The Creative Promise Of Programmatic

Last week’s big announcement was the launch of OpenAP, billed as a “standard audience targeting platform” across Fox, Turner and Viacom.

Let me start by saying that I applaud any attempt television networks make to a) stay in business and b) improve not only the advertiser’s ability to reach a specific audience, but the opportunity for people to see ads that are more relevant to them. All that’s something I think, even in this political environment, we can all agree on.

What I find interesting is the timing of an announcement that lacked more details than Trump’s plan to “Make America Great Again.” We have yet to see if OpenAP proves to be a true advancement in television targeting — or if it’s more of an attempt to shield television networks from the criticism of the walled gardens that exist in the digital space as the networks begin to build up their programmatic offerings.

With more than two thirds of digital display already being spent in programmatic and growth estimates in the 20%-25% range over the next two years, it’s no longer a matter of whether or not programmatic is the right thing to do. Instead, it’s a matter of how to do it right.



On that front, the problem is we’ve been leveraging programmatic as a better way to buy media, when in reality, it’s a better way to create great advertising. To all the creatives eye rolling at “media is the new creative,” sorry, guys (and gals): The reality is, it’s true.

As much as programmatic does a significantly better job at helping us find discrete audiences, the true power of programmatic lies in its ability to free creatives from the chains of mass audience messaging.

Sanjay Gupta, CMO of Allstate, addressed this point at last month’s 4A’s Data Summit in a panel discussion with Kathy Ring, CEO of Starcom, and Nina Abnee, chief client officer at Leo Burnett.

Gupta challenged Abnee on the benefits of data to the creative departments, arguing that rather than taking emotion out of the creative process, the level of targeting that programmatic promises actually fuels a stronger creative brief. In Allstate’s perfect world, rather than creating an Allstate spot to run across a television buy delivering adults18-49, he wants to be able to brief his agency to create a spot targeting hipsters shopping for a Mini, for example. In Gupta’s view, “it becomes more liberating. The ‘right’ creative person will love this work.”

With clients talking about turning creative work over to artificial intelligence and television networks getting closer to delivering on audience targeting, it’s time for creative departments to pull their heads out of the sand and embrace what data can tell them, leveraging that data to create even more meaningful emotional connections with consumers. As Gupta said, “if you went into advertising to avoid numbers, the joke’s on you.”

The jury is still out on whether or not we can truly reach the right person at the right moment with the right message. But at least we can get better at speaking their language.

1 comment about "The Creative Promise Of Programmatic".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 24, 2017 at 10:56 a.m.

    I wonder how many advertisers are really thinking about having computers develop their brand positioning strategies, instead of agency marketing and creative people and their own CMOs. The same goes for TV commercial executions, magazine ads, etc. As for the TV networks moving into "audience targeting" what they are really trying to do is trick buyers into switching to set usage "targeting" and away from age metrics because set usage ratings make their older, low brow fare look much better to a dumb and unsuspecting computer.

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