Ad Age’s Verizon CMO Rant

Ad Age (sub required) ran a story this week about John Stratton, VP and CMO of Verizon. Reminiscent of Steve Heyer’s Madison and Vine speech, Stratton takes it to the media sellers.

From the article:

“Major money is going to be in motion in the next decade and yet no one really understands exactly where it will and or even if it will land, or just disappear altogether,” John Stratton, VP-chief marketing officer at Verizon Wireless said in a stirring address to 400 marketing, media and content producers at Advertising Age’s Madison & Vine Conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Mr. Stratton, who controls a budget of more than $2 billion, exhorted agencies to take action, saying “Your clients are in trouble. They are looking to you to save them.” He said the ad inventory that has been sold for the last 50 years “no longer works,” and marketers “have started to figure that out.” In the process, “your clients will fire, hire, fire, and hire agency after agency…seeking someone –- anyone! — who can help them perhaps on where to go next.”

“The desire for quality short-form entertainment brings, I believe, our first chance to create something of great value over wireless broadband networks for those of you coming at this from ‘Vine,’” he said. “This means creating content that is uniquely built for this medium.” He cautioned against “simply exporting a dying model to another medium, destroying the chance to build value for advertiser and audience alike.”

Russell Buckey responds: “Verizon CMO Warns Agencies: Gimme All Your Money

“Mr Stratton’s solution is to stop dabbling with online and jump right in. But then hint of his real motivation comes to the fore when he predicted that 25 -30% of the $100 billion annual spend on branded advertising is going to go to the mobile phone channel. And in case you still haven’t caught his drift, Verizon is the second largest network in the US, with 51.3 million subscribers. It’s also currently testing an advertising programme on its network.

Actually, despite his obvious vested interest, Mr Stratton may well be right that mobile marketing will command a huge slug of marketing spend in the future. However, Verizon’s vision currently seems to be restricted to ad-subsidised content – in other words, taking the broken TV model and simply hoping it’ll suddenly work again if you slap it on a mobile.

However, I think that there’s an awful lot more to mobile marketing than running ads on phones to subsidise content. Indeed, in my recent and pretty exhaustive analysis into mobile marketing, I certainty identified a place for it in my IDEA concept – that marketing messages on mobiles must do one of the following: Inform, offer a Deal, Engage or Advertain.”

James at MocoNews also weighs in:

“Russell was unimpressed with a later statement by Stratton, that “ad delivery cannot be personal. It needs to respect the privacy of the individual while connecting them in a more meaningful way with the message we send.” Russ is a big fan of targeted mobile advertising as long as it is opt-in, and I tend to agree with him on that one.”


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About Daniel Davenport

Daniel is a digital media executive with internet and broadcast experience. Daniel is currently the executive strategy director at THINK Interactive.

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