After more than a dozen years working with the QSR chain, Waltham, MA-based Blitz Media has resigned its Wendy’s account, which includes a number of regional assignments in the eastern part of the country. The decision came earlier this month after the agency did a profitability assessment of the account and held discussions with the client. But apparently issues couldn’t be resolved. In a memo obtained by MAD, Blitz President and CEO Melissa Lea told agency staffers that on the path to growth “we must sometimes make hard decisions. After conducting an in-depth profitability analysis and having several discussions with Wendy's management, we had to make the decision to resign the Wendy’s account. It’s always difficult to resign a client, especially a high-profile one that we have worked with for over 12 years. But it’s time to let another agency get the chance to work with Wendy’s.” Wendy’s spends around $275 million annually in measured media according to Kantar. Total spending on the Blitz Media Wendy’s assignment was not immediately available. Lea’s memo noted that Blitz has won a number of accounts in 2013, including Minuteman Health, WellBiz Brands, Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores, Harvard University Kennedy School Executive Education, Brain Shark, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, and Project Treasure. In her memo Lea also stated that “Blitz Media gained invaluable experience in the QSR, food and beverage, multi-unit retail/franchise categories through our work with Wendy’s. They contributed to our overall growth for many years and for that we thank them. We will continue to work hard on their business as we transition the account.” It was not clear if the QSR chain had selected a replacement agency or launched a review to do so. The agency declined to comment on the situation, referring queries to Wendy’s. A client rep could not be immediately reached at deadline.
In what appears to be a significant shift in the criteria they use for valuing the media companies they do business with, ad executives say the ability of a media supplier to generate “ad results” is no longer the most important factor for getting on a media plan. Other factors, including “aggressive rate deals,” are now considered marginally more important factors. The finding, which comes from the latest semi-annual survey of marketers and agency executives by Advertiser Perceptions Inc. on their perceptions of media companies, shows that the importance of “ad results” has fallen precipitously over the past year -- especially among marketers. Only 72% of marketers vs. 76% of agency executives surveyed cited the importance of "ad results." That’s down dramatically from a year ago, when 85% of ad execs cited that criterion, which has long been the No. 1 of 15 factors API tracks for influencing media buys. While most other factors remained stable, the relative importance of “integrated media buys” and “multimedia” packages showed significant upticks, jumping four percentage points and three percentage points, respectively, over the past year. Source: Advertiser Perceptions Inc.
Place-based media is ubiquitous. You see it in health clubs, food courts, airports, gas stations and many other out-of-home locations across the country. But according to agency executives, the challenges to growing ad sales revenue for the sector are numerous. Among them: It's not a core media for most marketers, ROI metrics are lacking and clients just don't care that much about it. On the flip side, the potential for place-based media would seem great as a complementary media -- particularly for location-focused marketers and those looking to grab the attention of specific, harder-to-reach audiences like C-level executives in the elevator on their way to the office in the morning. Those were some of the top-line thoughts from a panel of media agency executives speaking at the Digital Placed-based Advertising Association conference in New York Tuesday. Kris Magel, head of national broadcast at Interpublic Group's Initiative, said he believes there is a lot of “inherent value” in place-based media. It is “a large complementary source of video impressions,” he said. And it's a source he has urged his clients to take advantage of -- although many of those clients resist doing so. “I'm seeing a lot of great product not being bought,” he said. “CMOs are not asking where the hell is my placed-based media,” he added, as they are with other media like social, mobile and specific shows on network TV like "Mad Men." Barry Lowenthal, president of The Media Kitchen, an MDC Partners unit, said a key obstacle to the media’s growth is that “it's not a core part of anyone's plan. “It's nice to have,” he said, “but it's easy to cut.” He likened placed-based media to the position mobile was in a few years ago. But now for many marketers, “mobile is more and more core.” However, Lowenthal said, he doesn't foresee that happening with place-based media in the near term. It's also not the easiest media in the world to buy. That would be TV, which is nearly “frictionless,” said David Cohen, chief media officer at IPG's UM. He said that placed-based should play to its built-in advantage of being location-focused, which an increasing number of CPG and retail marketers are putting resources toward. Place-based media is potentially more scalable -- industry players could collaborate on larger joint deals and pitch reach and awareness. But Lowenthal said the media offers a more tactical approach for most clients. “If a client talks about reaching C-level executives as they go up in elevators in the morning or commuters, then we'll lean into it,” he said. There was consensus on the panel that not all video impressions are equal. Cohen said his agency's research shows that “dollar for dollar” online impressions are “more productive” at achieving client goals such as brand awareness, attitude and intent to purchase. Lyle Schwartz, head of research and analytics at WPP's GroupM, said that each channel has its owned strengths and weaknesses that must be considered in the planning process. TV, he noted, offers the best viewing experience with its big screens -- but the flip side is it is “sedentary.” Out-of-home has the advantage of “proximity to purchase,” he said. But all channels, said Schwartz, “have to be valued on what the client wants to do, where, when and how.”
