Hispanic Summit: Omnicom Boutique Chief Sees Ad Biz ‘Headed Into a Reckoning’

Hearts & Science execs tackle how task of reaching Hispanic viewers mirrors macro challenges

Complete Coverage: NYC TV & Video Week

Scott Hagedorn, CEO of the just-formed Omnicom-owned agency Hearts & Science, offered attendees of the Hispanic TV Summit a strong cup of coffee to start the day.

“Advertising and marketing is headed into a reckoning that mass will not work anymore,” he said during the opening keynote session of the 14th annual conference, which was presented by B&C and Multichannel News as the capstone of NYC Television & Video Week.

“People’s relationship with their phone, and the utility value they expect out of apps, will render advertising as we now know it insignificant,” Hagedorn continued.

At this point, moderator Mark Robichaux, editorial director of B&C and MCN, noted, “That’s some strong language.”

Hagedorn, whose firm launched in early 2016 after winning massive Procter & Gamble and AT&T accounts, did not disagree. But he cited survey data that about 83% of Americans say they sleep with their phones. “It’s strong language, but it’s reality,” he said. “Think of your relationship with Uber, Spotify, Seamless Web, any of the apps you have on your phone. And then think of a 30-second spot or a 15-second ad playing on broadcast television. … And then jump down a couple of generations to consumers who have grown up with apps. Advertising’s future is going to have to be acculturated, native, in-app. It’s going to have to be tailored. And that’s not the world most marketers live in right now.”

Jose Bello, senior director of total market for Hearts & Science, said the question of relevance applies not only to the broader landscape, but also to the Hispanic space.

“I want to feel like brands are talking to me, that they know me,” he said. “Right now, the technology offers ways to leverage data to do that. Also, semantics are very important to me. People don’t watch TV; they watch the content that’s on TV.”

Fine-tuning ads to make them relevant isn’t always a high-tech undertaking, Bello emphasized. He said attention to even the analog details is crucial. “I’m very picky. If I see an ad with a typo or a bad translation in Spanish, that turns me off completely,” he said. “So it’s not that, oh, a customer speaks Spanish and so you speak to them in Spanish. You have to do it right, with the right people and the right skill sets.”

Prompted by an audience question, Robichaux asked Hagedorn how Hearts & Sciences uses data, and what their “go-to” form of it is. He said that two years ago he led a $15 million investment in creating a massive database offering census-level, global data on Internet use that is updated every six minutes. “We overlaid that with raw clickstream data from a couple of different providers, so without a cookie we’re able to see how people search for stuff and then where they go afterward,” he said. “You can understand what cohort or segment they belong to.”