Just before the pandemic disrupted "normal" coverage of the ad industry, I began working on a series of initiatives related to the industry's ethics, especially its use of consumer data. While the pandemic and its economic aftermath continue to play out, it feels like it's time to return to this project for a couple of reasons outlined in today's "RTBlog."
The rampant availability of new sources of audience data -- and of data management platforms to organize them -- has created a kind of "Wild West" for audience targeting that requires buyers and sellers of media to think not just about the outputs, but the inputs that led to those conclusions.
One of the most surprising developments surrounding our coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic is the degree to which real-time marketing or media data has become a proxy for epidemiological data, revealing patterns of human behavior changing in response to the disease. First it was Google search and Amazon sales data ascribing how people were researching and preparing for it. But more recently, ad industry data developed for marketing and media planning have become leading indicators of a return to some normalcy.
One of the fundamental changes the COVID-19 crisis is having on the way we think, feel and behave is the role our personal hygiene plays protecting ourselves -- and others -- in an era of pandemics.
After one of history's greatest plagues, humanity abandoned a cocoon of medieval beliefs, cultural and scientific ideas flourished, art and science gained focus, feudalism gave way to capitalism, and religious dogma was replaced by rationality.
Disruptions can be painful -- especially ones that involve existential crises -- but they also represent opportunities for positive change.
In 2008 we published an article by the late Cornell University Professor Stephen L. Sass making a case that when it comes to innovation, disruption can be a good thing. Sass was a leading academic studying how humans adapt, and innovate, when they run out of something and need to replace it -- usually with something better -- for their own survival.
In the past month I've seen remarkable examples of people coming together while physically distanced in ways they never could have while physically connected. A great example, if you haven't seen it, is the Italian youth choir's rendition of Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Helplessly Hoping." It's powerful, poignant, soulful, and inspirational precisely because the choir, which normally harmonizes in close proximity, is forced to do so in isolation via a real-time video interface.
For those who don't speak Scottish, the headline is from Robert Burns' epic 18th Century poem. It translates to "go often askew," and that's pretty much how I feel about the effect the pandemic has been having on all our plans. Even our best laid ones.
I've covered many crises impacting the advertising and media industry over the past four decades, but never one rolling out like this one in real-time, and potentially, impacting so many people individually. I'm not sure why we weren't more prepared, and why it seems we were caught flat-footed, but I suspect it's human nature to deny a threat until it's on your front step. "We have been surprised that more companies had not gone through the 'war room' planning and meeting discussions we highlighted two weeks ago in our note," Pivotal Research Group analyst Michael Levine writes in an advisory ...