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How Agency Media Storm Meets The Integration Challenge

CharlieFMedia Storm, the media planning and buying arm of agency network Water Cooler Group, is breaking down siloes to mirror consumer – and client – media requirements.

Media Storm’s sister companies Hip Genius (social media) and Maude (creative/strategy) share the same real estate and come in on cross-team campaign meetings, according to Charlie Fiordalis, who leads a team of 50 as managing director of digital for Media Storm.

Fiordalis was previously executive director of client services for Omnicom agency Organic, and held roles at Digitas, Y&R and NBC Universal. He now oversees roll-out of new technologies for his media-planning team. These have included partnerships with Tremor on "all screen" video advertising and partnership and with Eyeview to customize audience segments for TV clients.

Fiordalis spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: Who is on your roster?

CHARLIE FIORDALIS: We do campaigns with FOX, FX, MTV, the Food Network, but we have wins outside of that space. We’re working with Chipotle, Phillips 66 and Memorial Sloan Kettering, and are broadening out from the entertainment space.


Agencies Talk Native Measurement

measuringNativeWhile native advertising is this year’s digital buzzword, it’s not clear how one can measure its effectiveness. AdExchanger ran this question past a number of agencies:

“How do you measure native advertising?” 

Click below or scroll down to read their responses


Merkle Buys Chicago's New Control, Bringing Agency Group Headcount To 450

merkle-new-controlMerkle keeps piling on agency services. The CRM and database marketing company has acquired Chicago-based New Control, a "digital and direct" agency with a focus on financial industry clients including Chase, Fifth Third Bank, PNC Bank and Visa.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Merkle EVP and digital agency lead Craig Dempster told AdExchanger the deal creates a Chicago footprint for the agency, with analysts and messaging experts focused on the credit vertical. "In a lot of our media relationships today we do the creative work," Dempster said. "Here, we've acquired a team with a strong methodology in driving direct response performance with creative."

Merkle and New Control both have strength in financial services, but Merkle is focused on retail banking and New Control does credit card marketing. Dempster said, "this expands our performance-based creative communications. Their expertise in addressable media and creating integrated marketing communications in addressable is attractive to us."


Agencies And Brands Can’t Stay Comfortable Spending In One Spot

AgencyPlansThe brand-agency relationship used to be relatively simple. True, brands would have multiple agencies – social, digital, media-buying, for instance – but most of the spend would focus on a single area, usually television.

But as other digital channels become more important to consumers, brands are beginning to realize that stuffing too much money in one area detracts from the others or ultimately adds to the problem of fragmentation.

“Social and video are now playing a part of our traditional buys at NewFronts,” said Sean Black, managing director and group digital director for MediaCom, during a content and video panel hosted by Mindshare, Taboola and Beet.TV in New York on Tuesday.

As demand for more accountability and proven ROI at the agency level increases, brands are making more small investments over time – a contrast to the days when they’d dump a load of money into a single grand campaign. But this philosophy knocks many agencies out of their comfort zones.

“Agencies are comfortable taking the money pot and spending in one spot,” said Jordan Bitterman, chief strategy officer for WPP agency Mindshare North America. “No agency is really set up [for the change] but we feel Mindshare is. We look at our clients’ business and say, ‘Marketing is war.’ There are battles of attrition, audience fragmentation and money that’s being decentralized.”

Adam Singolda, CEO of content-discovery and distribution platform Taboola, seconded that statement. He noted the frequent consolidation in the agency world is occurring because agencies have recognized a need to diversify their expertise. With more platforms, portals and services plays vying for the brand dollar, getting in front of consumer demand is becoming mandatory.


Programmatic Gets Local For LA Agency Davis Elen

davis-elenYou walk into a Honda dealership, and a Toyota ad pops up on your cell phone. The future of programmatic is destined to get more mobile and more local as ad exchanges and agencies team up on innovations that will target consumers more specifically, even when they’re on the move.

Christina Lee, a senior digital planner at Los Angeles-based ad agency Davis Elen. Lee has worked with publisher-direct ad network engage:BDR to take advantage of its targeting capabilities for hyperlocal campaigns.

“McDonald's Los Angeles is our client,” Lee explained, “so we used Engage:BDR’s hypergeographic techniques to target consumers on the go within a one-mile radius of a McDonald's... It was a pretty successful breakfast campaign that tried to get to the customers when they were in a state of mind to buy.”

Programmatic is changing the way Lee gets things done. “It’s made targeting a lot better and more streamlined from the brand perspective by letting us go a few layers deeper into the consumers we’re trying to reach. We’re also looking into programmatic’s cross-device capabilities to target the same users on their phone, tablet and home computer," she said. (more…)

Marc Landsberg: Why A TV Network Could Buy Twitter

LandsbergMarc Landsberg knows agencies.

Landsberg previously served as the former EVP at Leo Burnett and president and CEO of Arc and MRM Worldwide. As the current CEO of Chicago-based social agency socialdeviant, he says the traditional media-buying process has been turned upside down and the players flipping the tables aren’t the platform providers.

Comcast’s planned acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and video ad-serving platform FreeWheel indicate an unassuming entrant to traditional agency territory: the TV networks.

Landsberg spoke with AdExchanger further about this shift, how data is remaking social media and why a single platform-centric approach to the media buy is not good enough.

AdExchanger: What is socialdeviant?

