That was the year that was (fellow old gits will get the reference). Read more
16 December 2015
11 December 2015
Coming hot on the heels of Procter and Gamble’s announcement that they were moving the bulk of their US media business to Omnicom Media Group from Starcom is this week’s news that L’Oreal has consolidated US media with GroupM’s MEC. Read more
09 December 2015
Another review in the continuing rebooting of US agency-client relationships has been settled, with Procter and Gamble announcing their decision to hire Omnicom Media Group for the bulk of their US business. Read more
03 December 2015
Is advertising an art or a science? The debate is not a new one but given the digital era we’re all living in it was certainly timely for the UK TV marketing body Thinkbox to sponsor a debate around the issue last week. Read more
26 November 2015
This post is loosely based on a speech given to the ‘Programmatic Buying in Scandinavia’ Conference on 26th November.
If there is one word that can be said to sum up our industry’s love of jargon it must be ‘Programmatic’. Put 20 media people in a room and you’ll emerge with at least 25 definitions. Read more
19 November 2015
It seems that most weeks bring yet another draw-dropping story from the wacky world of digital advertising. We’ve had bots, fraud, trading desks buying inventory from themselves, and a host of other wonders.
13 November 2015
Last week the great and the good in TV and radio audience measurement from around the world met at the annual asi conference. This was the 25th annual asi event – so many congratulations to Mike Sainsbury and his team. In the interests of full disclosure, I am one of the people who help Mike, and this year I chaired the advertising session within the TV part. Read more
03 November 2015
There has always been tension between those who plan and those who buy; and I am in no doubt that the tension survives whatever titular changes have occurred over recent years. Read more
30 October 2015
As we have commented numerous times before these are not the happiest of times for many in the media agency community. Read more
22 October 2015
One of my main beefs about the online adtech business is how so many people working within it are so narrow in their knowledge and their thinking about advertising. Too many seem to believe that the end point is the technology and the algorithms, and not helping ensure that each ad works as hard as it can. Read more
16 October 2015
Revolutions very rarely happen in a neat, organised fashion, much though the trade press would like that to be the case.
Instead change comes slowly, messily and often in an entirely random fashion. Read more
08 October 2015
A VERSION OF THIS POST APPEARED ON MEDIATEL’S NEWSLINE ON 2ND OCTOBER
Trust and reputation are fragile concepts. You work hard to build your business on solid foundations, and then one bad call destroys both your reputation and your customers’ trust, instantly. Ask Volkswagen. Or indeed Henry Ford, who once said “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do”. Read more
02 October 2015
Slowly but surely the pitch cycle turns, as a few more mega clients involved in pitch-bonanza-time declare their results and decide on a home for their media budgets. Read more
22 September 2015
There’s a very old joke about the adman who when interviewed said ‘Don’t tell my mother I work in advertising, she thinks I am a piano player in a brothel’.
17 September 2015
A terrible and powerful story that first appeared a few weeks ago can be co-opted to illustrate the power of context as well as the importance of distribution.
10 September 2015
Many of us don’t practice what we preach. Politics is full of people saying one thing and doing the opposite. Big name journalists will rip into a minor celebrity for having an affair whilst doing the self-same thing themselves. And of course ad agencies famously never advertise.
03 September 2015
18 August 2015
The Cog Blog is on a short break – back in early September.
14 August 2015
An earlier version of this post was commissioned by and appeared on the IAB’s UK site
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it is that we love to complicate things. And if there’s a second thing, it’s that if we want our customers to buy whatever it is we’re selling we need to be able to communicate the complex simply.
06 August 2015
Congratulations are due to Universal McCann; the agency has triumphed in the first of the mega reviews to declare a result. UM has won Coca-Cola’s business in North America, beating Starcom (the incumbent) and Mediacom amongst others.
31 July 2015
It’s been a little while since we last commented on Xaxis, GroupM’s trading desk. In that time there have been many significant changes – not least Xaxis’ statement that they are not a trading desk.
