Interpublic Pushes 'Retail 3.0,' Puts Former Home Depot CMO In Charge Of Emerging Media Lab

In a major push into the retail media space, Interpublic's Mediabrands unit has hired former Home Depot CMO John Ross and named him president of its Emerging Media Lab, in what the media shop is touting as the first phase of "retail 3.0."

The fact that Mediabrands has chosen to situate the head of its retail media practice within its emerging media think tank speaks volumes about the role new and emerging media technologies - everything from mobile to digital, place-based signage and media networks - are having on the way consumers shop at retail, and how marketers reach and communicate to them.

Interpublic executives said to "stay tuned" for phase two of the initiative this fall, but the initial move suggests that Interpublic is accelerating its efforts in the retail media sector - sometimes known as "shopper media."

They emphasized that the first phase is part of a larger Interpublic strategy to better integrate the resources of the holding company's "hyper local agencies," shops like local newspaper specialty agency Newspaper Services of America, and directory agency Whalstrom Group, into a bigger "retail 3.0" play.



The move follows similar reorganizations at other big agency holding companies recognizing the increasing role of retail media, but the initial realignment of Interpublic's operations with its new media think tank suggests that it is far more than a geographic strategy.

Interpublic said that part of Ross role will be ensuring that the lab creates and "merchandizes" proprietary retail media opportunities for Interpublic's clients - both retail focused ones, as well as manufacturers.

"On the larger Mediabrands Retail 3.0 solution, John will work in lock step with our highly sophisticated hyper-local agencies led by Dave Walker, president-CEO, NSA and Geoff Kehoe, President, Wahlstrom," Interpublic said in a statement announcing the reorganization.

Lori Schwartz, the senior vice president who has been directing Interpublic's Emerging Media Lab, will continue to manage it, and will work with Ross to establish new technology partnerships.

2 comments about "Interpublic Pushes 'Retail 3.0,' Puts Former Home Depot CMO In Charge Of Emerging Media Lab".
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  1. Peter Schankowitz from Joe Digital, Inc., July 9, 2009 at 4:30 p.m.

    Fascinating article. The investment and brain power allocation here speaks volumes about how forward thinking Interpublic may be about the future of retail. With a real vet at the helm, we are curious about whether the division will see and act upon the things we see driving the retail consumer digital connection. Personal value content, gate-keeping marketing, e-commerce....all without forgetting that some of the most traditonal maxims of retail marketing still apply. We'll see.

  2. Jeff Atley from ADCENTRICITY Inc., July 10, 2009 at 12:56 p.m.

    As a big fan of the Emerging Media Lab I'm excited to see Ross take the helm to drive the 3.0 initiative. The digital capabilities available today that can be applied to shopper marketing have totally changed the game. Hyper-targeting and contextual messaging based on consumer profile, geography media and venue type create the higher demand for brand marketers and retail / merchandisers to really ensure the are converging seamlessly. Look forward to emerging ideas for the EML.

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