Goodbye & thanks Publicis, hello Spotify!

Give or take 20 years ago I started at Zenith Media and with the exception of two years the Publicis Groupe is where I stayed. Through the intervening years I am pretty sure I set a record in the number of companies I worked for and in. In that time I have worked for Zenith Media, Zenith Interactive Solutions, Zed Media, ZenithOptimedia, VivaKi Nerve Center, VivaKi, SMG, Performics and PMX. I have worked in UK, EMEA and Global roles as well as two short stints in the US (NY and Chicago) and along the way I have met some amazing people from countries all over the world.  I still marvel at the fact that it is possible to pick up the phone from Australia, China, India to California and everywhere in between and speak to a friendly voice. It is without doubt the best part of the last 20 years and I could never have imagined back as a Trainee TV buyer in Paddington that all that would have been possible.
Publicis has given me so many opportunities to progress and for that I will always be grateful, from my earliest boss in Tracey Stern through to Gerry Boyle and the late great Curt Hecht. They all had one thing in common, they supported and guided but allowed you room to grow and take responsibility for your own work, and most of all, were human. When the pressure is on, when things are not always going the way you want them to, being able to keep hold of things that are important to each of your team is vital, support them as people and the rest will come naturally. Politics, P&L pressures, come to everyone, don’t let them make you forget that everyone is human and appreciates direct and honest conversations, integrity first. There are way too many people to mention in this blog, but thanks to all those who have supported me and helped me succeed over time.
I think my first few years in Zenith were foundational and there are so many friends from that period scattered all over the business and doing great. Zenith was a powerhouse and incubator for so much talent in the industry and we all still reminisce about the fab times back then. They all know who they are so I won’t list them, but its great to see them all doing so well. The VivaKi AOD years hold special memories, so much fun, working for Curt Hecht and Kurt Unkel, fighting it out on one conference stage after another with the anti-trade desk brigade, the travel, the growth and wonderful team. Paul Silver, Geoff Smith, Danny Hopwood, Jen Hubbard, Sam and Lina, the foundation of AOD and then broadening out to all the stars of the region with Jean Baptiste Rouet, Adeline, Lothar, ilke, Sara, Bea as well as the US team – Kurt,Cheri, Cassie, Sean, Kurt, Kelly, Doug. We were a dream team in early programmatic and what a laugh we had whilst working our socks off, and there it is, enjoying work will conquer all and boy did we enjoy it!
Finally on the people front, a massive thank you to Becky Hopwood, my one and only assistant through all the travel, the change the ups and downs, my good moods and less good moods! She has been part of everything since 2010 and helped me both at work and out of work and for that I am immensely grateful.
Publicis is going through huge change now, creating a new model for agency groups and I know they will come out of it better and stronger and ready to address this incredibly complex world we now find ourselves in, there is a great a team there and I wish them all the best for the future. I want to thank everyone from all over the world who has sent me notes and messages of support, its been an amazing eye opener, all the people I have crossed paths with and who have got in touch.
Now for the next challenge. In identifying my next role I had some criteria that I was adamant I wanted to have. I was looking for a company that was deep into data, technology and content. I wanted a company that could contribute to the desire of advertisers to engage positively with consumers and be part of their lives in a way that was one to one and added value. I wanted to work at a consumer facing company, being able to use the product, listen to people’s feedback and watch the world engaging with the brand. I wanted to work somewhere that had achieved a lot, but had so much more opportunity to go and finally somewhere that I knew was a company people liked to work for and with. I am hugely excited to have found that role at Spotify.
I am thrilled to be joining a team that is so focused, has a wealth of smart people and product and be able to work alongside all the other team members to create a company that leads the market in innovation around data and tech as well as delivering the best experience for our clients and agencies. I know the next few months are going to be a whirlwind of activity and can’t wait to get going and meet everyone internally as well as our clients. I have had a really enjoyable first chapter in my career and now to the next. 2017 here we come and yes it starts with a trip to Vegas.
Thanks and over & out.

