Madison Avenue has been
trying to get real about digital for a while now, but I think its time has finally come. The reason I say this, is an announcement this afternoon naming John Montgomery chairman of the American
Association of Advertising Agencies’ influential Media Policy Committee. The appointment is telling for several reasons. One is that Montgomery, COO of WPP’s GroupM Interaction unit, is
the first pure-play digital native executive to hold the post. Another reason is that the policy committee is one of only four “board” level committees at the 4As, and carries a lot of
weight in terms of how agencies organize their media product and services, and how they deal with the world of suppliers around them.
But an even bigger reason is
Montgomery, who has been running lead on digital for the industry even long before he took on this new role. He was the guy who forced the issue on the ownership of online user profile data -- you
know, the basis for most online display ad targeting -- long before it was being discussed on Madison Avenue or Capitol Hill, going so far as to alter the terms and conditions in the boilerplate on
GroupM’s invoices to online publishers. He’s also the guy who has been carrying Madison Avenue’s flag in the battle against online piracy, taking a stand, and serving as a role model
for others to combat publishers who pilfer the content of legitimate publishers.
I can’t say for sure how Montgomery’s new role will foster the marketplace
for programmatic trading, but given the overall push by WPP entities -- from GroupM to 24/7 to Xaxis to tenthavenue and Spafax -- I can’t imagine it won’t be on the top of his