MDC’s Varick Media Management Introduces Dynamic Creative Solution

jim carusoMDC’s media buying arm, Varick Media Management, unveiled a dynamic creative solution called Pictor on Thursday, an HTML5 ad builder that uses audience and campaign data to adjust the ad unit creative in real time.

Pictor adds a programmatic messaging element to Alveo, Varick’s proprietary tech stack launched in October.

“The big missing piece for me [from Alveo] was creative,” said Jim Caruso, Varick’s SVP of product and client strategy. “We spent all this time and money and used all this data to figure out that a person is likely to buy a product within the next two hours. And then we show them a creative that we’ve shown them the last two weeks.”

Because Pictor is built by a programmatic trading desk, it’s inherently related to the media buy – something that’s often disconnected between media and creative agencies.

“[Pictor allows] the ability to meld and tie the creative and media together within one software stack,” Caruso said. “All of the data we get back from running media we’re able to very quickly apply to the creative.”

Before Pictor, Alveo allowed clients to centralize and optimize programmatic by plugging into multiple DSPs. Now data typically used for targeting purposes can be applied to dynamic creative that can be adjusted in real time based on consumer responses.

Pictor will help apply Varick’s data-driven and media expertise to its largely creative sister agencies so they don’t always have to license third-party tech. Varick also can use the tool to create solutions for clients both within and outside the MDC network.

“We’ve built [Pictor] in a way that’s very flexible,” Caruso said. “[Clients] can say, ‘We have five different campaign strategies, but we only want you to build the campaign for three of them and someone else will build the other two. It’s outside of the traditional creative/media relationship.”

Varick will manage Pictor for clients in two ways: building out and running creative units for media agencies without HTML5 capabilities, and leveraging data and insights to guide creative agencies in building out and delivering dynamic messaging. If Pictor isn’t right for a client or campaign, Varick will continue partnering with third-party vendors to give that client the right solution.

“That’s our philosophy on product in general: Let’s build something that can capture value internally and partner with everyone else out there that has best-in-class tech when it makes sense,” Caruso said.

For now, Pictor will build creative units using HTML5 formats for display and mobile web, but will continue to build out widgets that support new units like video based on client needs.

Through its integration with Alveo, Pictor has built-in impression and click trackers that can measure consumer engagement across devices.

MDC Partners’ agency Assembly launched its own dynamic creative tool, called Dynamic Creative Versioning, in November 2014, which allows advertisers to use first-party data to create and manage campaigns.

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