Today’s word of the week is transparency, which comes in all kinds of different flavors. Bleacher Report has a show on Snapchat — but you can’t watch it in the States. Verizon is gobbling up content companies — but can’t guarantee itself an audience. There’s nothing technically illegal about rebates — but clients end up holding the bag for four or five times what they should. And MasterCard is working to establish primacy — but they won’t tell anyone how.
If you missed these stories in Digiday, they’re still new to you. Here’s the week that was:
I want my Snapchat TV
Bleacher Report and digital football network Copa90 have come together to create their first Snapchat Discover weekly TV show, reports resident footie expert Jessica Davies.
“Saturdays are Lit” runs at 11 a.m. GMT Saturdays on Bleacher Report’s Snapchat Discover channel, which has been live for 18 months. Don’t look for it in the U.S., though. Despite Bleacher Report’s American roots, its Discover channel is available everywhere except the U.S. and Australia, for now.
The aim: to reinvent the traditional notion of a Saturday morning football show, suitable for 14- to 24-year-old sports fans.
“We thought about the football shows we grew up on and wanted to figure out what the equivalent is now for young football mega fans, who are consuming media on their phones and on Snapchat,” said Bleacher Report’s director of international operations, James Grigg.
But I’ll pass on my Verizon TV for now
In gobbling up Yahoo, and AOL before it, Verizon is building on a history of telecom companies getting into the content business. But the history of such deals is … complicated.
It’s hard to combine two radically different DNAs, build a publishing arm from scratch and change consumer habits, reports Lucia Moses. When you have different businesses, it can be difficult to optimally own both, Pivotal’s Brian Wieser told her. “And the smaller one tends to lose out.” But with AOL and Yahoo, Verizon may have a shot because they come with already-established content and audiences.
Unshocking shocking quote of the week:
“In Europe, rebates are fine, and it’s not always illegal in the U.S. — there’s no law prohibiting you from having discounts or loyalty programs. The problem is that it’s easy for the five holding groups to shovel money and their clients may end up paying four or five times more than what they are supposed to. Nothing is transparent and clear — you have no idea how much should be charged.”
This was said to our intrepid ad tech reporter Yuyu Chen by an anonymous ad tech veteran in a “Confessions” interview. There was plenty more dirt to go around.
Bottoms … down?
Drinking is an important part of British culture, and by extension, advertising and media culture. But for all the talk of improving diversity and driving out “inclusivity” in the industry, the pressure to drink heavily — whether in entertaining clients or bonding with colleagues — can be intense. Jess Davies had an mini expose this week on how the U.K.’s drinking culture drives the digital media industry — and what some agencies are doing to combat the phenomenon:
“There’s certainly a pressure to drink, and an immediate assumption that something’s ‘wrong’ with you if you don’t want to drink,” said an agency marketing director who preferred to remain anonymous. “Someone looked at me a few weeks ago when I was abstaining and said, ‘Come on, you’re better than that,’ as if choosing a soft drink constitutes weakness.”
Walk a mile in her shoes
Spend an hour in the day of the life of Anna Pickard, the woman behind Slack’s whimsical voice.
10:30 a.m.: I get a reminder to finish off editing some iOS release notes being submitted to the App Store today. My creative/chaotic brain is great for what I do, but horrible at organizing me, so project managers have got used to setting me reminders for just about everything.
11:00 a.m.: I do my workshop on Slack’s voice and tone for a class of new hires. While everyone’s not going to be writing externally, it’s so important we remain human in everything we say and do. The culture turned inward makes the product, the culture turned outward makes the brand.
11:30 a.m.: Californians eat lunch at a ridiculous time. It’s basically breakfast. The cult of the food truck is strong here, and by 11.45 a.m. the line for Filipino fusion burritos is 50 people long — at least 40 of them are my colleagues.
Feel like you’re missing something? Well, there’s only 23 more hours in her day.
MasterCard on the ANA findings: Priceless
In the wake of the Association of National Advertisers much-publicized report about agency media-buying practices in the U.S. this summer, marketers seem to finally be waking up to the issue of transparency. Several brands — including J.P. Morgan Chase, General Electric and Sears — are reportedly halting media budgets and conducting outside audits, as reported by Business Insider and The Wall Street Journal.
MasterCard is being a little more coy about its approach. Digiday caught up with Ben Jankowski, MasterCard’s svp of global media. Here are two questions from a longer interview:
What is MasterCard doing to establish primacy? Renegotiating contracts? Hiring auditors?
A lot of marketers, like J.P. Morgan Chase, have publicly stated what they’re doing, but we’re not going to. It’s not in anybody’s best interests. We rely on our agencies, they’re good partners, and we work together. I don’t see any value in talking about it, and we’re not going to give specifics on that, because it’s a touchy issue and not fair to our partners.
So you are making changes, just not talking about it?
MasterCard supports the ANA’s findings. As a regular course of implementing our checks and balances, we do financial audits of our agencies all the time. We’ve been doing it for years. We’ll continue to do that. I can’t imagine there’s a marketer out there that isn’t doing some kind of an audit. The opportunity is there to get audit rights and dig deeper to find some of the stuff that K2 has found evidence of.
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