CES My overview: Content and technology at odds when it comes to mobility

CES never ceases to astound, not least because the sheer scale is incredible. Over 150,000 people gathered this year to see the onslaught of new gadgets and software, with over 20,000 new products being launched. However this year I was less surprised by the products being launched.

Yes there were bigger TVs, thinner TVs, TVs with the most incredible picture quality, more tablets, more phones, more games and even fridges that talk to you. Loads of great stuff. But not loads of surprises. The focus as far as I could see was in making all of these things talk, connect and share with each other.

It struck me at CES just how much technology enables a seamless, frictionless ecosystem for us and our consumption of content. There were some fascinating examples on the show floor that all point to the consumer being able to do exactly what they want to do, when they want to do it. I can guarantee that our children will be demanding a completely open proposition when it comes to media consumption. They will want and expect it in a non- linear fashion as well.

A prime example of this was DISH, who is trying everything to help us do that. First they allow the recording of every primetime network channel automatically on to your set top box and then they have enabled the transfer of this content to your iPad for later viewing on the go. A brilliant idea which fully utilises the tablet / PC and TV.

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Intel and Comcast are working to make sure that the average home can have a number of different devices wired up so individuals can watch and do whatever they like in whatever room of the house they are in. This allows the consumer a seamless movement of viewing / playing around the house.

And with Intel’s Microsoft Windows 8 laptop come tablet devices users can play with based on their mood – laptop for work, tablet for play. There is no one device that has come to the fore here and I am sure the best route will take a while to play out, but it will.

Samsung’s interactive TV’s continue to delight with the ability to talk with friends via Twitter, Skype etc… and indeed there are now competitors challenging the idea that adding these interactive services does not need to push up the price tag so considerably. Hisense is democratising these services and has entered the market with an affordable Smart TV for everyone.

Interestingly, the superstores in the US are also trying to push this out of the preserve of the lucky few. Both Walmart and Bestbuy will now only sell Smart TV’s, trying to drive further adoption of these ever connected devices. Intrinsic to growth in the connected TV area (there are 35 million connected TV devices in the US) is just that, getting them connected.

The Wi-fi revolution has meant that it is now so easy to connect a new device and adoption rates are high in the Smart TV market. All of this means we are very quickly going to arrive at a world where the lines between your TV and mobile devices are seamless.

This is being accelerated by a need to can the wires, a greater desire for social TV and a realisation that the TV can be a great central hub for all content wherever it comes from, and indeed can be the starting point for finding content and sending it outwards. In addition, on demand services and social apps also mean that people will be looking for Smart TV’s as a matter of course. Driving further adoption.

The key issue, however, is that the devices are seamless but the content is not. Broadcasters in particular are trying to manage a market that is shifting rapidly around them. In my home where I don’t have an aerial and the digital aerial does not work I turn to Apple TV. Apple TV is great for streaming to the TV, but who are the people that won’t let you do it – C4, ITV, Sky etc. How limited and short sighted are they? What are the alternatives? I don’t watch their programmes, or I do?

My Samsung TV has no 4oD, the result is I don’t watch this channel as much as I would. Comcast in the US is not letting people stream programming from the likes of HBO Go, it is being artificially restricted. This strangulation by these broadcasters needs to adjust and fast as viewers will not put up with it for much longer.

One huge irritation I have is the fact that Sky won’t let me have unlimited devices to watch SkyGo on – we live in a world where people often have an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod and perhaps even a Nexus 7 – I want to watch SkyGo anywhere I want,  at any time – that drives loyalty.

How technology will impact advertising

So, we have a seamless technology ecosystem developing, let’s look on the bright side and suggest that broadcasters do give up their old school methods and let us all do what we want. There will be two implications for the advertising business. The first is that measurement of viewership will become an impossible task without some improvement in the technology tracking it – a big ask. And that leads neatly to the second – addressable TV advertising.

