CANNES — If you Google “ad agency disintermediation“, you won’t fail to see the debate.

With countless advertising and marketing technology platforms now on offer to help brands plan, buy and understand their communications, people are starting to wonder – is the ad agency over? In other words, will clients begin to run more of their own marketing themselves?

A panel of ad industry experts convened at Cannes Lions last week debated that very question – but there was not universal agreement.  The session was moderated by Jay Sears, SVP, Marketplace, the Rubicon Project.

DigitasLBi international chief media officer Paul Dalton:

“There are a broad range of options clients can choose to employ. Each of those … have an algorithm that powers it that has, often, a computational bias that favours the owner of the platform, the technology. I don’t think it’s always set up for clients’ best interest. I think we’re going to see the rise of clients taking control of some of the technologies that they use, bringing in-house (so) that they feel comfortable utilising data to its fullest extent.”

Accordant Media CEO Art Muldoon:

“Marketers are more sophisticated than ever internally. We’ve created many types of point solutions that are very valid … but we create a lot of complexity as well. Many marketers want to ride shotgun. They don’t wish to get involved in all the complexity the ad-tech brings them, but they want more access, control and accountability.”

Merkle programmatic head Mac Delaney:

“We’re not ready. Mass-scale adoption of self-service platforms have not been pressure-tested by thousands and thousands of users. Every platform – whether you’re Google DBM or a start-up purely DSP in display – is going to have to go through a round, at least, of refining the tech to ensure it’s dummy-proof. (These) mistakes are not $5 mistakes, they are $100,000 mistakes.”

Mediavest ad tech EVP Oleg Korenfeld:

“Taking managed service arbitrage out of the equation makes up for potential pitfalls and mistakes. I believe we are ready to take it on today with the tech we have available.”

This video was produced  by Beet.TV at the Rubicon Project’s Rooftop Summit on Automated Advertising at Cannes Lions 2016.   The series is sponsored by the RubiconProject.   For more videos from the series, please visit this page.