Madison Ave on iPad: Whatever
What do Madison Avenue bigs think of Apple’s iPad? We all know Wall Street, Medialand and Apple fans on Main Street love it, but does the subscription media play offer much excitement for advertisers? I got a resounding no from the panelists who joined me at the Broadcasting & Cable’s Upfront Summit, April 6.When asked whether it’s a game changer, the top agency executives who included: top GM buyer Mike Rosen; Magna president, Elizabeth Herbst-Brady; MEC’s MD Gibbs Haljun and TargetCast’s Gary Carr were distinctly underwhelmed. “Just another platform,” said Herbst-Brady, while Rosen suggested that it’s easy to get caught up with things that impact “the next three months versus the next three years.”
When asked about the strength of the auto market, Rosen, who is President Investment and Activation for the auto giant at Starcom MediaVest Group, also talked about the great buying opportunities in local. “We created our own bargains,” he said, referring to the extent of the auto pull back on station’s overall businesses.
Speaking on the topic of big events, Rosen said GM’s pullback there wasn’t entirely a result of cost saving. He said the company was focused on more targeted, strategic ad buys. “Technology allows us to take waste out of the equation,” but he added: “Cable, broadcast and local can all get better than that.”
Another topic raised at the cocktails after, is the prospect of Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi-Co joining together to buy TV airtime this upfront. Ad Age first reported the news. Some of the sales execs said they were surprised by the news and had no warning of it from either corporation. The first thing some execs did was to check out the legality of such a venture. As long as the two firms stay under a 70% threshold of the drinks marketplace, then they’re OK.
Still, sales side execs are scratching their heads about how it will work in practice and wonder if the venture might have more to do with operational savings rather than TV savings. One exec suggested that there have been rumors of the demise of Anheuser-Busch’s own in-house media buying operation ever since they were taken over by Belgian brewer InBev. Could this JV be a step towards that with perhaps OMD taking over for A-B?
As for upfront posturing, much as I tried, nobody wanted to vamp for me. The agency verdict is that things will be better than last year, but budgets won’t be in for a while. Arlene Manos, president ad sales Rainbow, which sponsored the event, said the market was cautiously optimistic about this year’s upfront marketplace and that folks were realistic about their expectations.
In a keynote address, Microsoft’s VP advertising sales Keith Lorizio discussed the prospect of X-Box becoming a competitor to TV given its Nielsen-rated show, 1-100, which can be played across the globe. While the show has concluded, there’s no doubt Microsoft wants to target the ad community with interactive TV opportunities in a much more serious way. The days of shrink-wrapped software providing all the growth are over.