Mac Delaney, head of programmatic at Merkle, recently completed his "tour of duty" -- from January to April -- in Los Angeles, creating an agency for Warner Bros. Digital.
"It's not a difficult place to be holed up for the winter if you live in Chicago like I do," Delaney noted.
The Dentsu Aegis Network, which owns a majority stake in Merkle, won Warner Bros.' business late last year from Omnicom and quickly began building a team of 80 to support the entertainment company.
Merkle specializes in managing large amounts of customer data and executing digital campaigns using audience-based modeling, analytics, search, and programmatic.
According to Merkle, the headline of this article could have just as well have been something like "Merkle Redefines Programmatic For Warner Bros. Digital." Delaney said Merkle want to substitute the words "automated buying" for the word "programmatic," a focus the Interactive Advertising Bureau took earlier this year.
"We have one client where the word 'programmatic' can't be used in the building," Delaney said. "The word has 18 definitions and still far too many negative connotations. It's been overused and misused. It's interesting to see so many deciding to use automated buying, data-driven buying."
To support Warner Bros. Digital and other clients, Delaney can see himself moving to a broader role at Merkle. His recommendation to the higher-ups: Don't fill the empty head of programmatic position, but rather hire a head of performance marketing, which incorporates social and search, two media inherent in programmatic buying. It would stop Merkle from relying on a word with far too many definitions, he said.
At the Cannes Festival 2016, Delaney said Merkle created a play in which the actors killed off programmatic.
Media buying agencies need to move on from using archaic language, he said, if they're going to support innovative companies.
Long live "automated buying" for companies like Warner Bros. Digital.