How Mondelēz Exec B. Bonin Bough Is Trying To Win The Data Arms Race

boninWhen B. Bonin Bough, the VP of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelēz International, took the stage Tuesday at the Cannes Lions festival, he proclaimed that he couldn’t see a reason why brands wouldn’t go completely programmatic – a sentiment he held even back in 2013.

In 2014, Mondelēz set the first stages of its plan into action by diving into a deal with video demand-side platform TubeMogul. Under the agreement, the CPG giant’s media agency MediaVest will execute buys, but Mondelēz will oversee the contract directly.

Bough spoke with AdExchanger Friday during the festival’s wind-down while business execs and PR staffers nursed blistering hangovers. Bough dove into deeper detail on what he expects from the TubeMogul deal, the value of transparency in media buying and why he needs to get really good at video games.

AdExchanger: What’s your takeaway from this Cannes Lions festival?

B. BONIN BOUGH: There’s a growing place where culture meets technology. To see Kanye West and Ben Horowitz on stage together. To see Apple and [Jimmy] Iovine together. There’s an interesting blending of culture and technology in ways that we’ve never seen before.

How was it divided in the past?

It was very segmented. Tech started coming here maybe four years ago. But it was still like, “Those are the tech guys. The culture ad guys are here.” Now it feels intermingled. VICE is a beautiful example of that, the fact that it’s such a draw here. You’ve got Instagram showcasing France through tech.

You guys are showcasing tech as well, with your TubeMogul deal.

That is more about setting up an organization to win for the future. At the end of the day, all media will be bought programmatically. Any exchange-based world that can be digitized will be digitized. And we’re in that situation right now. The traditional players will create greater value in a programmatic world than they’re even able to create in a direct world. But there’s a timeframe for that transition to happen.

What matters, if you want to win in an exchange marketplace, is having data and analysis. And those who can identify and tie data together in new and interesting ways and wrap analysis around it will win in that marketplace.

When you presented Tuesday, you mentioned the TubeMogul deal lets you own that data.

The TubeMogul deal lets us – there’s a savings piece, of course – but it allows us to own our data, it allows us to connect that data and it allows us to understand the pricing of the media we’re buying. Historically, we understand the price levels we’re operating at. Whereas a lot of the trading desks right now don’t provide a lot of transparency into pricing.

Why is transparency so important to you?

For the long game, you want to know what you paid three years ago for that same audience so you know whether you’re becoming efficient or not.

Why we care about transparency isn’t about cutting the fees for agencies. In the long run, the analysis of whether I’m doing good or bad will be determined by who I’m reaching and at what cost. And not in aggregate but individually.

The TubeMogul deal lets us own our own data, build an analysis stack, understand our own pricing and prepare ourselves to become a really smart buyer in this programmatic world, so as the world changes, we’re prepared to be a part of that.

Ideally I’d like to buy all of our media programmatically. Even if we buy direct, I still want to transact the media programmatically because I get data back and data in. It’s a data arms race, is what this is.

What else do you need to build besides an analysis stack?

I have sales data, supply data, a whole realm of data across the organization. This is media meets commerce. This is a time when I can tie my media to my entire sales process. But now I have to understand how to connect those things intelligently. I still think we have a long ways to go. But the first part was bringing partners who can help me right now, like TubeMogul, in-house so I can begin to capture my targeting data, my pricing data, my audience data, and begin to tie those to CRM, to sales, and so and so forth.

TubeMogul is of course focused on video. What about display?

This is a video game. There’s a place for display, but it’s less of my focus right this second. Because our dramatic shift into video represents a greater percentage of our spending. Video traditionally is TV. That’s where the opportunity is going to exist. On average, 70-80% of most budgets are spent on television. When that begins to unlock, it’s all video that’s unlocking.

So when AdWeek reported that 50% of your ad spend will be on digital, that’s mostly video?

A large percentage will be video, but a large percentage will be mobile and social. My point is that I’m not just looking at this as a digital piece, I’m looking at the traditional opportunity as well. And that’s all media, and it’s a video game.

TV will be transacted programmatically?

That’s right.

Even broadcast? They’re reluctant to loosen the inventory.

Everyone is reluctant at first. Our broadcast partners are outrageously smart. Many are already delivering programmatic solutions into the market place. As they see it monetized better, targeting and data provide the capability to actually charge more versus charge less. And they’re going to move a lot faster in terms of programmatic inventory.

You’re going to look at cable operators. You’re going to look at cable channels. You’re going to look at new operators. You’re going to look at the telcos delivering content, wanting to do programmatic. It’s going to drive greater revenues and they’re going to move that way. Look at the financial markets. Same thing happened.

What about the issues with measurement?

What’s the issue with measurement?

That it’s not precise enough.

What about TV? Why would we not be concerned about having that same precision where those larger spends are happening.

Here’s how I feel about measurement. I’m laser-focused on measurement. All I care about is ROI. My job is to invest media dollars and at the end of the day, all I care about is what my return is. That’s all I care about. When I see a platform that is the biggest transformation we’ve had in the way we can communicate as a society and potentially communicate as consumers, all I care about is how to use that to maximize my return.

