Wieser To Panelists: 'Do You Beat Your Wives?'
Well, pretty much. Actually, he opened with a doozie of a question, jumping right into the cricket-chirp-inspiring question: “What’s wrong with arbitrage?”
After some stony silence, Wieser did jump in and add that it was a bit like asking if they beat their wives, which seemed to disarm them and got them to go into full political speak mode, more or less answering the question, which fundamentally means whether it’s okay for agencies to make a profit on marking up the media inventory they procure for their clients, which just the sort of thing that’s starting to happen with some agency trading desks. Like say, WPP’s Xaxis, which has gone public with its role as an arbitrager in the online display ad marketplace.
It’s an opportunity for agencies or agency holding companies to provide services that they ahven’t before,” responded Paul Dolan, Managing Director, North America, Xaxis. “We’re not offering media buying services in the traditional sense.”
In fact, Dolan said it’s not even the right question, because what groups like Xaxis are doing isn’t even “akin to the traditional agency model.”
Accordant’s Art Muldoon said it does have the appearance of creating “conflict,” because, “it challenges what has been thought of as the traditional agency model.”
That’s exactly the point, said Anthony Acquisti, Director, Strategic Solutions, Mediabrands Audience Platform, noting, “We view it and our agency partners view it as something that is supplemental.”