Digital Media – A Vacancy for a Campaigning Category Manager?

Reading the latest from Marc Pritchard, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, in his battle to get some transparency in the digital media world, it struck me just how messed up this spend category appears to be.

Pritchard has previously pointed out that much of the money the big advertisers are spending on digital media is wasted – figures on the viewing of adverts places on these websites and apps is distorted by fake “bots”, or the ads are run in places you really wouldn’t want them to be, or the “views” are in reality the split-second before the consumer clicks off the ad. There are also non-transparent commercial practices going on in those supply chains that certainly are not to the benefit of the ultimate buyer.

Yet this has all been apparently accepted for some time now. But what if we applied this principle to other spend categories? If the Mars wrappers I used to buy had contained a few porn magazines inserted in every reel of packaging I bought. Or the skimmed milk powder I paid for turned out to be 50% chalk dust. Or … well, you get the idea.

In Pritchard’s speech to the Association of National Advertisers Media Conference in Orlando recently, and a pre-speech interview with Ad Age, he picked up on this theme. As Global Advisers reported:

"We will vote with our dollars," Mr. Pritchard said in an interview Wednesday. While digital platforms have "assembled huge audiences," there are also more choices for media dollars than ever, he said, including on TV, where he's noted even digital startups or Google itself spending considerable money.

At least on TV you pretty much know that the measures do track real people watching. Perhaps we might see print and even newspapers making a comeback as a more reliable home for advertisers? (Actually, might the daily press become the vinyl of the 2020s? There’s an interesting thought …)

The details around this problem are quite shocking really. The industry’s “viewability” standard calls for “at least 50% of an ad show up for at least a second for display ads and two seconds for video”.  So I see half of an ad for just one second and that is supposed to be viewable and have a benefit to the advertiser – what a load of absolute nonsense.

While it is good to see Pritchard stand up for better buying here, it is a bit of a shame that we haven’t seen a high-profile marketing services procurement person making these points. We’re supposed to be the guardians of spending money effectively in our organisations, aren’t we? It looks like there is a vacancy to be the category manager who gets out there and campaigns with people like him. Any volunteers?

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Voices (2)

  1. A buyer:

    1) not all advertisers have the clout and power of P&G
    2) as a buyer, I have to consider what’s in the best interest of my company. Is it in the best interest of my company to be as vocal at Marc? Or would I not better serve the interests of my company in fixing/addressing these issues quietly?

    1. Peter Smith:

      I think that is a fair point. If procurement people are working behind the scenes, then that is good news and I do know there are some excellent people working in this field. But I might still question whether the “marketing services procurement community” has been active enough in this area – it just seems amazing for example that the official measure of viewability is so inappropriate!

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