Brands Bid Adieu To Long-Time Agencies; TV Budgets Are Safe But Not Secure

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The long-term agency-client relationship is fading into the past, as major clients like HSBC, Campbell’s and Ford give up decades-long relationships for a fresher approach. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jim Farley, Ford Motor Co.’s president of global markets, said the company ended its 75-year relationship with WPP in part because “creative development and placement of the ads for digital can be done by machines and software.” Ford will do more work internally and work closely with partners like Google and Facebook to reduce agency fees and operate in a more nimble way. “The digital piece that people engage with today is an online video that grabs your attention in two seconds,” he added. “And who knows those kinds of skills? It’s not the traditional people who design 30-second TV ads or one-page print ads.” More.

Nowhere To Turn

TV may be losing eyeballs, but it’s not losing dollars. According to a UBS survey of 40 major advertisers, “Demand for high-quality TV inventory has never been higher.” While the number of TV ads sold is expected to be flat this year, networks are raising prices as quality issues in digital scare off some marketers, Mike Shields reports for Business Insider. In a separate Business Insider interview, JPMorgan CMO Kristin Lemkau said her company plans to shift more budget back to TV this year. “Digital can be the Wild West and it’s not for the faint of heart, and the metrics are funky and there is fraud and viewability and brand safety, all of these other nightmarish things that we know,” she said. But expect the trend to be short-lived. “Eventually advertisers cannot keep paying more and getting less, but for now there is no better alternative for the majority of TV budgets,” the report said. More.

Travel Plans

Amazon is well positioned to disrupt the travel category, according to research published this week by the travel trade Skift. The ecommerce leader has three potential entry points for travel marketing dollars: (1) It has the search capabilities to launch its own online travel booking and metadata service, (2) it could roll out direct-sold travel ads within its existing paid media offering, and (3) it has already added hotels with Alexa-enabled devices. Investors and analysts have obsessed over a potential Amazon travel agency, a huge cash cow for the likes of Google and Priceline. But Skift speculates an Amazon travel play could give leverage to travel brands rather than pressure them. “Could Amazon provide the travel industry with much-needed leverage against the Google and Facebook Duopoly?” Maybe. More.

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