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‘We have to course correct’: 4A’s Nancy Hill blames lack of education for messy digital media landscape

Anyone who works in digital media knows that the past few years haven’t exactly been a walk in the park. Disagreements over viewability standards, the ongoing media transparency debacle and the issue of ad fraud have all fostered an environment of distrust within the digital advertising ecosystem.

Nancy Hill, president and CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), thinks that part of the reason why the industry has gotten itself into this mess is because of a lack of education. Speaking with Beet.TV at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in Florida, Hill said that the advertising community needs to do a better job of educating one another.

“I think one of the things that happened was that digital just got away from everybody,” she told Beet.TV. “Those of us who lived in the digital world just said ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, trust me, it’s going to be fine,’ because we all understood it. But I don’t think we did a good enough job of bringing the clients along with us and I think that’s something that in hindsight we could have done a better job of, but now we have to course correct and make sure that they understand what we understand.”

Yet Hill remains hopeful for the future of advertising. Calling herself an “eternal optimist,” Hill – who is stepping down from her role this June –said she thinks that the industry is “in a really good place right now.”

“I think we came through a really tough time the last two years of really feeling, especially from the agency community, a little bit beaten up,” she said. “But I think people now, after having multiple, very honest discussions with their clients, feel like they’re in a good place and that they really know how to move forward in the relationship. So I think you’re about to see the dawn of a new era of creativity.”

During the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard outlined the company’s plans to fight ad fraud, review media agency contracts and adopt industry wide viewability metrics.

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Minda Smiley

Minda Smiley is a reporter at The Drum covering creativity and advertising. Based in Philadelphia, she oversees creativity coverage in North & South America and runs The Drum’s weekly “US Creative Works” roundup. During her time at The Drum, she has covered industry events including SXSW, ANA Masters of Marketing, 4A’s Transformation and C2 Montréal and has interviewed dozens of creatives for The Drum’s “What does it take to be a great creative?” video series.

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