Four years ago today…


I wrote my first blog. I had no idea what I was getting into and where it would lead. It appears that four years later I have written 196 posts, most of them home grown content, I could never have imagined that four years ago I would start writing an average of one a week for four years, but I have loved it. Anyone who blogs regularly knows that it is slightly addictive and becomes a vehicle for venting. The Ad tech space has been a perfect muse and there are so many baddies to talk about!

I think I am perhaps best known for venting although I try and keep it constructive. I have had at least three CEOs complain to my bosses, I have had my bosses complain to me a few times too with an exasperated Head of Comms Europe in Claire Ballard and Global Cheri Carpenter asking me politely to ‘let them know when I intend to publish something contraversial.’ I have had good supporters in Adexchanger, Digiday, Mediatel, Mediaweek, The Drum and others in republishing content. I have also had guest posts from Simon Birkenhead (now famous script writer for Hollywood), Paul SIlver, Danny Hopwood, our new recruits and others.

I have had people in 121 countries read my blogs, every continent and even places I did not know existed, amazing the power of digital and the web to be able to have that kind of reach. After four years, my top charting blog remains – ‘Trading Desks are in for the long haul, not just the sale’ if you want to read it click here. A time when the Ad tech space seemed so much simpler but there was a lot of tension created by the shift in balance of power between Ad Nets, agencies and new tech companies. It was an exciting time.

Anyway, thanks for the readers and support and comments and sharing etc it has been a lot of fun and I hope to continue for many more years.

My Mediaweek judging experience – take it back to basics


I judged my first Mediaweek awards this week. An array of illuminati from media were there (me excluded), from agencies, publishers, creative and media. All of them were senior and full of experience in judging and the industry as well as carrying a good helping of cynicism and sarcasm.


Not sure what I expected really, a big old argument over the winner, a load of opinionated, puffed up media types all showing how right they are? I could not have been more wrong. In fact my group, not to mention names, was experienced and senior for sure, a mixture of advertisers, agencies, clients and media owners, all very polite, thoughtful and very insightful.


With that comes a very acute ability to judge and to see through bullshit. Discussions around the table were not around disagreements so much as agreement. Of course there were individual opinions and differences but actually what really stood out was the immediate way in which entries that lacked either direction, quality, clarity on accomplishments and results were all found out very quickly.

It was fascinating seeing the entries boiled down to a single 5 minute video, it means you have to nail it and in a clear and succint fashion. Overall the quality was very high indeed but there were a couple that when they ended left the group all staring at each other in bewilderment. It is harder than it looks, sitting in that room watching this finished material it looks easy but I know it is hard from my New Business days. I recall the time we were told to do ‘something different’ in our new biz submission so we decided to send a video as primary introduction. It was slick, showed off the brands and the results we had achieved, it was described by the client as ‘a load of corporate w@@@’ So it is difficult to know what to do. Overall though my advice to entries of the future, knowing that it is being watched by 10 very experienced, sharp, media people would boil down to these few tips:

1. Start with the brief and make sure your video actually answers it and focuses on what the category is looking for, not what you want to shoehorn in.

2. Enter it in the right category!

3. Don’t submit the same video into different categories without adapting to some extent, this was an interesting debate. I think I came out on the side of tailor in some way, a nod of acknowledgement that it was a different brief to the previous you submitted into – not everyone agreed with that though.

4. Make sure results are strong and properly benchmarked – amazing amount of stats used out of context and with no benchmark. You have to remember that judges will either think they are not great stats in context or they are made up and twisted in some way if you dont.

5. Dont over use phrases such as ‘contributed to the overall’ that will deliver a wave of cynicism from these old hacks

6. Create a professional video that looks like you want to win, not one you threw together for your graduate presentation. Can you hear what the people are saying over special effects for instance?

I have to say thought that overall I was really impressed both with the approach and professionalism of both the judges and entries. It was fascinating to see all this great work side by side and even more interesting to hear the judges comments first hand. I was also quietly relieved to see business results front and centre rather than likes, licks and other titbits.

My Media Week

My Media Week: Marco Bertozzi

Hayley Pinkerfield, 21 March 2012, 3:15pm

This week Marco Bertozzi, managing director EMEA for the VivaKi Nerve Center, visits Spain, plays squash with Greg Grimmer, and teeters on the wrong side of The Thin Blue Line. Link here



Every day starts pretty much the same as every other day, and has done for the last two years. Baby cries, cats miaow, I wake up and reach for the BlackBerry or iPhone to check what my US colleagues have been emailing about through the night, or to see how late people have been out and posting messages from all corners of Soho Land.

From that point in though, every day is very different. Which is a good thing, as variety is one of the things I enjoy most about working at the VivaKi Nerve Center.

I start today by catching up with Publicis’ global Google lead Simon Birkenhead to discuss what’s going on across the business. In fact, today is a day of meetings with our global partners, as I later met up with our new global lead from Microsoft, Nicole. It’s a tough gig understanding such a complex business and I wish her luck.

An afternoon of calls and a couple of quick meetings, then it’s off for my weekly punishment in the form of a personal training session.


I am down to present at an IAA event on the ‘Future of Media’. I expected it to be a relatively small affair, but it turns out to be a big event in a grand venue at Bloomberg (I make a mental note to thank my head of communications, Claire, for the heads-up.)

I think it goes OK, although I might have alienated all of the women in the audience when I described women as waste in the context of a specific audience targeting example – I was misunderstood!

Jump on my scooter to have a catch-up with Steve King, worldwide chief executive of ZenithOptimedia, which always turns out to be an interesting and entertaining discussion.

