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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : March April 2008
UP FRONT NE T#WORK The Geek shall inherit the earth The ‘maths guys’ are gaining the upper hand in the advertising game. Digital technology is ruining the party for creatives types. Learn to speak their language suggests Mark Ashley-Wilson, head of interactive - Australasia at Lowe and Rivet Australia THE ‘MATHS GUYS’ ARE GAINING the upper hand in advertising. Digital t echnology is ru ining the party for creat ive types. Mind you, the rot sta rted l ong be fore that. I blame people like Henry Ford, who perfected the use of assembly l ines to b ui ld unifo rm co pies o f his Model T cars 100 years ago. Ford wa s the Bill Gate s of h is time, dr iving a technological t rend into a society-chang ing p henome- non. His famous line , “They can have any colour they want, as long as i t’s black” was one of th e first example s of sc ien ce (and co m- merce) triumphing over art. That’s not a bad thing – can you imagine what cars would cost if they were all hand-cr afted? But it has been a trend tha t ha s moved into most other areas of business. Think property developers and their cook- ie-cutter houses, IBM and comput- ers, Microsoft and software, record compa nies a nd sausa ge -fa ctory music, and fi lm compan ies a nd blockbusters on thousands of movie screens. One notable exception to this is Apple – S teve Jobs seems to be able to hold both creativity and mass production in his hands at the same time. The scientific push And now it’s happening to the last bastion of creati vity – the ad vertis- ing industry. Advertising has s tead- fastly held out against the scientific push for more than 100 years. Lord Leverhulme once said, “Half the mone y I spen d on advertising is 6 CAM PA I GN B RIE F wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half”, but that resolve is now crumbling after more than 10 years of ad measurement development on the Internet. WPP buys 24/7 Real Media The ultimate example of this is the recent purchase by global advertis- ing bi gwi gs WP P of 24/7 Real Media for US$650 million. WPP is the world’s second-largest market- ing services company and owner of media agencies such as MediaCom and MindShare, as well as creative ag enci es Grey , JWT , Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam, as well as several interactive specialist agencies. 24/7 Real Media meanwhile, is a marketing techn ology and d igital advertising me asurement company that, as it says on its website, ‘brings the science of digital marketing to advertisers and p ublishers aro und the world’. WPP’ s c hie f exec utive Marti n Sorrell said, “We focus on creativity and media . T his add s a further dimension. It’s the application of science to our business. We think this is increasingly important.” WPP’s goal is to draw as much as a third of its revenues from dig ital sources, and this acquisition is going to accelerate that process. Microsoft acquires aQuantive Micr osoft ’s acqui aQuan ti ve, fol sit ion of lowed Google’s announcement t hat it would pay $US3.1 billion for online advertising technology company Double-Click. Microsoft was reportedly interested in DoubleCl ick as well a nd it ’s believed aQ uantive’s ad serving technology could he lp the world’s largest software manufacturer close the gap with Google. aQuantive doesn’t have the s ame public profile as DoubleClick, but it boasts a suite of qual ity companies and products, including online ROI toolmaker Atlas, the DRIVEpm ad service and R azorfish, one o f the largest interactive ad agencies in the world. Although the price Microsoft paid was stratospheric (the cost per impression was more than t wice what Googl e paid for Doubl e- Click), i t’s shaping up as a quality purchase for the company. Technology and fi nance blog ger Paul Kedrosky wrote that “the tow- ering premium Microsoft was wi ll- ing t o p ay f or the c ompany ( is ) Murdoch-ian, the kind of ‘ shut up and sing’ (or at l east shut up and sell ad s) price t hat s ays let’s stop talking and just get this over with.” Yahoo!, meanwhile, has also got- ten in on the act by taking a strate- gic stake in Right Media, which auc- tions onl ine ads in real-time to the highest bidde r, with more than 2 billion impressions traded daily. Google purchases Postini And almost as if to counterpunch Microsoft for moving into its territo- ry with th e aQ uantive p urch ase, Google bought online security solu- tions provider Postini for US$625 million. Postini will make it easier to persuade larger businesses to make the switch to Google Apps, which is competing head-on with Microsoft Office. Google claims more than 1,000 small businesses a day are signing up for Google Apps, but it is not making headway with medium and large businesses. What do all these boardroom shuf- flings mean? F. Ahrens, writing in the Washington Post, summed it up well: “The art of advertising is turn- ing into the scienc e of advertising. Agencies now need math guys.” He quoted digital powerhouse, R/GA’s chief, Bo b Gre enberg, who said, “Technologists are pretty foreign to the t raditional a gency model, but they’re an important part o f the futu re . Tra di tion al crea ti ve is becoming less and less important.” Does this spell the end of creativity in advertising? Of course not. But it does mean accountability for results is becoming more and more impor- tant as developments in online tech- nology i ncrease t he availability of realistic measures of the impact of advertising and marketing. The Cannes Festival will a lways be there as a monument to creativi- ty, but as more ag encies and soft- ware companies integ rate digital serving and measurement into their or ganis at ional DNA, more and more energy wi ll be focused on achieving commercial outcomes – which, after all, is the purpose of advert ising and marketing. Get used to having more ‘maths guys’ in your planning meetings; Learn to understand their language. MARCH /AP RIL 200 8
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