2019 Event Highlights
Table of Contents
The 4A’s Decisions 20/20 conference in Washington, D.C., gave leaders of the marketing industry a forum to explore the intersection of media, data, technology and privacy in an era of change, with the express purpose of outlining actions.
The two-day conference served as a show of strength and unity on a range of topics including brand and consumer safety, emerging technology, addressable and programmatic marketing, data, video, talent diversity and inclusion, and new and forthcoming industry regulations. Eight breakout sessions helped identify and drive actions to take: the start of a roadmap for 2019 into 2020.
4A’s EVP of Media + Data Louis Jones and President + CEO Marla Kaplowitz addressed attendees. “We are not going to agree on everything,” Jones reminded attendees, “but let's choose some turf on which we can win.” Kaplowitz outlined the 4A’s mission:
Kaplowitz outlined the 4A’s mission for the year:
to champion growth in business through the power of creativity in all forms;
to address diversity, equity and inclusion, including new industry standards related to workplace enlightenment and areas of difference; and
to create a new paradigm regarding privacy and the use of data addressing consumer concerns and marketing opportunities.
The New Normal? Signal vs. Noise in the Time of Chaos
“What’s new?” Michael I. Roth, CEO & Chairman of IPG, played his lead-off question for a laugh: his interviewee, NBC News’s political correspondent Kasie Hunt, was just finishing a weekend that started with the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 300-page report investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. “2020 will be decided by a handful of undecided voters,” Hunt said. “The challenge is how much does that group of independent voters care about what was said here.”
“I used to listen to Walter Cronkite, and whatever he said was true,” Roth noted. “How does any individual sift through Fox, MSNBC, CNN, Twitter, all these different outlets?”
“News organizations all have teams of lawyers dedicated to making sure that what we’re saying is something you can believe,” Hunt said. “Those standards don’t apply to a ton of the information you pick up on social media.…That should really concern all of us.”
Change is All Around Us: A Call to Arms!
In an impassioned address, Nick Brien, CEO–Americas of Dentsu Aegis Network, gave the audience a set of “hard truths” as a rallying cry for greater alignment and collaboration.
Charting Our Future: Agency Leaders Talk
A panel discussion of four media agency network leaders showed consensus that they’re working in a changing environment, but not about how to respond and lead.
“We’ve lost this higher order that media is an amazing place to put a creative message,” said Jodi Robinson, President, Digitas North America. “We need to be masters in whatever those media channels are. We need to bring that together.”
Two CEOs established opposing points of view on the state of the industry. Tim Castree, CEO–North America of GroupM, said advertisers largely trust their agency partners to guide them through change. Mat Baxter, Global CEO of Initiative, disagreed, arguing that trust issues are at the root of such unwelcome developments as marketers in-housing agency capabilities. But both CEOs regard increasing agency agility as an industry priority—and all agreed on the need for better support of the 4A’s.
Erin Matts, CEO of Hearts & Science, identified two areas within easy reach where the industry can succeed: consumer education and diversity: “If we don’t have perspectives representative of the audiences we’re trying to reach, we’re doing ourselves and our end consumers a massive disservice.”
What’s one way you commit to leading change in the next year?
The Future of the Consumer Journey
Leading a discussion of changing technology and experiences with leaders of three major consumer platforms—Google, Twitter, and, Xandr—John Montgomery, EVP–Global Brand Safety of GroupM, noted that for both placement and consumers, context is everything.
Technology is a Differentiator
Philippe Krakowsky, IPG’s EVP–Chief Strategy & Talent Officer, and Chairman and CEO of IPG Mediabrands, said brands’ thoughtful use of first-party data helps them stay on the right end of the consumers’ continuum between “magic” and “creepy.”
The Independent Agency View on the Future
Adweek agency reporter Erik Oster’s conversation with four leaders of independent agencies revealed the agencies’ perceived advantages for clients: their agility, simplicity, and single-minded devotion to a brand’s business.
