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Will terror fears finally stem growth of programmatic?

Does anyone really want to do anything about the supposedly unintended consequences of programmatic digital media buying?

Well Jaguar Land Rover is having a go, pulling all its digital advertising in the UK after an ad for one of its posh cars appeared on YouTube next to an Isis video (since pulled). Agency Mindshare is investigating it seems.

This follows an investigation by The Times which claimed there were numerous such examples of ads “funding terror.” That would mean ads appearing on terror websites (not YouTube) because an algorithm lost its way – as they do. News UK, which owns The Times, is currently setting up its own programmatic “walled garden.”

We already know vast amounts of programmatic money are wasted on websites and channels that don’t actually exist, $5bn is one of the lower estimates. so why do advertisers do it and why do media agencies try to pretend it’s all hunky dory?

Money, of course, because advertisers think it’s cheaper than actually checking these things (reassuring in a way that Lord Leverhulme’s saw that half of his ad money was wasted, he just didn’t know which half, is once again industry orthodoxy) and some media agencies make much more from firing up the “super computer” than planning and negotiating.

Interestingly Michael Roth’s Interpublic, which doesn’t trade programmatic on its own account according to Roth, reported industry-leading organic growth of 3.2 per cent last week.

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The attraction could be the professional version of “fear of missing out” as Maxus UK CEO Nick Baughan noted in these pages last week. It could be the dreaded “touchpoints,” the digital panacea of hitting everyone everywhere (why should you want to?)

Procter & Gamble is currently re3viewing its $500m European media account, with global brand officer Marc Pritchard’s “transparency” crusade at the top of the agenda. Will Pritchard and the mighty P&G say no to programmatic? That would really put the cat among the pigeons and not before time.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. Good summary and question. But the “half of my budget is wasted” quote is from American department store owner John Wannamaker: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wanamaker

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