Carat Veterans Launch Ad Marketplace For Smaller Businesses


Two veterans of Dentsu media agency Carat have set up a new self-serve ad-buying marketplace designed to give smaller advertisers the media opportunities afforded to larger marketers and their media buying shops. 

It’s called Media Disco and the founders are James Allen and Joey Medici.  



Allen spent over six years at Carat, including a stint as senior vice president and head of strategy before moving to Dentsu International’s Environmental Policy Group. Earlier he served at EP + Co, TBWA and Saatchi & Saatchi. 

Medici spent about the same amount of time at Carat and its parent Dentsu Aegis in strategy roles.  

The duo founded the company in 2022 and developed the business via the 2023 Techstars NYC startup accelerator program.  

“We created Media Disco because we saw a new way for growing brands to leverage media as if they were much bigger brands,” says Allen. The marketplace allows brands to “buy into media programs collectively to unlock better deals,” he adds.  

The company says it is “pre-negotiating rates with a curated set of media partners” to boost cost-effectiveness, across channels including OTT, mobile, digital display, digital video and audio, rich media, experiential, digital out-of-home, shoppable and hyper-local.  

The platform is free to join. A 7% commission is charged to get a campaign live, according to the firm’s website.  

While the platform is self-serve there is also a managed service available. And it works with smaller agencies. 

The platform has been endorsed by a former colleague of the founders – Doug Ray – who spent nearly two decades at Carat and Dentsu International, including stints as Carat's president and CEO, and Dentsu International's chairman and CEO, Media, Americas. He left in 2022 to hang out his own shingle as consultant and advisor and serves as advisory board member to Media Disco.  

In a statement on the platform’s website, Ray says, “I've led some of the world's largest media agencies, and it's refreshing to see a new and unique model emerge that can bring the benefits of larger agencies to a much broader range of advertisers.” 




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