24 July 2015
One of the less appealing characteristics of the more strident members of the digital community is their habit of suggesting that the world of media planning, buying and selling was ill-informed, ill served by its measurements and entirely unaccountable until they came along.
16 July 2015
Confusing industry, market research. ‘Marketing’ paints the business as angst-ridden and hubris-imbued. This seems to be supported by my LinkedIn newsline which regularly contains researcher-authored pieces full of self-doubt about the industry’s future, alongside those from the Nellie-know-alls, sharing their expertise on any number of topics.
09 July 2015
Disclaimer: I am a Founder Director of Enreach, mentioned at the end of this post.
Another Cannes Advertising Festival has been and gone. Thousands of words have been written; some positive (largely from those who were there and thus presumably felt the need to justify the expense); others negative (largely from those not there who might have been a bit miffed at missing out on the invitation). I wasn’t there; although I certainly wasn’t upset by the coincidence of all those invites going missing.
06 July 2015
The debate around what constitutes ‘viewability’ has been around for a while, which is strange as in one sense it’s really pretty obvious, even non-contentious.
25 June 2015
Disclosure: I am one of the Founders of Enreach.
Ever since the first man clicked on the first ever online ad, and the first blogger penned the first essay on all that’s wrong with everything digital, one question has under-pinned much of the discussion and debate. Who’s in charge?
18 June 2015
And so the play continues towards the endgame. With some unimaginably large percentage of US/global media spending up for review the week has brought new revelations around what is fast moving from being an arcane discussion into something close to front page news.
11 June 2015
A couple of weeks ago we reported on the epidemic of media pitches sweeping across the business. If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to invoke something close to hysteria amongst advertising journalists it’s new business pitches, so you can well imagine the excitement levels, at least in the US.
03 June 2015
Following hot on the heels of the flood of media agency pitches featured earlier this week in The Cog Blog comes the news that two WPP operating companies have made the short-list for the strategic planning component of the Coca-Cola US media account. One is MediaCom, the other is not Mindshare, nor is it MEC, nor Maxus – but Ogilvy. Read more
01 June 2015
Something very strange is happening. Pretty well every large advertiser you’ve heard of has put its media account up for review over the last few weeks. According to AdAge, the list includes General Mills; Sony; 21st Century Fox; Procter and Gamble; Unilever; Coca-Cola; Volkswagen; Johnson and Johnson; L’Oreal. There may very well be some I’ve missed.
26 May 2015
Creating content is easy (just look at LinkedIn, or the majority of blogs). Creating content anyone except the author considers remotely interesting and worthy of being read is quite another thing.
18 May 2015
No Cog Blog post this week as we’re away on a short break. Normal service will be resumed next week.
11 May 2015
Well, that all went horribly wrong. I mean of course my predictions on the UK General Election; far be for me to impose my own political leanings on anyone.
05 May 2015
Just in case you’re visiting from Mars, Thursday is UK General Election Day. Whoopee! Especially whoopee if you’re a newspaper; circulations generally go up during election campaigns. It will be fascinating to see, once the dust has settled how circulations of physical newspapers did this time when set against the same newspapers’ online performances.
30 April 2015
The robust exchange of views around agency rebates, kickbacks and the rest in the USA continues, with many of the main protagonists showing up at the ANA’s Advertising Financial Management Conference, which kicked off with a Transparency Town Hall (what?) at the weekend.
AdAge headlined their first report ‘Advertisers and agencies far apart…’ and quoted Ana Jernestaal, Assistant VP – Finance for L’Oreal USA as follows: “We know [rebates] exist, but we’re sitting across the table from advertising agencies that are flatly denying it.” Read more
23 April 2015
17 April 2015
It had to happen sooner or later. After weeks of negative stories around media agencies, rebates and the rest, many of which demonstrate that if you’re an agency it is indeed possible to shoot yourself in the foot whilst the foot in question is firmly lodged in your mouth, one or two rocks have been lobbed back towards those doing the bashing.