U.S. Media by the Numbers
$12 billion U.S. media spending, 2018
$35 billion media business could be in review over the next two years
65 agency acquisitions over the past three years
⅔ of acquisitions: digital and tech companies
⅓ of acquisitions: creative agencies
To help attendees build practical strategies for an unpredictable business environment, Decisions 20/20’s eight breakout sessions yielded insights and actions to apply immediately within organizations and throughout the industry.
Details on each breakout session appear throughout this report.
As the 4A’s and partners prepare to launch the industry’s brand-safety playbook, brands are asking not only how to avoid questionable content but why this content needs to be on ad platforms at all. An advertising Bill of Rights could let brands know in advance where their ads will appear
Host and Moderator: Louis Jones, EVP Media & Data, 4A’s
Dennis Buchheim, SVP & General Manager, IAB Tech Lab
Bonnie Niederstrasser, Director, Policy and Programs, Trustworthy Accountability Group
Brian Quinn, President, OpenSlate
4A’s Advertiser Protection Bureau
Joe Barone, Managing Partner, Brand Safety Americas, GroupM
Emily Hollarback, VP AdTech, Media Assembly
Sargi Mann, EVP, Head of Digital Strategy & Investments, Havas
David Murnick, EVP Digital Operations & Technology Partnerships, Dentsu Aegis
Modernization and Transformation Using Blockchain and Emerging Technology
Blockchain’s applications are still emerging but could help marketing businesses create frictionless networks of trust and transparency, streamline processes, measure with accuracy, and combat fraud.
Moderator: Aleksandar Zelenovic, Strategy and Practice Lead Publicis Sapient
Chad Andrews, Global Solutions Leader for Advertising, IBM
Christiana Cacciapuoti, CEO, AdLedger
Alanna Gombert, CEO, Digital Asset Trade Association
Technology Empowers: AR, VR & Voice
Best practices to adopt these emerging areas of creativity emphasize the imperative for spatial computing, and the inevitability of AR and VR adoption and 3D immersive storytelling.
Moderator: Debby Ruth, SVP, Global Media & Entertainment, Frank N. Magid Associates
Craig Evans, CEO, Digital Nation Entertainment
Gordon Meyer, Innovation & Marketing Consultant
Doug Robinson, CEO, Fresh Digital
The marketing industry needs to support open standards, and sellers need to consider what’s best not just for their organization but for the industry at large.
Moderator: Jack Myers, Chairman & Founder, Media Village
Charles Cantu, Founder, Reset Digital
TS Kelly, SVP Research, Alphonso
John Piccone, President & CRO, Simulmedia
Michael Bologna, President, one2one Addressable
Andrew Ward, President, NCC Media
GDPR and Beyond: Strategies for Safer Data Management & Privacy
As a patchwork of proposed state-level legislation threatens to scramble privacy standards, data usage strategies and campaign dynamics, agencies must prepare to pivot their consent mechanisms as enforcement decisions evolve.
European regulators haven’t yet settled on what will constitute legal consent under the GDPR.
Agencies should be prepared to pivot their consent mechanisms as enforcement decisions evolve.
Moderator: Jason Koye, Omnicom Media Group
Jordan Abbott, Chief Data Ethics Officer, Acxiom
Ashok Chandra, Senior Partner of Privacy, GroupM
Tanya Forsheit, Partner and Chair, Privacy & Data Security, Frankfurt Kurnit
Jessica B. Lee, Partner, Co-Chair, Privacy, Security & Data Innovations, Loeb & Loeb
The Future of Automation: A First Look
The initial qualitative findings of a “Future of Automation” research show data quality, and the consistency and speed of the exchange of information, delivers automation.
