Home Advertiser Mondelez, Heineken Take The Programmatic Bull By The Horns

Mondelez, Heineken Take The Programmatic Bull By The Horns


mondelezThe big brands have woken up to programmatic buying, and will not be going back to sleep.

The gang of marketers directly controlling their exchange-traded media platforms keeps getting larger. Its membership now includes Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg’s, American Express, Procter & Gamble, Allstate Insurance, 1-800-Flowers and Unilever.

Mondelez International is the latest to seize a more direct role in its programmatic investment.

On Monday at the Cannes Lions festival, the owner of more than 40 snack brands including Oreo and Wheat Thins unveiled a relationship with video demand-side platform (DSP) TubeMogul. Mondelez will work with the media buying team at MediaVest to execute the media, but will own the contract directly. (More in the press release.)

Bonin Bough, VP of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelez International, said he didn’t see a reason brands wouldn’t go “100% programmatic,” or something close to it, as Procter & Gamble and American Express have reportedly proposed to do. (AmEx later walked back that talk, again reportedly.)

“Why would I not buy media in a way that I can get data back and use it to make smart decisions?” Bough said during a Monday rooftop panel in Cannes hosted by TubeMogul.

Bough said Oreo’s celebrated social media work, including its “Dunk in the Dark” Super Bowl execution, could have gone farther with more data-assisted ad spend behind it. “Imagine if we had realized the impact and engagement, and used that data for all our media buys” during a focused period of time, Bough said. He speculated the best social media work could have achieved much greater reach and impact.

Heineken USA also is focused on programmatic buying. The brewer has been decidedly less splashy than Mondelez in talking up its plans, but it is working to internalize the expertise in a similar way.

Speaking on the same TubeMogul panel, Ron Amram, senior media director with Heineken USA, said the company has seen rapid benefits and insights from its programmatic video investments. Those investments have been largely focused on driving awareness and intent to purchase.

Amram suggested concerns about transparency and waste in the programmatic arena are the result of too many marketers sleeping at the wheel. “The blame falls with you [the client] for not finding out how your agencies and vendors are buying media,” he said.


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Bough chimed in, “There’s a lot of complacency, a lot of laziness in the marketplace, a lot of value left to be unlocked. The problem is not with the agencies. It’s the clients.”

He estimates this state of affairs will change rapidly, as more marketers open up to new ideas. As an example, he cited Burger King’s hire of 31-year-old Axel Schwan – a financial industry marketer – as its next chief marketing officer.

TubeMogul is actively reaching out to big brands such as Mondelez and Heineken that are ready to “lean in” to their programmatic investments. The company, along with other video and generalist DSPs, must walk a tightrope in this sales process. This is especially true when they are pitching marketers that already run media on its platform but may not know it because their agency handles the buying.

“We’re trying to intentionally create models that work for us and the agency,” said Brett Wilson, CEO of TubeMogul.

Agencies are learning to be OK with this. Another panelist at TubeMogul’s event was Josh Jacobs, CEO of Omnicom Group’s Accuen programmatic buying unit. Jacobs suggested the trading desk model has come a long way, and described Accuen as a “highly transparent systems integrator” that is working to imbue its two media agencies – OMG and PHD – with programmatic know-how.

Jacobs and others appear ready to accept a future where clients do deals with ad tech platforms and internalize the knowledge within their own organizations. Agencies will in many cases run the relationships in closely held “private exchanges.”

“If our agencies are the owners of data and we haven’t built the muscle memory to be smart traders, we’re going to be dumb buyers,” Bough said.


A programmatic video panel by the sea. From left: Bonin Bough (VP Consumer Engagement, Mondelez), Michael Salerno (EVP Data Strategy & Ad Products, Turner Broadcasting), Ron Amram (Senior Media Director, Heineken),  Josh Jacobs (CEO, Accuen), Anthony Rhind (Chief Digital Officer, Carat). 

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