Why brands are putting their media up for review

So far this year almost $26bn of media spend has been put up for review by more than 20 big brands including Procter & Gamble, Volkswagen and Coca-Cola. While some of that is down to coincidence, marketers think it is also due to the major changes in how media is planned, bought and sold in part due to the rise of programmatic.

Programmatic advertising

Speaking to Marketing Week at a TubeMogul event in Cannes yesterday (22 June), Mondelez’s chief media and ecommerce officer Bonin Bough said the reviews signal a “fundamental” change in the relationship between brands and their media agencies.

“The capabilities that are required are so dramatically changing and clients want to understand what the future will look like. This is as much a review of the agency as it is ourselves and understanding what the future is going to look like in terms of content, connected commerce and in how to become a digitized company – how we are going to do that and what it means.

“What is happening with the reviews is pretty simple. It’s both a reflection of the changing capabilities in the market place and how that reflects to change brands.”

Bonin Bough, chief media and ecommerce officer, Mondelez

Ron Amram, Heineken’s senior media director, pointed out that some brands, such as Coca-Cola are reviewing their media as part of a 10-year cycle but said the reviews do point to a “major change” in how media agencies work with brands.

“Data, the ad tech stack and the massive fragmentation of media and how media agencies negotiate it has changed what media agencies are doing for clients. We have to think about things differently, have more transparency built into it and technology woven throughout. That just means that sometimes you need to take a step back and reassess,” he told Marketing Week.

Brett Wilson, CEO at TubeMogul, said the reviews feel like they are in part down to a perception that brands have that there is a lack of transparency with media buys. That’s the reason why some are taking ad tech software in-house, rather than going through an agency.

Hello World, an American cosmetics startup, has taken all its media buying in house, a decision its marketing director Christi Botello said was due to the fact that data makes it easier for brands to see for themselves where their media is working best.

“What has changed dramatically is the knowledge that is available and the simplification. Two years ago I couldn’t tell you anything about how media buys were happening and now I understand. The information is out there, it’s a lot simpler to get when you start to look at it so the ability to execute as a marketers is a lot simpler than it has been,” she said.

Despite all the changes in how media is bought and planned, most brands are reviewing their agency set-up, not planning to get rid of it.

“They are still reviews, no one wants to get rid of their agency. they’re eventually going to have a media agency, the notion of them going away, no one is talking about that,” said Amram.

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