agency has certainly been active pushing into new ground. Most notably, it assisted with Universal Pictures’ preview of its upcoming “Ouija” movie on Snapchat, the first ad created for that platform.

Pattison and Williams spoke with AdExchanger.

Agency Executives On Changing Compensation Models

ACAs agencies adopt programmatic practices, their compensation models are also evolving to accommodate emerging technologies, new client needs and transitioning costs of operations.

Though several agencies that AdExchanger spoke to were willing to weigh in on the changes they’ve observed, many brand executives declined to detail their own shifting compensation models, citing the sensitivity of that information. But they do endorse the programmatic model.

“We believe automated marketplaces are critical to delivering on guest expectations now and in the future,” said Kristi Argyilan, Target’s SVP of media and guest engagement. “We’re excited by the capabilities accessible data and ad tech enable.”

Agency execs from 360i, Jack Morton Worldwide, 3Q Digital, Ready Set Rocket and Huge offered some insight into how pricing models are changing, and shared their thoughts on how to find the best way to adapt to the new system. improve upon the ongoing evolution.

Click below to read their responses.


Lévy Attributes Slow Q3 To Failed Omnicom Merger And Razorfish Losses

publicisPublicis Groupe reported a meager 1% organic growth rate for 2014’s Q3 on Thursday, with the displeased CEO Maurice Lévy blaming key account losses at Razorfish and lingering “distraction” on the failed Omnicom fusion. Publicis’ revenue in Q3 grew 4% YoY to reach $2.21 billion.

“We have been too much focused on [the merger] and not enough on short term issues and growth,” Lévy told investors during the call, “and we are paying the price for that.” Despite Lévy’s assertions, Omnicom Group reported organic growth of 6% in its Q3 and made little mention of the fiasco with Publicis.

Certainly key account losses at digital agency Razorfish – as well as clients like Blackberry trimming back their advertising budgets – had a more tangible negative effect on Publicis. 

Consequently, Publicis restructured the agency as Razorfish Global to include assets from Nurun and Rosetta.

In a statement, Lévy said the company is nearing the end of a negative growth cycle and expressed confidence in Publicis’ vitality. Strong growth in digital is one indicator of an impending uptick, said Lévy, and digital now accounts for 42% of Publicis’ revenue and is growing by more than 9%. He anticipated new client wins, such as Samsung, will also help bring about a better financial forecast by year’s end, he added.


Q3: IPG Says Marketers Fear Programmatic’s Black Box

IPGInterpublic Group (IPG) reported Q3 revenue of $1.84 billion, an 8.3% increase YoY and an organic increase of 6.3%.

IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth attributed the solid quarter to strategic digital developments and to the competitiveness of its agencies. IPG’s media agencies are housed in its Mediabrands entity and include Initiative, BPN, ID Media and Orion Holdings.

Roth provided only a rough estimate on the holding company’s programmatic investments, saying it’s about 7% of overall media spend globally and about 10% in the US.

“We continue to believe one of the biggest issues of programmatic buying is the issue of distrust by the clients, because they don’t really understand what’s going into this ‘black box,’” said Roth, adding some clients, though not a huge amount, are taking their practices in-house.

“We’re going to have to watch this very carefully,” he said. “But if we’re doing our job right in terms of delivering on an efficient basis and delivering the returns through our trading, then there shouldn’t be any need for clients to take it internally.”

Roth didn’t see any novelty in this decision, saying IPG has often witnessed clients take their marketing disciplines in-house and that it doesn’t tend to work well, especially for smaller clients unable to field the talent, technology and resources.


Q3: Omnicom Reveals How It Fares On Programmatic

omnicom-wrenOmnicom Group's programmatic buying discipline is still in its early days, the agency holding company emphasized during its Q3 2014 earnings call Tuesday.

Programmatic buying constitutes just south of 2% of the company’s overall revenue, which reached $3.75 billion during the quarter, up 7.4% YoY. Most of the growth came from the North America region, which was up 8.9% YoY (compared to the low single-digit growth of other regions).

Omnicom CEO John Wren attributed North America’s increase partially to growth in programmatic buying – as well as other factors like fewer losses and new client wins.

Omnicom, he said, saw a significant uptick in programmatic toward the end of Q3 2013 and throughout Q4 2013 and Wren projected at least double-digit growth for programmatic into Q4 and throughout 2015.

However, he added a caveat, saying it’s still “early days.”

Havas CEO On Algorithms, The (French) Family Business And Creativity’s Part in Programmatic

YannickYannick Bolloré, the newly appointed chairman and CEO of Havas, took to the Times Center stage Wednesday at Advertising Week to talk about changes at the French agency holding company in the wake of last year's restructuring.

Bolloré, a family-owned investment group steered by Yannick’s father and famed French investor Vincent Bolloré, owns a 37% stake in the global communications company that named the younger Bolloré its leader this winter. The appointment came just one year after Havas rolled its MPG and Media Contacts brands into an umbrella unit dubbed Havas Media Group.

As part of the restructure, a number of MPG assets including mobile marketing agency Mobext, data management platform Artemis and the Affiperf agency trading desk were consolidated under the jurisdiction of Havas Media.

Affiperf now calls itself a “Meta DSP,” a designation meant to emphasize its scale across all exchanges, publishers and a range of DSPs.

After all, Bollore acknowledged, a competitor’s DSP “may be more right for one campaign” than Affiperf, even.


Programmatic Video The Basis Of (Expanded) Publicis, AOL Deal

PalsWhile AOL and Publicis Groupe have been programmatic cohorts since last July, the media giant and the holding company took their partnership to another level by adding video and linear TV to the mix Monday at Advertising Week.

The move will link Publicis' digital arm VivaKi with AOL Platforms, which will become Publicis' preferred partner for programmatic video.

Through the deal, all Publicis agencies will get access to premium reserved and non-reserved inventory through ONE by AOL, as well as the tools to build private marketplaces.

Toby Gabriner, head of and ONE by AOL, told AdExchanger that AOL forged 50 new private marketplaces in the first half of the year alone. With digital video ad spend expected to skyrocket from $7.77 billion in 2015 to $12.71 billion in 2018, agencies are stepping up their investment in the format.

Although it's unclear how Publicis clients using other video platforms for their buys will be affected by the partnership, AOL touts its openness, claiming brands and agencies can use either their own tech or AOL's. More details should emerge when AOL stages tonight its Programmatic Upfront, what's rapidly becoming a fall tradition.


Omnicom Digital Chief Says CRM Deal Is About ‘Following Media Through To Commerce'

JonathanNelsonCloud CRM stalwart and agency holding company Omnicom Group are extending their love affair.

The companies on Tuesday revealed a CRM data-sharing initiative (they’re calling it a customer engagement platform) extending across Omnicom. This means will pipe data from email, sales transactions, call center/service requests and mobile data into Annalect’s data-management platform.

Previous partnerships set the stage. Last summer, Omnicom revealed it would roll out’s social advertising tool agencywide along with social publishing and listening tools Buddy Media and Radian6.

The goal is to bring first and third party data together to enable more precise messaging, Jonathan Nelson, CEO of Omnicom Digital told AdExchanger: “We wanted to then follow that through to commerce, and then post-purchase in social media through what they say after they buy. It’s sort of a recursive loop.”