The Ten Friction Points
Tactical talent costs
Brand safety and fraud
High-level technology evaluations
Higher order rules for automation
Strategic talent costs
Transparency in walled gardens
Louis Jones, EVP Media & Data, 4A’s
Rob Rasko, Founder & CEO, The 614 Group
Shawn Riegsecker, Founder & CEO, Centro
The Measurement Solution: Agencies’ Perspective
A new 4A’s study reveals that marketing needs to prioritize agreeing on what currencies matter, how to have more insight to driving outcomes, and improving identity to correct unduplicated reach.
Moderator: Terry Cohen, SVP, Media & Data, 4A's
Claire Browne, VP, Director of Media Research, RPA
Krista Lang, SVP, Executive Director of Media, 22squared
George Musi, EVP, Head of Data, Analytics & Insight, BLUE 449
Peter Sedlarcik, Chief Intelligence Officer, Havas Media Group
Applications for Blockchain in Advertising and Media
Blockchain holds promise for improving trust through greater media effectiveness, reducing wasted spend, combating ad fraud, and streamlining supply chains—but the industry must introduce blockchain with careful deliberation.
Moderator: Chick Foxgrover, EVP, Creative Technology & Innovation, 4A’s
Richard Bush, President, NYIAX
Sam Goldberg, President and Co-Founder, Lucidity
Adam Helfgott, CEO, MadHive
LuRae Lumpkin, CEO & Co-Founder, Blockchain4Media
From Outsider to Insider: A Shift in Perspective
In a one-on-one interview, analyst Brian Wieser ("the most quoted man in advertising," per Ad Age) told The Wall Street Journal advertising editor Suzanne Vranica that agencies need to do a better job explaining their value to the brands they work with.
Charting Disruption and Winning Hearts: Audi Of America
With the rise of electric, hybrid, and self-driving vehicles, Audi of America’s adaptive brand strategy has transformed it from luxury-brand runner-up to category leader.
Marketers on How Collaboration Gets Results
Brands’ trusted partnerships and clear collaboration with their agencies are key to beating the heat of a changing, complex business, panelists from Bayer, GSK and Mars revealed in a panel moderated by Tom Denford, ID Comms’s CEO for North America.
Diversity & Inclusion: Myth vs. Reality
While the marketing industry continually strives to attract talent that represents diverse backgrounds at the entry level, retaining that talent long enough to become industry leaders remains an ongoing challenge, as experts revealed in a candid panel led by 4A’s EVP of Talent Engagement & Inclusion, Simon Fenwick.
The Strategic Data Management Imperative
Many agencies and advertisers working with strategic, flexible data management systems are working to confront the challenge of coordinating tools and systems for optimal intelligence, experts revealed in a panel moderated by DataXu’s Chief Revenue Officer Ed Montes.
Brand And Consumer Safety—The Journey Forward
A year after forming the Advertisers’ Protection Bureau, the 4A’s is partnering with the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab to release a Brand Safety Playbook to ensure marketing messages appear with appropriate content in appropriate contexts, free of piracy, fraud, malware, violence, fake news, and other hazards. (Listen to a podcast of the discussion on the “dark web”).
The rise in individuals consuming video on multiple platforms simultaneously is leading sellers, buyers and media companies to reassess the ratings and measurement of a rapidly changing medium. Sean Cunningham, CEO and President of the Video Advertising Bureau, moderated this panel discussion.
New Congress, New FTC, New Priorities | Regulation Could Rock Our World
With the passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act, the threat of 50 U.S. state laws on consumer data privacy could bring chaos to the advertising media industry. The Federal Trade Commission’s Noah Joshua Phillips discussed the implications with Stuart Ingis, Chairman of Venable LLP. Their fireside chat preceded a panel discussion moderated by 4A’s SVP–Government Relations, Alison Pepper.
A comprehensive and immersive gathering of research experts from media agencies and platforms explored issues of measurement standardization who offered action plans to create cross-media standards on variables including brand safety and invalid traffic measurement and fraud filtration.
Photos by Margarita Corporan