Q&A: Publicis' VivaKi Global on Automation, Programmatic and TV

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
Cover image for  article: Q&A: Publicis' VivaKi Global on Automation, Programmatic and TV

Jay Sears, Senior Vice President Marketplace Development of Rubicon Project discusses "Automation, Programmatic and TV" with Stephan Beringer of Publicis' VivaKi. The two executives appeared at Rubicon Project's 3rd Annual Automated Advertising Panel at Cannes in June 2015.

In the photo above, Jay Sears of Rubicon Project (far left), Arun Kumar of IPG's Cadreon, Stephan Beringer of Publicis' VivaKi, Ashwini Karandikar of Dentsu Aegis Network's Amnet, Adam Shlachter of Digitas and Lou Paskalis of Bank of America discuss ad automation issues of the day in Cannes, France.

Be sure to read Jay's previous interviews with Kumar, Schlachterand Paskalis.

Your Name:Stephan Beringer

Your Company:VivaKi

Your Title:CEO, VOS (VivaKi Operating System)

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with politics, art and culture?

BERINGER:I read newspapers, magazines, books, billboards, email alerts, flyers, postcards, graffiti … I have my routines and keep my eyes open for any information that might come to me in unexpected ways.

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with friends?

BERINGER:Not so much really, other than network updates. When it comes to friends, I prefer meeting in person or making phone calls.

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with our industry?

BERINGER:A lot and still not enough. Communication with clients, colleagues, partners, etc., probably beats all lectures.

SEARS: What's your favorite commercial of all time?

BERINGER:I have a couple, and the usual suspects typically include Budweiser's original Whassup commercial.

SEARS: With regards to advertising automation and programmatic, what are VivaKi's three biggest company-wide initiatives in 2015?


  1. Growing Publicis Groupe's Programmatic Footprint

At the end of last year, we moved programmatic buying into the media agencies and shifted our approach to focus more on programmatic, data and tech strategies and solutions. With campaign activation sitting at the agency/brand level (where they have more influence on the overall media plan) it frees VivaKi up to focus on designing data/tech infrastructures, doing programmatic consulting, training and education, advanced analytics and building out unique programmatic solutions that solve our clients' challenges.

  1. Accelerating Adoption of Always On

Since our partnership with Adobe was announced at the end of 2014, we've been working to build out unique solutions that seamlessly stitch together Publicis Groupe expertise with Adobe's Marketing Cloud solutions. We've made enormous progress and the demand is going through the roof so here again, education, training and recruiting are key while we also innovate on the solution itself.

  1. Automation and Workflows

With the recent changes at VivaKi, we are in the process of creating a new operating model that stitches together multi-agency services, technologies and workflows to the benefits of our clients. One of our big goals this year is to effectively bring together marketing tech, data, creativity and strategy so that we eliminate silos. This will help us optimize delivery and maximize our investments in ad budgets, talent and consumer engagement.

SEARS: On average companywide (globally) -- out of each $1.00 spent on media (all media, not just digital) by one of your advertisers, how much today (in 2015) is spent on automated or programmatic channels?


SEARS: What will this number be in 2017?

BERINGER:It's hard to predict for 2017 but we know it's going to be a huge uptick -- particularly across Publicis Groupe clients, now that programmatic expertise is sitting closer to the core media teams.

SEARS: Tell us the about the global advertising operations of VivaKi.

BERINGER: VivaKi is the programmatic center of excellence. We serve as a hub and node model that helps scale Publicis Groupe's paid media, ad tech and data power in a way that benefits our clients and grows their brands. We create operational efficiencies, coordinate partner/media agreements, provide programmatic expertise and consulting, training and education, advanced analytics, vendor verification, performance/quality offerings (e.g. Quality Index, Real-Time Auditing) and more.

SEARS: How many employees are there in your organization?

BERINGER: 205 globally

SEARS: Draw an analogy between the automation of television and a European football game. Are we in the pre-game? Still driving to the stadium?

BERINGER: I'd say that we've just arrived at the stadium and are waiting for the opposing team to show up. There's one team that's on the practice field. They have some skills, but are still perfecting their performance for this high energy, fast-paced sport.  On top of that, the referees have locked up the balls (i.e. the set-top box data), so we are lacking the necessary equipment to play the game.

SEARS: How can advertising automation help the strategy and planning functions (directly or indirectly) at an advertising agency?

BERINGER:Advertising automation is a powerful tool in reaching the consumer at the right time and place of their journey with the right message. Today, we have companies who are changing the way we have conversations with consumers like Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce. The richness of data in the industry now means that we can couple these insights with their market-leading offerings to pinpoint when and where a person might be most receptive to messaging. The right data plus technology means that we can now anticipate what the consumer needs before they even know that they need it.

SEARS: Can linear TV be automated, yes or no?

BERINGER:Yes, to some degree. A small fraction of TV inventory is available to be sold programmatically, but we are still a long way off from establishing a truly addressable system for TV. What we really need to do is unlock the data and solve for the proper delivery mechanism.

At VivaKi we have a lot of experience working with VOD and connected TV and are trying to apply some of those learnings to the linear TV space. We have a number of offerings we're developing right now that will help us reach audiences and continue the conversation as they move from online to offline viewing.

SEARS: What two or three events or happenings will accelerate the automation of television?


  1. Greater access to set-top box data
  2. Better media infrastructure for seamless delivery of relevant inventory
  3. Moving beyond the cookie -- ability to map personal ID across devices

SEARS: Transparency -- on media costs, on data, on inventory -- has become a lightning rod issue. Should transparency be a negotiated benefit for the advertiser client, yes or no?

BERINGER:No, transparency should not be a negotiated benefit. It should be something that should be demonstrated and delivered -- without question -- in each and every media plan.

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

  1. Dynamic access to all publisher inventory [vs. just "remnant" or "auction"]
  2. Ability to leverage publisher first party data
  3. Ability to leverage advertiser first party data [against all publisher inventory, especially premium]
  4. Availability of rich media, expandable units and larger IAB Rising Star formats
  5. Ability to more easily curate audiences for specific advertisers across the premium content of multiple publishers
  6. All of the above

BERINGER:All of the above. It's important to note that technology and access to more data will make us smarter about our placements. We continue to see the evolution publishers and even bundled groups of publishers make all their inventory available via programmatic pipes.  But how we determine whether or not to buy direct will depend on the broader media plan.  For Publicis Groupe, programmatic is now more ingrained than ever in the overarching media strategy. We can stop referring to it as a separate channel.

SEARS: If you could go to the airport right now with friends or family and fly anywhere in the world for vacation, who would you take and where would you go?

BERINGER: I would fly to a nice place together with good friends and my family.

SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?

BERINGER:It's a very small pizza joint in Rome I have been going to since approximately 1977 or so.

SEARS: Thanks, Stephan!

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