‘Some Form of Programmatic’ Is the Future of All Advertising, Says Marc Pritchard
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‘Some Form of Programmatic’ Is the Future of All Advertising, Says Marc Pritchard

By  |  January 15, 2021  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Three of advertising’s top executives believe there’s no going back to the way business was done before the Covid-19 outbreak.

Nearly a year after the pandemic fully hit the U.S., leaders from Procter & Gamble, NBCUniversal and advertising technology firm The Trade Desk all emphasized the rise of data-driven ad buying and noted how the decline of the television upfront is permanent.

Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer, said during a CES 2021 panel today that the “inevitable future” of advertising will be fully digitized and embrace real-time trading.

“All advertising and media will become some form of digital, some form of programmatic—data driven and automated—which then will enable us all to define the audiences that we want to reach, define what kind of programming we want our brands to be associated with, and then be able to allow that to happen,” Pritchard said during the virtual Variety Entertainment Summit at CES.

The death of the Upfront

Advertisers planned to spend 33% less during the 2020 upfront due to the pandemic—a loss of $7 billion for TV’s longstanding buying market.

With the emphasis on flexibility and the rise of digital channels on connected TV services, marketers are now looking to fundamentally change the way TV ads are bought and sold. For P&G, that meant working directly with networks and broadcasters on its own timetable.

“What we did is, we essentially worked together and negotiated a deal on our timing and the timing that worked best for our company,” Pritchard said. “That’s what I would expect everybody to do.”

NBCU wants to be one of those networks to work with brands and agencies however they want. The company introduced its One Platform offering at CES 2020 to do just that: unify ad inventory across all screens.

Linda Yaccarino, chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCU, said the goal is to trade media “in a very nimble way across any platform,” linear or digital.

There’s also an increased amount of available TV inventory, with the rise of CTV usage during the pandemic and the launch of new ad-supported streaming services, including NBCU’s Peacock.

As both marketers and consumers embrace digital channels, the old ways of trading media seem to be slipping away.

“It takes away those barriers,” Yaccarino said. “It leads you to Peacock, which is really the bellwether as everything transitions to digital.”

Being more deliberate

The pandemic also forced marketers with tightening budgets to prove the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. As a result, they flocked to digital channels with robust measurement offerings.

“Nearly every advertiser in the world is more deliberate about the choices that they make,” said Jeff Green, CEO of The Trade Desk, who added that the focus on data-driven advertising has been “very good for business.”

Pritchard also said working more closely with media owners “opened the door” for cross-platform measurement across both traditional TV and digital media.

Outside of TV, marketers have also been scrutinizing platforms that host user-generated content, which is difficult to moderate. For example, many brands stopped advertising on Facebook last summer due to hate speech on the platform. For P&G, the disruption that occurred in 2020 led the brand to focus on transparency and safety, making sure to “evaluate every single aspect of our media ecosystem and make sure that our ads are showing up in a place that is safe,” Pritchard said.

About the Author: Andrew Blustein

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