07 April 2015
Media researchers need to have thick skins, not to mention an ability to smile as yet another key stakeholder decides that the lessons of the past mean nothing, and that the time to chuck everything up in the air and recast the entire industry is NOW!
27 March 2015
Big data has failed me. Like every right-minded person I bought the argument that world peace would be achieved, or at least that my life would be immeasurably better as a result of all those clever algorithms. Yet somehow I am still bombarded by unimaginable crap every day – and this crap is not just annoying it is startlingly, professionally irrelevant.
19 March 2015
Sometimes the last people to realise that something is going on are the very people to whom the thing in question is happening. Or to put it another way, no amount of sticking your fingers in your ears and running around singing a merry tune to drown out the unpleasant news can make the unpleasant news go away.
09 March 2015
It’s been another few weeks of less-than glorious headlines for the media agency industry. In Australia, Aegis has admitted to negotiating so-called value banks from media owners, a practice brought to public attention by GroupM who decided to audit the operations of its subsidiary MediaCom once ‘anomalies’ in campaigns placed on behalf of three large clients came to light.
In the USA, MediaCom’s ex-CEO, the respected Jon Mandel used a conference platform at the annual ANA event (the ANA is the US advertisers’ association) to claim that practices involving agencies making extra commissions via kick-backs and the like are common in the States.
03 March 2015
I’ve said before that I fear for the media agency business. My issue is less around what used to be referred to as the planning side – there are plenty of excellent people creating loads of initiatives of value and relevance – and more to do with the execution of the plans, or (as they used to be called) the buys. The fact is that clients increasingly don’t trust their agencies. How on earth did the agencies get into this pickle?
23 February 2015
The mighty row over at ‘The Telegraph’ ignited by the resignation of that well-respected journalist Peter Oborne has brought the relationship between advertising and editorial centre-stage, once again.
18 February 2015
The temptation to say ‘I told you so’ has been strong this week. I shall resist first because I don’t think you need to be a genius to see what is likely to happen to agency trading desks, although being old undoubtedly helps, and second because I’m quite sure that those of my old Leo Burnett colleagues who now form the top management at Vivaki don’t read my blog. And even if they do I am sure they ignore it completely.
10 February 2015
It was always said that everyone is an expert in two things: their own job, and advertising. Of course, everyone has an opinion, but at the same time it’s important to accept that opinions are one thing, actually doing it is something else.
04 February 2015
One of the issues I have with some of the more niche adtech experts out there is their lack of knowledge, or as it sometimes seems interest in the broader media, let alone advertising world. It’s fair enough to make the same criticism the other way around, although in my experience legacy media guys have shown an appetite to absorb as much as they can about new forms and techniques.
30 January 2015
The public manoeuvrings of the largest media agencies rarely disappoint. It is extraordinary how many times they become embroiled in spats on buying issues, whilst in the next breath promoting what they tend to describe as their unrivalled strategic planning skills.
23 January 2015
A common refrain from every passing marketing director and journalist is the need for the agency business to come up with a new business model. Sometimes this is expressed as amazement that the industry is still sticking to what’s described as ‘the old model’; sometimes the critics just keep repeating ‘need to reinvent’ over and over again whilst accessing their mental thesaurus.
15 January 2015
There can surely only really be one topic front of the mind with any media person this week, and that’s the terrible events in Paris. The murder of journalists, cartoonists, editors for upholding their right to free speech overshadows everything else in the media business.
08 January 2015
…And we’re back. Welcome to 2015; may it bring you every success and happiness. And I hope you stay with me as I attempt to deliver another year of insightful, infuriating, irritating Cog Blogs.
In amongst all the Christmas and New Year festivities, I received a letter. It was not formatted, nor was it from the taxman. Rather it was hand-written, from a good friend. It made me feel really good, not just its content but the fact that in this day and age of emails and Facebook posts someone had taken the time and trouble to sit down and write me a letter.