In a series of conversations with trade association leaders and their view of impacts of ad automation, programmatic and other priorities, Jay Sears, Senior Vice President of Rubicon Project, discusses trends and issues of the day impacting advertisers and media owners. In this interview, he talks with Nancy Hill, President and CEO of the 4As. Hill’s ad agency members create or buy 80% of the advertising in the U.S. She has personally led the 4As’ work on diversity including recruitment, talent development and media buying guidelines.
JAY SEARS: What do you read to keep up with politics, art and culture?
NANCY HILL: The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Wired
SEARS: What do you read to keep up with friends?
HILL: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
SEARS: What do you read to keep up with the media and advertising technology industries?
HILL: Advertising Age, Fast Company, Adweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Campaign, The Drum
SEARS: What’s your favorite commercial of all time?
HILL: Cadbury Gorilla -- it’s just pure joy.
(Pictured above, left to right: Nancy Hill, President and CEO of the 4As appeared with Jay Sears of Rubicon Project and Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research at the 4th Annual Automated Advertising Panel at Cannes in June 2016.)
SEARS: Describe your membership.
HILL: We have over 800 members across the country, serving close to 1,200 offices. That represents close to 200,000 individuals. They range in size from five people to tens of thousands. About 60% of our members are independent and 40% are part of a holding company. Our membership either creates or buys 80% of the advertising in the U.S.
SEARS: With regards to major impacts to your membership, what are the three biggest trends in 2016 and 2017?
SEARS: With specific regards to advertising spend, what are the three biggest trends in 2016 and 2017?
SEARS: Describe your trade association and then tell us your top three initiatives overall.
HILL: We are a very member-driven organization. We provide leadership, guidance and advocacy for the advertising agency community. We strive to be their partner for business.
SEARS: How many employees does your association have?
SEARS: What is your annual operating budget?
HILL: $19 million
SEARS: Where is your headquarters?
HILL: New York City
SEARS: Advertising automation -- and data-driven advertising -- continues to be a surging force. It promises unprecedented control, but not all supply chain participants [consumers, media owners, agencies, advertisers] feel in control. Is this simply the result of an emerging, fast changing dynamic market? If not, what is missing?
HILL: I think it happened very quickly and no one was equipped to embrace it from either a technology or talent standpoint. None of us were data wonks in previous lives, but we’ve had to teach ourselves. I believe the more we can educate the better off we will all be. We have many webinars focused on just this issue.
SEARS: Transparency -- on media costs, on data, on inventory -- continues to be a lightning rod issue. Should transparency be a negotiated benefit for the advertiser client, yes or no?
HILL: We continue to advocate for transparency between client and agency. Trust has to be at the core of the relationship or it just won’t work. That said, we believe that agencies have a right to operate in a so-called “non-transparent” business practice if and only if it is very clearly explained to the client and they opt-in. This is between the two parties to come to a mutual agreement.
SEARS: Please answer the following statements yes or no.
SEARS: If you had your own TV talk show, what would you name it?
HILL: Plan B. Always have one.
SEARS: What annual conference -- not run by your own association -- do you enjoy attending the most?
HILL: 3% Conference
SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?
HILL: DOM, Sao Paolo
SEARS: Thanks, Nancy!
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