Dentsu Aegis Appoints John Lee To Roll Out People-Based Ad Targeting Globally

Dentsu Aegis Network announced Thursday the appointment of John Lee, Merkle’s chief product and data officer, to global president of MerkleONE, to oversee the global roll out of the people-based ad-targeting strategy and platform.

Lee will oversee the development and roll out of M1 in the United States, reporting to David Williams, CEO Merkle, and John Murray, president, Amplifi Global. The rollout in the U.K. will come later this year, and the global rollout will follow in 2018.

Lee will support the holding company's move toward a people-based advertising model, from search and display to television. Some will require a variety of partners, such as Google.

The change comes from the acquisition of Merkle in 2016 for a reported $1.5 billion. M1 will now serve as the central global ad platform for all the agency brands.

The change marks the first phase of the move toward people-based advertising "underpinned by anonymized" data and better accountability for the media dollars spent by brands.



For marketers, Lee points to training and education, not the data and technology, to move from proxies to working with data on real people as the biggest challenge for the industry to move in this direction.

"We need to move from thinking about media channels to audiences, and reaching those audiences regardless of the channel," said Doug Ray, Dentsu Aegis Network president of product and innovation. 

More than two years in the making, M1 leverages an anonymized ID on every adult in the U.S., combined with more than 1,000 data attributes

When asked how Ray will work with Lee to accomplish the rollout, he said: "I've been with the network for more than 13 years and know where all the bodies are buried and can quickly fast-track to determine all the opportunities."

The platform relies on DataSource, a compiled database of 242 million anonymized individuals based on consumer name, address and/or email address.

For each unique ID, M1 provides data for more than 1,000 demographic, behavioral and motivational attributes from over 30 sources including the Dentsu Aegis Network’s industry leading Consumer Connection Survey.

Dentsu Aegis agencies can match the M1 ID with brand's first-party CRM data, enabling the holding company's agencies to improve the clients' understanding of their existing and potential customers.

The platform also provides what it calls the "Publisher Addressable Marketplace (PAM), which enables a two-way, cookie-less ID sync between M1 and media owners. The standard of matching individuals with publishers through guaranteed and programmatic channels creates an increase in performance and aims to eliminate ad fraud and addresses brand safety concerns with access to premium inventory.

The PAM marketplace has attracted media partners such as Pandora, AOL, and CBS. Overall, the platform has more than 20 Dentsu Aegis clients piloting M1 campaigns, and the group anticipates all media planning and activation in the U.S. will become addressable via M1 by 2018.


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