When Bob Liodice joined the Association of National Advertisers in 1995, there was already a pretty pervasive sense that the Internet was about to change advertising as we know it.
While it was still early days and online advertising was still nascent, formative and a gleam in most ad executives’ eyes, most people knew it was going to be something big. It was a year after Procter & Gamble CEO Ed Artzt had given his famous rallying cry speech at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ annual conference, and the earliest form of banner advertising was already beginning to, well, pop up, but the industry lacked rules, structure and any real sense of what constituted best practices in a digital advertising universe.
A couple of decades later, the ad industry is still struggling to define many of those practices, but the industry has exploded to the point that it now is poised to overtake Madison Avenue’s apex medium, television.
Liodice was there through it all, and through a combination of leadership and diplomacy has helped steer its direction in ways that continue to make it work for the world’s largest advertisers and their brands. It’s not always easy, especially recently, as a host of new issues constantly emerge for big marketers trying to tame an ever-expanding sea of digital advertising impressions, formats, data, technologies and intermediaries, which instead of simplifying and making it more efficient and effective have actually made things more complex and increasingly less transparent.
While Liodice has played a central role in shaping industry practices from the earliest days of online advertising, in the past two years that he has grabbed the bull by the horns to tackle big, growing issues surrounding all forms of media transparency -- especially digital. And especially with regard to the ANA member’s closest partners, their ad agencies.
It’s not surprising that when the ANA surveyed its members at the end of 2016, they voted “transparency” the word of the year. It was surprising, however, that Liodice called on national advertisers to “take back the industry” during the ANA’s annual conference last October, citing a “litany” of new concerns including talent, diversity, metrics, privacy, ad fraud, ad blocking, viewability and transparency.”Liodice, a career marketer before he took the helm of the ANA, is the first trade association executive to be named a MediaPost Online All Star, largely because he hasn’t just helped to shape the medium, but continues to do so any time it is needed.