The supply of media impressions available through real-time media-buying exchanges surged 32% worldwide during the third quarter of 2013 (vs. the same quarter a year ago), according to the just-released “Real-Time Media Buying Market Pulse” from independent trading desk Accordant Media. While the supply of exchange-based impressions grew at a more moderate rate in North America, rising only 9% vs. the third quarter of 2012, that likely reflects the fact that North America is a more mature and developed real-time trading marketplace than developing media markets around the world. Nonetheless, demand failed to keep pace with expanding supply, and the average cost of buying impressions through exchanges declined 41% in North American markets during the third quarter. The report also includes Accordant's first-ever analysis of the impact of so-called “bot-net traffic” on the real-time bidding marketplace, which are impressions generated not by actual online users, but by machines. Working with online ad verification company White Ops Media, Accordant found that the RTB marketplace contains as much as 10.3% “fraudulent traffic,” or non-human audience impressions attributed to machines. Accordant said that utilizing active monitoring and “blacklisting” sites enabling bots can “cut down on fraud nearly 85%.” “The programmatic industry is shifting towards an emphasis on quality of media and breadth of marketing solutions,” stated Accordant Co Founder-CEO Art Muldoon, estimating that the marketplace now generates 50 billion ad impressions daily, and that advertisers are “understandably concerned about the quality of media where their ads appear.” “This quarter, through controlled testing environments with White Ops Media, we found randomly sampled run-of-exchange inventory to contain just over 10% suspicious activity,” he explained.Source: Accordant Media's "Real Time Media Buying Market Pulse"
"It's not that we are women. It's that we are not men, we are the other,” said Cindy Gallop, founder of IfWeRanTheWorld.com, speaking of the agency world, and firing up the audience, 400-women strong, at The 3% Conference last week in San Francisco. “We are not men” has a catchy, Devo-ish ring to it, but Gallop went on to explain that given the reality of 21st century demographics, treating people of color and women as “the other” is a huge business problem. “If you start an ad agency today with an all-male founder/leadership team, you’re screwed. You will not own the future,” she said. Because that’s not what contemporary America -- and the rest of the world -- looks like. Named for the woefully feeble percentage of creative directors in advertising who are women, The 3% Conference was founded last year by creative director Kat Gordon to name and recognize the problem, as a way to begin changing it. By this, the second year, the collective power of the women gathered in the ballroom could have blown the roof off the Intercontinental Hotel. In fact, one of the presentations was called "Blowing up the Business Rules that Hold you Back.” That's where Nancy Vonk pointed out an impossible double standard exists in the agency world: “Kids mean less commitment on the part of women. Kids mean more commitment on the part of men.” Actually, Vonk said, “Women with children become better -- better time managers and better workers. There’s a humanity to the work.” Vonk and Janet Kestin (aka "Jancy") are the former co-chief creative directors at Ogilvy Toronto responsible for the breakthrough Dove Real Beauty Campaign. They left the agency world to start a consultancy, called Swim, (as in, sink or…) and are now writing a book full of hard truths. For example, Vonk talked about the importance of mentoring, not as a chore, but as an act of “enlightened self interest.” “The next generation of leaders is missing; there simply hasn’t been time and resources put into bringing people along,” she said. Therefore, “selfish mentoring,” -- or, as Vonk called it, “putting freakish amount of time and energy” into helping new talent -- can be “an authentic career strategy.” Indeed, the focus for this year’s conference was on what’s doable: re-engineering agency structure through micro-actions, rather than all-encompassing, sweeping changes that are threatening and impossible to carry out. “Prototype the change you want to see in the world and begin taking small steps,” suggested Jenn Maer of Ideo in her presentation with Sally Thornton of Forshay, called “What a Creative-Friendly Company Looks Like." “Working all the time makes you less creative. By making even one small shift, you can see immediate improvement in the quality of your life. “ Of course, a creative-friendly agency is more collaborative, results-oriented, and allows for a “work/life blend.” Say what? For Thornton, achieving that balance took an unimaginable life crisis: She got the strength to leave corporate America and start her own business seven years ago, after her brother was killed in a plane crash, and she was eight months pregnant at the time. Certainly, some of the women had solved their own problems by leaving big agencies to start their own businesses. But I moderated a panel with some major agency players: Susan Credle, the chief creative officer at Leo Burnett; Vida Cornelious, chief creative officer at GlobalHue; and Mimi Cook, chief creative officer at Y&R, San Francisco.These are women who’ve had long, storied careers within the system. Credle, who spent many years at BBDO before leaving for Leo Burnett, is married, with no children. She admitted that she would sometimes get freaked out watching a creative director’s “sweater getting bigger,” imagining what that would mean for her team once she was out on maternity leave. Credle said she finally came to terms with the fact that the world wouldn’t end due to a three-month leave. Though the business is 24/7, yada yada, she said the truth was more often that the mother would come back, post-leave, “and I’d hand her the same (effing) brief, which still hadn’t been solved.”