The AANA’s follow up to PwC's UK study on digital advertising transparency finds, despite years of lamentation and regulatory bandwidth, brands and agencies are passing the buck while walled gardens, reticent adtech providers, leaky verification programmes and a patchwork of data make following the money from advertiser to eyeball an auditor's nightmare. Perhaps the ACCC will step in to save the day, eventually. But brands can’t complain if they don’t act.
Facebook's news and broader content cull has some brands pulling spend, and others in fear of a public backlash. Both brands and publishers are now weighing up diversification strategies to channels they can control; email, newsletters and owned websites are the early winners. Meanwhile, agency bosses and public affairs veterans believe Facebook has made a strategic blunder that will backfire globally.
Tom Noble joined Jeep in February 2020. He already had a massive job on his hands reversing Jeep's brand implosion. Within weeks Covid crashed the car market to a 30-year low. He stuck with Cummins&Partners to begin a total brand rebuild and continue a 10-year relationship. It seems to be paying off. Sean Cummins, meanwhile, says the agency has no plans to get into bed with a network. But he is eyeing new partners to crack China.
Instead of regulating media agencies and their digital arms, the ACCC has told marketers to wise up to what they are buying. But it has flagged real concerns around transparency, rebates, data trails and conflicts of interest. Some agency bosses think it is impossible for marketers to understand what is really going on. Not all agencies are equal, but the ACCC is now probing a little deeper - they may yet find it carries a big stick.
By making very public threats to pull search from Australia, senior ad industry execs think Google has kicked an early own goal. They say regulation is inevitable and that far bigger battles lie ahead. Even if Google takes the nuclear option, the marketing industry and Australia’s broader economy will survive the fallout – and in the long run may even benefit.
The pre-Christmas Covid cluster dealt another blow to the industry's plans to return to offices at the start of 2021, with many reverting to working from home initiatives and adopting a "wait and see" approach. However, agency holding group Omnicom Media Group and radio and TV network Southern Cross Austereo have managed to get most staff back into the building. OMG boss Peter Horgan says the business remains completely Covid safe but the dynamic hit a "tipping point" when 60% of staff returned - with positive knock-on effects.
Virgin Australia had to make deep cuts to an already lean marketing team after Covid grounded planes and pushed it into administration. Under new private equity ownership, the airline is now gaining altitude and velocity. Search is surging towards pre-pandemic levels, the brand is advertising its wares once more and has big plans to unlock greater reward and yield from its 10 million loyalty members. It may be that the marketing and loyalty function integrate much more closely in 2021.
IPG Mediabrands' investment intelligence arm Magna has the Australian ad market back 6.2% in 2020. Publicis-owned Zenith has it back 12%. They both agree that 2021 looks healthier, with digital to drive a recovery of sorts - but it may take another year or two to recover to pre-Covid levels. Meanwhile GroupM is predicting a big 2021 for APAC.
After a quiet takeover of Quantium's media unit, the massive scale-up by Woolworth’s retail media division Cartology continues unimpeded by Covid with the hire of IAG’s head of Customer Growth and Analytics, Willem Paling, to lead the retailer’s activation and attribution strategy for 30 million weekly in store “interactions” and 20 million digital visits every week.
Following a six-month pitch process, BMW has landed on its new media agency, opting for independent shop Atomic 212. The brand confirmed the decision with Mi3. The appointment marks another coup for Australia's apparently booming indie agency sector, and ticks off another major review from this year's $500m pitchpalooza. Meanwhile, the Toyota pitch is moving into its final stages.
The Omnicom-owned, BBDO controlled boss of Clemenger Group, Robert Morgan, has quashed talk of tension between he and outgoing CHE Proximity CEO, Chris Howatson, as the trigger for this week’s news of a split. The new indy group, Howatson + White, is set to launch in the new year with 30 people and grand ambitions to build Australia’s next homegrown but new-world Clemenger or George Patterson with full-service capabilities across tech, creative, media, CX and e-commerce.