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Accenture poised to further trading desk offering with hire of Trinity Mirror’s adtech chief Amir Malik

Accenture Interactive hopes to offer brands an offering that provides them with more accountability with media trading and data

Accenture Interactive is to step-up its charm offensive on brand-side marketers by drafting in Trinity Mirror’s programmatic chief Amir Malik to help lead its trading desk offering, with the management consultancy poised to further its end-to-end advertising offering, The Drum has learned.

Malik’s impending departure from Trinity Mirror was announced internally last week although it remains unclear as to when he will take up his new position, with senior sources at the Daily Mirror publisher confirming with The Drum that Malik has tendered his resignation.

The Drum contacted Accenture Interactive for comment but it was unable to respond on record by time of publication. Although it is understood he will help Accenture clients devise and implement strategies regarding the use of their first party data, with Accenture already publicly voicing its ambitions of launching in-house client trading desks.

The appointment of a high profile personality such as Malik underlines the extent of Accenture’s ambition in the space. In a statement to The Drum, Malik commented: “I’m delighted to become an employee at Accenture Interactive, I must say my experience has been fantastic at Trinity Mirror and it has been a pleasure to work with such a great group of people.

“An opportunity has come up to join the largest digital agency network around the world and it was hard to turn down. I will continued my work at Trinity Mirror with the fantastic team until I enter Accenture Interactive to work across their incredible portfolio of clients.”

In just under two years at Trinity Mirror, Malik has established himself as a leading personality in the sector, having positioned the national and regional publishers’ programmatic sales team as a pioneer in the UK’s programmatic media trading scene. During this time he and his team helped launch new services to advertisers, such as the licensing of its audience data which brands could then use to engage its audience on third party sites, monetizing inventory on Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages scheme, as well as bolstering revenue through private marketplaces (PMPs) 150% year-over-year.

Accenture’s moves in the agency space

Last week it had been reported that Accenture – a company with a market cap in excess of $70bn – was the takeover target of enterprise software giant Oracle, a move Oracle has since outright denied.

However, the appointment forms part of Accenture’s vision to mature beyond its origins as a management consultancy service to one that includes providing a full-service agency offering that can advise on strategy and develop products, including media trading desks, as well as creative services.

Recently this has included a number of strategic purchases, including taking a majority stake in leading German digital agency SinnerSchrader, and more prominently the acquisition of Karmarama, formerly the largest independent creative agency in the UK, in its bid to offer an agency-like offering.

End-to-end service

Speaking at last week’s Agency Acceleration Day, hosted by The Drum, Joydeep Bhattacharya, Accenture Interactive, managing director, UK, spoke of his outfit’s ambitions to offer brands an end-to-end experience – one he hoped would offer increased accountability – and how he believed the conversations between brands and agencies will change over the next five years.

“Agencies are known for really cutting edge work… consultancies are known for a richness of data and really how to scale things up,” he told attendees.

“AI and robotics will start to become in an integral part of the comms mix and understanding that and where creativity fits is going to be a challenge,” added Bhattacharya.

More calls for transparency

Accenture Interactive’s proposition to help brands better manage their first party data with the potential of in-house media trading desks comes amid heightened cries for increased transparency in the programmatic space, with rising concerns on issues such as ad fraud, among others, within the adtech supply-chain dominating headlines recently.

This was first underlined in 2017 with P&G marketing chief Marc Pritchard addressing attendees at this year’s IAB Annual Leadership Summit over his intentions to review all media agency contracts with the adtech supply chain in 2017.

More recently, transparency concerns on programmatic media buying were further thrown into the spotlight by a series of exposés from The Times that found Google had inadvertently allowed ads from some of the world’s biggest brands and public sector companies to run alongside terrorism, pornography and extremist videos on YouTube.

The blurring line between consultancies and agencies

In an earlier investigation into the increasing interest of management consultancies in the traditional media space, Scott Brinker of Chief Martec explained how they were successfully leveraging their C-suite influence and change management expertise to get a bigger bite of the cherry in the media space.

Danny Hopwood, EMEA vice-president of solutions and platform operations at Publicis Media, added: “Their relationships with chief information officers and chief financial officers are their prized possessions. They’ve come in from a finance angle, helping their client set up IT products and services, which is why, when they make a slight pivot, it’s easy for them to go to the chief information officer and say ‘we can instigate a complete technology change in your marketing business’.”

Additional reporting by Jen Faull and Jessica Goodfellow

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Ronan Shields

I'm the digital editor at The Drum, and cover adtech and martech. Prefer news and analysis, over opinion pieces. Current fascination(s) are blockchain and media futures trading; also curious about transhumanism on a personal basis. NYC-based, but really London Irish.

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