CANNES — A lot of industry insiders are talking these days about how the traditional ad agency is dying.
That may or may not be true, depending on your persuasion. But a 2018 intervention by new blockchain technology could at least improve the quality of agencies’ lives in the foreseeable future.
That was the hope of one big-brand marketer, excited about the prospect for how the infrastructure which underpins crypto-currency could bring a step-change in transparency to the advertising business, speaking on a panel convened by Beet.TV.
The panelists were all members of “a blockchain consortium for the digital media supply chain”, announced by IBM and Mediaocean at the Cannes Lions festival:
- Unilever global media VP Rob Master
- Kimberly-Clark global director of integrated marketing, media, and analytics Josh Herman
- Mediaocean CEO Bill Wise
- IBM executive partner for global marketing for IBM’s iX division Babs Rangaiah
The theory goes that a blockchain – in this case, one powered by IBM’s existing open-source Hyperledger infrastructure and plugged in to technology from Mediaocean, which processes $140 billion dollars of ad spend on an annual basis – should enable traceability for how every fraction of a cent gets decided, apportioned and siphoned off in the ad supply chain. Pfizer and Kellogg are also members of the consortium.
Kimberly-Clark global director of integrated marketing, media, and analytics Josh Herman:
“My expectation is that it will be a quality of life improvement. The ease with which you can defend the spend improves your quality of life. The extent to which you have confidence about the numbers that you’re putting in front of the meeting to make actual business decision, improves your quality of life.”
Mediaocean CEO Bill Wise:
“A lot of companies who have fraud running through their businesses. I think we all, as an ecosystem, want to clean that up.
“Our agency partners who are forward-leaning and run transparent businesses are pushing for this. They also want to be involved. We announced the marketers (first) because, at the end of the day, it’s your guys’ money, but the ad agencies are going to also be big participants in the pilot as well and we’re working very collaboratively with them.”
Unilever global media VP Rob Master:
“We spend so much time now around the reconciliation, around massaging the data, trying to track down the data, waiting for things to come in before we can actually spend our full amount of money.
“(Blockchain) allows us to actually spend more time thinking about the consumer.”
IBM executive partner for global marketing for IBM’s iX division Babs Rangaiah:
“We think about this initiative, in baseball terms, as the very first inning. We want to be able to show transparency of the money. The second piece is the speed of reconciliation. Lastly, if we can show any amount of improvement in that percentage of money that gets (ad-)taxed … I think that would be considered a great success.”
This video is part of a series produced at Cannes Lions 2018 on the emergence of blockchain in the media ecosystem. This series is presented by Mediaocean. For more videos from the series, visit this page.