I was really pleased to attend the #IABengage event this year after an absence of probably at least 6 or 7 years. Believe it or not I attended the event because I wanted to hear about something outside of RTB and programmatic. I wanted to widen my knowledge of other things happening in the market and was convinced this would be the event to do it.
The thing that struck me was that every stall and sponsorship was from the RTB and programmatic space. Turn, Videology, Millenial, Tribal Fusion ( exponential) all hogging the floor. Everywhere I turned I saw data and tech companies lining up like a Morocco Souk all offering shiny rows of things that to the outsider all looked the same.
Similarly to Cannes these companies and more besides have been puffing out their chests more and more every year, bigger stalls, bigger sponsorships and bigger parties. I can’t remember the last event I went to whether it be Cannes, CES, IABengage and others where the Adtech companies have not been expanding like helium balloons inflating on Valentines Day. I love the Adtech industry, it’s great they have marched in, hungry to change the world, turning adserving into something sexy and they are right to do it…but
Where the hell are the brands?!! Where are the companies who own inventory, who have invested in content, who have journalists and film makers and production skills – where the hell did they all go? All these companies on show are adservers, when did adservers take over the world? This event was IAB engage, Internet Advertising Bureau, purveyor of all things digital. At the end of the day these companies help an advertiser get their Ad from one place to the next or help an advertiser find a target. They are not the destination, they don’t make anything, they are not creating anything so where are all the companies that do?
I was amazed to not see Yahoo, Guardian, Mail, Viacom, Vevo et etc why are they not at the premier digital event of the year? It’s like the magpies moved in and took over. Microsoft was there but on the whole the place was sadly lacking those brands that at the end of it all are creating a destination and an audience.
We are living through an exciting times right now and there is genuine change going on but let’s make sure big brands and content producers still have a story to tell and a presence to be felt at events like this. Dmexco, ATS and Adtech have the rest covered.
By the way Turner has decided three years too late that it wants to do programmatic – maybe there is an opportunity to sponsor IAB engage in 2014?