DISH is currently piloting zipcode targeting – basically they download ads to the set top box and then fire them to the appropriate household and hopefully in time, person. How can they do that? Well, if a household is governed by a central console like a Comcast box, then we could be in a position to more easily identify who is watching what content and serve them relevant advertising.

Simulmedia recently released numbers that suggest that as much as 75% of TV ad impressions are reaching just 20% of their target audiences. If this data becomes verified, advertisers will be looking to alternatives and addressability will be paramount.

So, after a few days in Vegas we did not see a great deal of change, more a rapid progression of technology that was present last year – more tablets, more Smart TV’s, interchangeable laptops and tablets, sharing technology, social technology. As a result our industry also needs to rapidly progress. The consequences for the media will be far reaching and affect all of us.

Marco Bertozzi is executive managing director of Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi

My 2012. Perpetual motion.

Perpetual motion in more ways than one. Change is the only certainty in life and we certainly experienced it this year. Travel wise it was the year of going to the US, Palo Alto, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles. But let’s not forget the best that Europe has to offer with Madrid, Moscow, Milan, Cannes and Monte Carlo, Paris x 10, Amsterdam, Prague and on it goes. It is something I love to do and simply the best way of getting to know the network but can also take its toll.

I got a new boss this year and said goodbye to my first VivaKi boss in the form of Curt Hecht who left to join The Weather Channel. Curt was an entirely new kind of leader to those I have had in the past. He inspired me to look at our media world differently, he was himself in perpetual motion and seemed to never run out of energy for this business of ours. He pushed me, supported me and at times put a few European noses out of joint on his visits, importantly he taught me that travel, events, meeting bright people is worth something, it makes you more worldly, and helps you form a different view to those who listen to only those around them. Curt will and I know already is doing a great job. Enter stage left Kurt Unkel. Old Curt, new Kurt as they were for many months!

Thanks in part to all this change I was invited to Paris, Publicis Groupe HQ to meet Maurice Levy for a brief one to one. It was the very pinnacle of my career, if you would have told me as a TV buyer in 96 that I would get to meet Maurice I would have laughed – in fact I would probably have not known who he was! It’s funny how some of my external colleagues in the likes of Google meet him all the time (relatively) and yet it is so hard as a part of his organisation, but anyway, it was a privilege.

New Kurt as my boss can’t receive too many positive comments here for fear of brown nosing abuse, but suffice to say that he is a good guy, smart and looking forward to working with him in 2013. It’s been a crazy work year so much growth and development, part of a team of people now overseeing the new VivaKi proposition I am expecting no let up in 2013. But 2012 has seen us grow to 11 markets live with Audience On Demand in EMEA, the latest being Russia in December. We have worked tirelessly to create this EMEA wide expertise so that our advertisers can have a genuine centre of excellence wherever they are, it has been down to a lot of hard work from the VNC leaders across Europe – particularly Bea, Lothar, JB, Sara, Danny, Geoff as well as Becky for getting me around!

I reduced the sitting on Exchangewire panels of 2011 in 2012 and did some interesting and varied panels and presentations. I presented a digital overview at the IAA earlier in the year. A session at the FT around B2B comms and the future developments. A fantastic panel at Monaco Media Forum with Brian from Digiday – you can see that here. and have actually written more solid content for media publications. My first one of those was a sum up of CES and the impact of connected TVs..it’s long but if you want it – click here.

As usual I got into the odd scrape, although a lot less. My blog on the Dataxu purchase of Mexad called ‘Mathmen just turned back into Madmen’ went down well with some and less well with others. Siding with the Google view of ‘a frictionless Web‘ also brought a few a google haters out but as we showed in December with the World first search retargeting campaign, it was a great development.

Google Zeitgeist, Client Advisory Board in California, Monaco Media Forum, Cannes, CES – all great locations and events and yes you can and do have a lot of fun but at the same time, I have learned so much from so many bright people through these events, it is a very fortunate and a not to be taken for granted opportunity. The pace of change right now is break neck and these events help us stay in touch or at least try to.