MARC LANDSBERG: I started socialdeviant because I thought brands were really underserved. Data is not the panacea, but you need it in order to inform the targets and the segments. One thing we’re doing is data-driven social segmentation. When brands do their segmentation, they usually put people in personas that are kind of attitudinal. They then hand them to their digital and direct or CRM and social agencies and don’t necessarily reinterpret them for those channels.

We’re not a tool, but our job is to help our clients contextualize social around their business goals. We are two years and one month old. We are already 20 full-time people and we have 10-plus clients and six agency-of-record relationships, so that’s been great. We’re trying to be the McKinsey meets Crispin Porter of social. I think there remain huge gaps in the marketplace. Marketing will never be fully automated. There will always be people. And there will always be judgments to be made based on the data.


Agency Hybrid L2 Grabs $16.5 Million From General Catalyst Partners

ScottGDigital think tank and research consultancy L2 is looking to corner the market on prestige brand and CPG strategy.

A new investment round of $16.5 million from General Catalyst Partners (a HubSpot investor) received Wednesday also underscores the intersection of the management consultancy and digital agency.

“The two primary buckets for this investment will be for technology, since we want to increase our ability to deliver more information across more regions in a more robust way,” said L2’s founder and CEO, Scott Galloway, a clinical professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business. “We [also] plan to have a dozen people in Europe by the end of the year, and some people on the West Coast and in Asia. We see an opportunity to be disruptive to traditional strategy consulting, which is about a $25 billion market.”

Paul Sagan, a partner at General Catalyst, has joined L2 as non-executive chairman. Larry Bohn, managing director of General Catalyst, has also joined the board.

Galloway began the company four years ago when he saw a commercial opportunity from data that arose from a research project at NYU in which Galloway and his team applied 850 data points to rank 100 brands’ digital footprints.

“We started in ‘prestige’ brands with L2 because we saw a digital revolution was coming to the luxury space,” Galloway said. It was also an area underserved by traditional management consultancies, which had strong clout in verticals such as financial services.


IPG’s Rapport, ADstruc Reach Deal To Automate Out-Of-Home Ads

RapportInterpublic Group’s (IPG) out-of-home advertising agency Rapport Worldwide will automate media planning and buying activities using outdoor advertising technology platform ADstruc, the holding company said Monday.

As part of a strategic agreement between the two companies, IPG will deploy the technology across Rapport’s five offices globally, which will significantly improve agency efficiencies. Additionally, IPG has made a $2 million investment for 10% stake in the technology company, according to John Laramie, founder and CEO of AdStruc.

Out-of-home advertising, which includes billboards, posters in transit stations and digital signs, is expected to grow 4.8% this year reaching $7.3 billion in media spend this year, according to IPG's forecasting unit MAGNA Global.

“We wanted to be able to align ourselves with other media in terms of measurement and planning,” added Mike Cooper, president of Rapport Worldwide. “As opposed to only measuring something as arbitrary as how many cars drove by [an outdoor billboard], ADstruc really allowed us to take it to another level purely planning and buying by audience.”

While Rapport will continue evaluating the role key locations and individual sites play in the media-planning process, the agency wanted to go deeper.


MDC Partners Shuffles Media Units, Spins Off ‘Assembly’

AssemblyArtAgency holding company MDC Partners has rebranded its Maxxcom Global Media unit as MDC Media Partners.

It has also rolled two prior agency acquisitions, TargetCast and RJ Palmer, into a new, 250-person-strong media agency called Assembly, which will function as a unit within MDC Media Partners.

Assembly combines resources from independent media communications agency TargetCast and full-service midsize agency RJ Palmer and counts 80-90 clients, including Pfizer, Purdue University and Expedia.

“The ambition of this business is to grow in a way that uses technology and automation to create efficiencies so we don’t have to rely on that linear relationship between growth in billings and growth in numbers,” said Martin Cass, who was appointed CEO of Assembly and MDC Media Partners.

Besides Assembly, MDC Media Partners, which represents the media assets and interests of the MDC Partners organization, will also house MDC’s trading desk Varick Media Management, The Media Kitchen, IMS, Doner Media and TradeX.

“It’s absolutely our intention to build off and use the capability in the tech stack to power a lot of the targeting and analytics we want to do at the heart of the agency,” Cass said.

Cass, who most recently served as president of independent media-buying agency Carat USA, said the digitization of media has made it particularly challenging for creative agencies to make a product or an idea more than just a passing fad. Digital channels and mobile have rendered the core competencies of many businesses “completely obsolete,” he said.


BlueKai And Oracle: Agencies Comment On The Concerns And Opportunities

oracle bluekaiIs the union between Oracle and BlueKai, in the words of Ovum Research Senior Analyst Gerry Brown, a case of “the cat amongst the pigeons?”

There might be some credence to the idea. As Brown points out, BlueKai is (or has been) a champion of open systems. Oracle is not.

“Certainly few BlueKai partners will enjoy the idea of being ‘bossed’ by Oracle, especially as there is such a disparity in bargaining power between Oracle’s massive size and the minnows of a nascent online advertising industry,” Brown said. “Also, the idea of potentially being locked into the Oracle world, which is often perceived as proprietary, would not likely be so attractive.”

But what do key agency partners think? AdExchanger questioned six of them and while there were some common considerations (the hope, for instance, that BlueKai’s data exchange continues to operate independently over the long term), the level of concern over the acquisition varied considerably.

Click below or scroll down to read their responses.