Commentary

What's In A Name? That Which We Call Programmatic By Any Other Name Would Process As Sweet

Johnson & Johnson Director of Media & Connections for the Americas Luke Kigel seems to like concept of programmatic, he just doesn’t like the word itself. And if he has his way, he’d just as soon get rid of it altogether. That was the substance of his keynote presentation at OMMA Programmatic this morning.

“The word bothers me,” he told OMMA attendees this morning, advocating that the word should be removed “from our vocabulary as soon as possible.”

Kigel is not the first industry executive to express such sentiment. Like the term “Big Data” a couple of years before it, the word “programmatic” seems to create angst, consternation and confusion among industry executives, largely because they either don’t know what it actually means or because they use it to mean different things.

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That is the No. 1 reason why Kigel lobbied to stop using it.

“It’s freaking confusing,” he said, noting that the word connotes complexity and that it is complicated to many people.

The No. 2 reason he’s against using it, he said, is “the word creates division.” By that, Kigel said, “we talk about programmatic separate from everything else. Most of the time, it’s contrasted to everything else.”

He said he’s heard people say things like “programmatic vs. “traditional” or “programmatic vs. the old way of buying.”

He even gave an example of one prominent industry speaker who contrasted “Facebook media against programmatic,” but Kigel said Facebook utilizes lots of programmatic technology to make its media work.

Oddly enough, Kigel began his presentation by using another word that many people also use to create division from the rest of the media and marketing mix: “digital.”

Like most words -- both “digital” and “programmatic” -- create divisions from other words. But they also means very specific things. In the case of Kigel’s keynote, the word programmatic means problematic, specifically.

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