Just as you think you are in a groove enter VivaKi 2.0. New structures, new propositions, all change again, but it is exciting and nerve racking at the same time, 2013 starts very quickly when we are back and I have a feeling won’t stop until that last working day of 2013. The team I work with and for is an incredible bunch, so bloody bright and enthusiastic. If anyone can create and steer change it is them and that gives you a lot of confidence. The guys I sit with right now in London have all worked their skins off and done a great job, it is these guys that make it happen and I look forward to a new year with them all.

Perpetual motion, managed by my awesome PA Becky has been mainly work focused but just to add a bit more into the mix we moved to Beaconsfield from Balham in May, another life change for us, one we have enjoyed thoroughly, not least it allowed me to buy that Yamaha T-Max 500 scooter I had been coveting! I grew up in the country and so I return (sort of). Sad to say one advantage is being near Heathrow!

The last icing on the cake came with being asked into Campaign A-list in December and judging Media Week Awards both for the first time (late developer!) but one question I was asked was ‘how have the last 12 months been for you?’ My answer was that they have been the best of my entire career. I am so pleased that after 16 years of work I have been given the opportunity to say that and I will be working doubly hard next year to make sure I can say it again this time next year.

Thanks to everyone in my team, to friends and colleagues and to all those companies we work with, I wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

It’s late. Good night and HNY.

VivaKi and Audience On Demand take first mover advantage on Google’s DDM

The thing that most inspires me in this role is the constant ability to innovate ourselves, as well as work with leaders in the technology space. As of this quarter, VivaKi and the Audience On Demand team in London are paving the way and entering a new era of activating search advertising data in the display ecosystem intelligently. Below find our internal release.

 

A collaboration between VivaKi and Google sees a global first for the organizations – the launch of a remarketing from search ads campaign. Audience On Demand (AOD), the market-leading addressable media buying practice for VivaKi, leveraged Google’s integrated technology suite to deliver a display remarketing campaign optimised around traffic on search ads on behalf of their client, a leading automotive services provider.

 

“As the leader and one of the first entrants in the RTB marketplace we work tirelessly to ensure our clients benefit from first-mover opportunities” says Marco Bertozzi, Executive Managing Director for the VivaKi Nerve Center. He continues: “Since launching AOD we have worked closely with Invite [now DoubleClick Bid Manager] as our primary partner and it has been an incredible mutual growth story. We saw back in 2010 the amazing opportunities for AOD and our clients in the Google product development roadmap and display remarketing from search advertising was absolutely top of the list.”

 

This feature enables the use of search ad clicks as a signal in optimising client’s display campaigns, re-engaging consumers with display ads across billions of ad impressions available on global ad exchanges. The integration between DoubleClick Bid Manager and DoubleClick Search 3 provides the ability to split referring keywords into specific groups based around different levels of interest and exercise bid strategies appropriately, re-igniting the potential of clicks that did not deliver an outcome in the first instance. This maximises the efficiency of search investment and boosts the performance of display campaigns.

 

Geoff Smith, Head of Activation for AOD comments: “This technology allows us to identify and differentiate consumers with greater intent to purchase, depending on their behavior with search ads. This granular insight allows us to alter our bid strategy accordingly, thereby maximising the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall campaign.”

 

This will add yet another layer of power to our offering and shows that Audience On Demand has yet again delivered innovation in the exciting marketplace. We had a choice – follow the pack and let

Interview with Beet.TV at Monaco Media Forum – Programmatic video

Each year I go back to Monaco the subject of Real time bidding, programmatic buying and data rises up the agenda. Year one there was little or no coverage of the topic. Last year we had a side room break out on the topic, not attended by anyone outside of those who worked in it. This year I was interviewed on the topic, and the panel regarding tech, data and RTB was on the main stage as well as other related round tables.

Part of that for me was an interview with Beet.TV on the growth of programmatic buying in the video ecosystem. Click on the image below to be directed through to the site.

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