The challenge we have with measurement is that it’s a client challenge. If clients wanted to measure it more, it will be measured. At the end of the day, we’re the people who write the checks. The clients holistically haven’t demanded enough of measurement to be able to measure it individually. Now, I do realize that because a significant amount of our spending still sits on TV, a lot of times, it’s difficult to separate that out as an individual channel.

So what do you do?

Instead of separating that out – how much did this tweet deliver to that specific business? – we asked what we are measuring. We have enough historical data, and our measurements are sensitive enough to see lifts and changes in that big investment. So instead of trying to measure in isolation, why not measure the impact our investment in Twitter has on television? So we can see the lift of this big thing we’re already measuring. I can tell you now, and this is why I’m a massive fan of Twitter, when we invest in social and TV together, we can see twice the effectiveness of our TV. Which equates to greater ROI.

Can I tell you specifically what that one tweet did to the business? No. But I can tell you what running Twitter in combination with television is doing to lift my overall ROI. And I can tell you the same thing with Facebook. I can tell you Facebook adds continuity to my TV, so I can almost be on air longer. And it makes my overall campaign work better. What we’ve tried to do with measurement is flip it on its head. Because everybody wants to know: What did that one Facebook post do? But that’s such a small question to be asking. The bigger point here is: How do we look at what we can measure and try to affect that thing?

Was it difficult to get your bosses to buy into this?

It was more of them challenging me. The whole goal was to build the proof points very quickly that could directionally show us where we need to go, that we’re headed in the right direction and that we were actually seeing return. If you look at the work we’ve done – the Super Bowl, our Twitter MTV deal – a lot of these things are built around proving out mobile and the measurement that we do with the pilots we’ve constructed. It’s all about proving out what works and quickly scaling it.

Mondelēz owns the contract directly but MediaVest is still executing on it. How do you build the trust with your agency?

We love MediaVest, we love Carat. We’ve tried to build a very special relationship with our agency. As a client, you get the agency that you deserve. What you put out is what you get back. With both of our agencies, we’ve tried to build the next generation of capabilities to drive this CPG category. They understand the strategic reasons why we are looking to own the data and use TubeMogul as a partner. They respect those strategic decisions, and they’re focused on helping us win. As a partner, we made a decision and we believe it’s the strategically correct decision for the business. And we as a team are running after that.

What sort of teams did you need to build in-house?

Holistic buying – one person buys across TV and digital. Communications planning, looking at the world of connected media, how all pieces of media connect. Analytics. And content integration. Which are teams helping us build new content models. Those are the four big pieces we looked at.

What still needs to be done?

What’s exciting now is we’re delivering at scale on the promises of business impact and we’re doing that by transitioning our thinking and shifting the investments appropriately.

The work that still needs to be done is tying in real-time creative. We’ve done a lot of work in with Oreo Daily Twist, the Super Bowl. But you’ve still got Nilla, our TRIDENT-Fuse program, you’ve got the IPL (Indian Premiere League) in cricket, you’ve got our real-time TV work we’ve done with the Olympics in Canada. I can go down the list. Over the last two years we’ve built a core capability in real-time marketing from a creative development side. And now we just launched Blink Studios in the US to do real-time video. We’d been doing it in some other programs, but now we want to do it across nine brands.

Now we have to link that to real-time buying. So the ability to respond to what’s culturally relevant and then to buy in places where that culturally relevant message targets the user.

Think about the Super Bowl, “Dunk in the Dark.” That moment when we saw it take off, we could have transitioned all of our media investment and brought that same creative across every piece of media we’d already negotiated for or that was available to buy.

The agency 360i executed that. Would you have to bring your digital agencies closer to your media agencies to pull this off consistently?

The agency ecosystem has to be looped together. People ask us about “Dunk in the Dark” – “How did it take only four minutes to get that out?” Well, we’d spent the last year, every day, creating content that was culturally relevant and learning what legal approval was necessary, who should actually post it, all the process pieces that are necessary. The most important piece is for us to continue to build that infrastructure to make it possible for our agencies to all connect.

Enjoying this content?

Sign up to be an AdExchanger Member today and get unlimited access to articles like this, plus proprietary data and research, conference discounts, on-demand access to event content, and more!

Join Today!

1 Comment

  1. Chip Schenck

    Another great opportunity for brands and publishers to work together in a cooperative, productive way to build unique data sets for more effective targeting, partnership and media spend. As more and more brands who do not have a direct, transactional relationship with consumers build out their data sets, deep strategic partnerships with publishers that utilize proprietary data (both client and publisher) will provide a view into consumer habits directly related to the products a brand is selling, that will enhance both the effectiveness of the dollars spent and the experience for the end consumer. Building a partnership with the right publisher who has both scale, relevance and a deep relationship with the consumer is critical. After all, rich behavioral and intent data comes from deep consumer interaction in rich context.