After about a year of organising, I finally managed to have a quick lunch with Chris Mellish of Razorfish. As well as working with ZenithOptimedia and Starcom MediaVest Group, the Nerve Center works closely with Razorfish and Digitas, and it’s always good to hear what they are up to.

Later on, I also catch up with Olivia Yabsley who runs content for Digitas, to round out the group in a day.

With a couple of client sessions fast approaching on the world of exchanges and some prep for our regular EMEA AOD (our proprietary addressable media capability) call, I sit quietly at my desk and nail some work before home time.


A sickeningly early start – I’m up and out of the house by 4.30am to go to Madrid with my boss Curt Hecht, global chief executive of the VivaKi Nerve Center.

We have a full day of meetings with the management of VivaKi, ZenithOptimedia, Performics and Starcom MediaVest Group, to go through the VivaKi plans. The Spanish guys are always open and enthusiastic and a pleasure to work with, they also lay on a great lunch in the office. It makes our spread look pretty shoddy.

We’re close to launching the results from the UK rollout of The Pool, a global research project to identify the industry’s optimal online advertising model, and I share progress with everyone. The results are in line with the other markets, which is hugely encouraging.

So six hours later, we run for the airport and get back on the plane. I have done a lot of travel over the last two years and it is still enjoyable, but I guess one day it will drag. I never enjoy being away from my wife and child too much though.


A morning thrashing Greg Grimmer at squash. Sorry, I should say getting a thrashing from Greg Grimmer. This week, however, I have bought a new racket and trainers – so his days are numbered.

Later today, the UK leads for AOD Activation, Geoff Smith, and AOD Product, Paul Silver, and I have our monthly catch-up with the ZenithOptimedia and SMG trading guys. It is usually part presentation, part piss-take of each other. Mauricio Leon and John Baylon are not wallflowers, so you have to give as good as you get!

We’re celebrating today as AOD has achieved an incredible milestone and delivered 100 billion impressions. And that’s just in the US and UK. No mean feat given it didn’t exist at the beginning of 2008.

In the evening I head to the leaving do of my good friend Phil Christer, who has recently moved to Google. Phil has kept me sane on many occasions and I know he’ll do great things in his new job.


Today does not start brilliantly. I am pulled over by two police motorbike riders who have been tailing me for the last mile. Shame I hadn’t noticed them in my mirrors sooner because I realise I’ve just performed some of my most reckless scooter-riding of the last few years.

Mounting a pavement, running a very close amber/red, doing 40mph on Tottenham Court Road, with some weaving thrown in, all mean I am up the creek.

After immense contrition from me and puppy-dog eyes, they unbelievably let me off. I get into work pretty happy and thankfully things pick up after that.

I have a good catch-up with Iain Jacob of Starcom MediaVest Group around the VivaKi Nerve Center and SMG progresses across the wider EMEA region. It’s important to make sure that we are lined up with the senior agency regional and global leads as we expand in terms of products and scale.

Lunch is with our tech partner on Audience On Demand video (AODv) and another expansion discussion as AODv rolls out into more European countries. Creating publisher uptake of this new way of buying video is top of the agenda.

It’s a great lunch, but I’m glad to leave – the downstairs of Navarros always smells of bleach. A productive afternoon of clearing emails and a bit of Twitter banter and my week ends with a very cautious scooter ride home. I’m determined not to get pulled over by the police again – well, at least for a couple of days.

When will instant be too slow?

Marco Bertozzi:23.03.10

Inspired by a meeting today with Harriet Dennys from Mediaweek I started to think about the speed of communication that surrounds us.

Along came email, no more letters or faxes needed. Everything sped up that little bit more, having said that we still held on much longer than we needed to before giving in to sending everything via email. There were concerns at the time that it was too informal and hard copy was more professional.

At around this time we received our news via the hard copy trade titles, it was a sign of position if you were able to receive a copy of Campaign and people waited with baited breath to see what would be said about them or their clients or their competitors. Now we receive our news via Twitter feeds, Linkedin, Facebook, we sign up to far more feeds than we would ever have contemplated reading, we cherry pick. News on demand.

Today I was asked if I thought email Bulletins were too slow? Amazing thought, to imagine that we are even considering that a daily email bulletin is too slow. Harriet was right though, in some respects a daily bulletin is too slow, news is everywhere, it’s on demand, its in feeds. People everywhere are aggregating all of these feeds into one location and getting it fed to them night and day, minute by minute and that is creating another effect..promiscuity!

Like search, do you care where you get your information from as long as its correct or first? Look at the myriad of Twitter feeds, most of them are just swirling the same content around so do you wait for your favourite feed to appear with the news that interests you or just click on the first? I click on the first and I bet many others do as well. It’s all changing, its faster, its more and more digital and it is all making even a Bulletin feel slow..someone stick the brakes on!

It does not stop at news, it’s the same with email. Many media companies are also communicating via messenger both internally and externally – why? It’s quicker than much quicker can it get? It’s not just the mechanic but also the expectation – are we not all on email via BB or iPhone, why would it take that long to reply? How long do we all now wait before expecting a response? Ok its 10pm but he could just fire me back a quick response couldn’t he? Email is not slow, it’s now the users that are judged for their speed of response!

I am out of breath just writing this and during the time it has taken i have received about 100 feed updates, 5 emails at 11.30pm (damn the US) and 1 text. Where will it end? Thanks HD for the inspiration!

As a follow up – check Craig Robinsons response to this blog @