Commentary

Happy Programmatic Media Day, Er, I Mean Earth Day

Why on earth would I begin an RTBlog that way and how is it relevant to the programmatic marketplaces we cover? Well, normally, my flip answer would be, “because those marketplaces exist on planet Earth.” But today, I actually have a more relevant response, because that’s how Paul Rostkowski kicked off one of Varick Media Management’s breakfast symposiums in New York City this morning. Rostkowski set the stage, by noting that Earth Day began 45 years ago today, and then turned it over to me to moderate a panel about, of all things, KPIs.

Normally, that wouldn’t seem like an ideal segue, but it actually was a meaningful connection for me, so I’ll tell you what I told the VMM breakfast crowd. When I celebrated the first Earth Day in 1970, I was a 7th-grader attending a junior high school in the Bronx and we were taking two classes that semester. One was Hygiene which focused on how to read nutrition labels (it was the era of MSG and red dye No. 2) and the other focused on environmental ecology (it was the era of DDT). In fact, our book for the semester was Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” which was one of the inspirations for the environmental movement.

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The other course was called Mass Communications, in which we were required to read Marshall McLuhan’s “Understanding Media.”

The reason this relates to our industry, and programmatic and KPIs in particular, I explained is that studying those three things simultaneously -- what we put in our minds and society (media), what we put in our bodies (nutrition) and what we put in our environment (ecology) -- were all influenced by having the right data. You know, garbage in-garbage out.

In other words, the data we put into things, influences their outcomes, whether they are physical environments or media ones. So happy Media Day, er, Earth Day. Well, you know what I mean.
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