Programmatic in Latin America: Matias Alpert of WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather -- The Jay Sears Interview

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
Cover image for  article: Programmatic in Latin America: Matias Alpert of WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather -- The Jay Sears Interview

This is the second in a series of interviews with leading buyers titled “Programmatic in Latin America.” The conversation with continue at The Festival of Media Latin America in Miami, Florida on Thursday, October 2, 2014. For more information, please go here.

Your Name: Matías Alpert

Your Company: Ogilvy & Mather

Your Title: Chief Digital Officer

SEARS: Where do you read your daily news?

ALPERT: I read El País, The New York Times and La Nación through their sites and on Flipboard on a daily basis. I have quite a few other sources on my Flipboard (i.e. Folha, ElMundo, Washington Post, FT, etc.). As per industry specific news, I follow emails for MediaPost and The Next Web on Twitter, where I also follow influencers.

SEARS: Today on average across Latin America -- out of each $1.00 spent on media (all media, not just digital) by one of your advertisers -- how much today is spent on automated or programmatic channels?

ALPERT: Leaving out search, today we are already close to $0.05 in Brazil though well below in the rest of the region. In Mexico, Colombia and Argentina it is under $0.015 and growing slowly. The adoption curve is accelerating smoothly in Brazil though [they] still need a lot of education in the rest of the region. A lot of confusion still persists.

SEARS: What was this number in 2012?

ALPERT: $0.015 on average for the whole region.

SEARS: What will this number be in 2016?

ALPERT: $0.15 on average for the whole region.

SEARS: What is the mission statement of Ogilvy & Mather’s automated trading efforts?

ALPERT: The mission around our programmatic offering has to do with transparency, marketing automation and effectiveness. Bringing our search mentality to a larger part of our investment portfolio is a key initiative and programmatic is one of the spaces that allows for that. The faster we can push adoption, the higher value we can deliver to our clients.

SEARS: Please tell us:

SEARS: Percentage increase, managed budget (media spend) 2013 vs. expected 2014 across Latin America:

ALPERT:Digital Media is growing at 20 % on average.

SEARS: How many employees are there in your Latin American organization?

ALPERT: Total across Latin America: 2500.
Total in:
Brazil: 1200
Mexico: 300
Argentina: 450
Chile: 120
Columbia: 200
Peru: 85
Uruguay: 35

SEARS: By 2016, what percentage of your holding company’s Latin American media spend will be automated or programmatic?

ALPERT: We should aim to be between 15-25 %. As the flywheel starts turning more rapidly, larger portions of the space should move to programmatic.

SEARS: Across Latin America, what markets are leaders? What markets are laggards?


Brazil: This is most definitely the leading market both from an understanding and adoption basis. Be that on the publisher, advertiser or agency side, all incumbents are pushing ahead hard on automation.
Mexico: Transparency and speed of adoption are big obstacles for this market to move forward. Programmatic is still a line on a media plan like an ad-network.
Argentina: Understanding of the space is getting to a good level, though availability of options given trade barriers (government tariffs on the import of services) slows the pace of adoption.
Chile: Even though there’s sophistication [the] market [is] too small to focus key initiatives.
Columbia: Great momentum right now, which should mean the market will leap forward [in] some stages and other markets in the region.
Peru: Investment in the space still too small.

SEARS: On the subject of business models, the best way to describe your company is:

a)Product organization – i.e. you curate a media product for your agencies and advertisers
b)Service organization – i.e. you recommend and manage best practices and best of breed products for your agencies and advertisers
c)Combination of both

ALPERT: We are a service organization, and practices like programmatic are enabling us to change our business model to more performance oriented models.

SEARS: What percentage of your agency or advertiser’s site direct budget (direct orders) has been automated?

a)Less than 10% (of site direct dollars)
d)Over 50%

ALPERT: It is still early days across the region so less than 10 %. We are laying the groundwork for this to accelerate.

SEARS: Which of the following will accelerate the automation of site direct (direct orders) budget? Pick all that apply.

a)Dynamic access to all publisher inventory [vs. just “remnant” or “auction”]
b)Ability to leverage publisher first party data
c)Ability to leverage advertiser first party data [against all publisher inventory, especially premium]
d)Availability of rich media, expandable units and larger IAB Rising Star formats
e)Ability to more easily curate audiences for specific advertisers across the premium content of multiple publishers
f)Yes to all of the above

ALPERT: I think (a), (b) and (e) are the key levers to turn the corner on programmatic in Latin America, though I see us a lot closer to achieving (a) and (b) than (e). With the three available though we could much quicker take this to the next level.

SEARS: Tell us a bit more about you.

SEARS: Who was one of your first mentors as a child?

ALPERT:My swimming then triathlon coach taught me I could accomplish anything with hard work and some inspiration.

SEARS: Money is not a concern. You no longer work in advertising or technology. What would you choose to do for work?

ALPERT: Having started my career in banking, I find advertising to be a lot of fun and highly social. In digital, you have the added benefit of continuously learning. I’m looking to stay in advertising for the foreseeable future. Can’t think of a better place to be.

SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant in the entire world?

ALPERT: iK in Lima, Perú. I look forward to meals in Perú every time I go there. Il Campanu in Cangas de Onis is a close second. Tegui in Argentina, was a recent positive surprise.

Thanks, Matías!

Jay Sears is Senior Vice President, Marketplace Development for the Rubicon Project. Sears workswith leadership and business unit heads across the company to expand Rubicon Project’s potential market. Sears has also served as General Manager, REVV Buyer, where he was responsible for global relations with the buy side including ad holding companies, ad agencies, agency trading desks and demand side platforms headquartered in North America. Jay can be reached at

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