The Big Story: DTC Disrupts The Competition

The Big Story podcast

Another holding company top dog is leaving the park.

The first was Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Lévy in 2017. Then it was WPP’s Martin Sorrell in April, followed by MDC Partners’ Scott Kauffman in September. And on Wednesday, Dentsu Aegis Networks CEO Jerry Buhlmann also announced his exit.

This week on “The Big Story,” the gang looks at Buhlmann’s surprise departure – a mild shock given that Dentu Aegis seemed to be weathering the financial storms that buffeted its holdco peers.

AdExchanger’s Alison Weissbrot digs into Buhlmann’s legacy: how he helped take a Japanese agency group international and how, in quick order, he acquired programmatic and data-driven expertise – thanks to the quick fire acquisitions of Accordant and Merkle. And, we mull some of the unanswered questions around Buhlmann’s exit, of which there are many.

Also, the team takes stock of the direct-to-consumer (DTC) landscape. James Hercher – who reported Monday about how DTC brands are graduating from social media and taking pains to avoid Amazon – dives into the weeds on how the DTC category is changing and what that means for the ad ecosystem.

Certainly there’s money to be had by stowing away on the DTC hype train. Digital ad growth in the first half of 2018 was driven “in part” by the rise of direct brands, according to the IAB. Ad tech have picked up on the rich scent of possibility, with vendors like Simulmedia introducing solutions geared specifically to the DTC marketer.

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