Advertisers And Agencies: Do You Want To Be At The Table, Or On The Menu?

Dear all,

How are you? As you know, I love you all dearly, even if I don’t show it every day. I have spent my entire career in your presence in some way, shape or form, and I care. I really do.

Which is the point of this letter. Because it looks to me as if you have chosen to sit mostly on the sidelines of one of the biggest challenges the industry is facing. And it is this: The GRP is clearly dead, so now what?

Every day we read about how measurable all media is becoming through Google analytics, Facebook statistics or Twitter data. We hear about how Pinterest drives direct sales and transactions. How online video and TV advertising strengthen one another. How Twitter amplifies TV viewing. How artificially inflated many of these numbers are, through bot farms and their like.

We also hear how companies like comScore, eXelate, Nielsen, Pew and others are redefining how they track and measure the dramatically changed consumer media consumption environment. The party that seems to be missing is you.



Sure, the ANA, the 4A’s, the IAB and perhaps even the newly formed GOVA (The Global Online Video Association) have media and digital workgroups. As do their global counterparts, like the World Federation of Advertisers, EGTA (the Brussels-based Trade Association of Television and Radio Sales) and others.

The ANA last year conducted a study with Nielsen called “Optimizing Integrated Multi-Screen Campaigns,” but the results were only available to its members. There was of course some press about the launch of the study, and here is a quote from the press release: “Measurement is the biggest issue that will influence the rate of growth for multiscreen advertising,” said Bill Duggan, Group Executive VP of the ANA. “The industry needs to adopt measures that are consistent, comparable, and combinable across screens to provide a complete picture of a campaign’s effectiveness.”

You don’t say.

You’re already letting multiscreen advertising grow into the double digits (at your expense), so where is the leadership, dear advertisers and agencies? Perhaps you have very specific ideas and needs, and perhaps you are speaking about this in your committee meetings. But I think the issue bigger than that. It needs to be.

The industry is going through its most profound change since TV became a mass medium. So what requirements do you have? What is important to you?

If I am The Coca-Cola Company, P&G, Ford, Mondelez or any of the big marketing players, I would publicly state what I want, to take a position. and seek feedback from others. If I am WPP or IPG, I need to ensure that we end up with something that will work across all my clients and all my networks. I would want to be a player in defining the “new GRP.”

This should be a big, industry-wide debate. It should be (industry) crowd-sourced. There should be an ANA/4A’s meeting of the minds. An industry-wide summit. A United Nations of the industry. But there isn’t. At least, not for the people who own and hold the purse strings, as far as I can tell.

So what gives? Do you really want the sales side and the research firms to come up with the answers? Or are you hiding because you are worried that, when you are at the head of the table, you will consequently have to pay the bill?


2 comments about "Advertisers And Agencies: Do You Want To Be At The Table, Or On The Menu?".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, February 26, 2014 at 12:22 a.m.

    Conversely, I would say that a multi-screen GRP will prove to be one of the most important communications planning and trading metrics ever developed. There are lots of people and organisations working on it.

  2. Maarten Albarda from Flock Associates (USA), March 19, 2014 at 10:04 a.m.

    It sounds like at least the ANA is listening:

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