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Mobile Fix - March 17

Two Tribes

The Two Tribes quote from the BT CMO we mentioned last week has kept coming up in conversation

It feels like an apt analogy for a divided marketing world. We even saw this week WPP apparently threatening to withhold money from Google and Facebook unless they sort ad fraud - by the end of Cannes. Darling.


Really – how many clients are going to agree to that? If you are doing it properly, digital is demonstrably good value for money. If you are not seeing value for money you have the wrong Agency partners.

But as one Tribe of Agencies resist the modern world - in a Canute like stance - the Management Consultancies are getting closer. Adweek has a good feature on how the Big4 are aggressively buying agencies. And the news from Accenture that they are setting up in house trading desks for clients parks their tanks on the Agency business lawns. The revenue from media is a major part of the holding companies revenues and any threat to that will be taken really seriously.

So it’s no surprise that Agencies are fighting back but can a new offering from one of the Holding Companies really stand comparison with a team from McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group?

In newish space like Programmatic the consultancies tend to be making the running. One of the big publishing groups had BCG people inhouse for a year advising the Chairman on Programmatic and when Diageo was looking to build a DMP they had a beauty parade of the top consultancies to find a partner. To see how the world has changed look at this job spec for a Digital Tech Director for the worlds leading drinks company

The FT has a piece on the Google Facebook duopoly. Nothing new for Fix readers but this story is getting out there and will be influencing C level execs outside of marketing. So too will this piece on big data and algorithms being the future

So when Boards want to know how they are taking advantage of this opportunity, where do they go for advice?

Rather than throwing stones, those in the glass house of agencies should be making the case for advertising. The WFA have a new report on the value created by advertising that shows seven euros of value are created for every euro spent.

Tech increasingly sees the value of marketing; as an engine for growth, a revenue model and a way for product focused startups to differentiate in crowded markets. Witness the healthy spends by digital brands on traditional media to support their digital activity.

Our piece on the Trinity of Advertising remains relevant. All three partners in the ad business – Brands, Content Creators and People - get value when advertising is done well. And we all suffer when it’s not.


This week I keynoted a fascinating event for DoubleClick around their Native ads product. My shtick was around how we need to make it easy for creative people to lean in to mobile and the new approach from Doubeclick should help.

We believe ads need to fit the flow of content and respect both the context and what we know about the person seeing the ad. Native done properly delivers against both. A recurrent theme from the day was that everyone needs to think more about the UX of the ad experience.


Unsurprisingly more news about the hunger for original content by tech platforms - but a key issue for all sides is discovery. Snap are pitching shows to brands and getting a good reaction. The Movie team at Huffington Post is pitching against more traditional TV production companies for these commissions. This is a more in depth look at how Snap are dealing with this space and ironically their Discover section highlights a key problem – the discovery of all these shows.

The clever people at Redef are great at discovery and curation and their report on how curation will invert the media industry is really interesting

The Media companies who have moved so swiftly into making content for brands are running into some issues around margin and talent. We saw the New York Times present at the Google event and some of their brand work is stunning – real competition for even the best agencies.


Hearing good things about the Apple airpods. At launch there was lots of criticism of these wireless headphones but this glowing review is typical. And it gets into the promise of Voice – both as a way to control the smartphone experience but also to consume content. We want to be able to listen to our emails and have the news articles read to us – as we predicted in our very old futurology piece.

Despite Alexa making all the noise in voice, we wouldn’t write Siri off just yet. But Alexa is getting amazing traction – with reports it could have revenues of $10b by 2020. This forecast comes from an interesting report by investment bank RBC – although the claimed figures for ownership are clearly wrong

And now Amazon have dramatically extended its reach by including it in the Amazon Shopping App

Benedict Evans points out that there are still issues with Voice – largely around discovery; how do you know which of the 10,000 skills available on Alexa may be useful?


Facebook celebrate the appeal of Video pointing out its persuasive powers. Some interesting research here, but the shift to video is now well entrenched.

We have been fascinated by range of tools making it easier and easier to produce video.

A new app Flyr is likely to get lots of interest as you can easily make interactive videos - and share them on most platforms.

Photospire is more of a business tool but offers similar functions

Our friends at Wirewax have been at this the longest and probably have the most advanced formats – look at this new shoppable 360 video for Ted Baker. You can read the Backstory here

Quad play

We mentioned the push from Mobile Network Operators into advertising last week and this is a good look at the challenges they face. The M&A activity from AT&T, Verizon, Singtel, Telefonica and Telstra suggest they all intend to make their mark on the ad business.

As well as investing in the adtech they need to unlock the value of their data, many are looking at more strategic alliances. AT&T is buying TimeWarner for content. Verizon bought Yahoo for reach – and inventory. Now Liberty – who already own Virgin TV - are rumoured to be buying Vodafone.

The holy grail is still the Quad Play – giving your customers Telephony, Broadband, Mobile and TV.

In the US they think regulations are going to make big mergers between telecoms and media players more likely. That combination of pipes, data and content will have an effect on whole ecology. Interesting times.

Quick Reads

A new feature from Snapchat – how long before we see something similar elsewhere?

A good look at Social from the Harvard Business Review - ads are the best way to get value

Finally – our Google keynote this week looked at great examples of ad creativity from before the TV age. Our argument was that talent like Claude Hopkins, Howard Gossage and Mary Wells Lawrence made the most of all the media available and would have loved the opportunities of digital. Continuing that Back to the Future theme we liked this example of Brand Utility. It would make a great mobile campaign for a brand now. Lots to learn from the past.

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