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Nestlé digital lead urges network agencies to 'get your cheque books out' to compete with specialist programmatic firms on skills


By Jessica Davies, News Editor

March 24, 2015 | 3 min read

Network agencies must dig deeper to attract the best skilled people in programmatic trading if they are to successfully compete with the independent firms, according to Nestlé’s digital lead Gawain Owen.


Speaking on Tubemogul's ‘Walled Garden’ panel at Ad Week Europe, hosted by The Drum Works’ managing director Justin Pearse, Owen called for network agencies to "get your cheque books out" to secure the right people for those roles to help brands navigate programmatic trading, adding “we pay you fair fees”.

His comments were triggered by a statement made by Walker Media managing director Steve Butcher, who spoke of the challenges in finding programmatic talent.

However, Owen said that if network agencies are to remain competitive with independent, specialist trade desks such as Infectious Media, then they must be willing to pay the money to secure the right talent.

“If you want these network agencies to be as good as the likes of Infectious Media and other independents then you need people who are as skilled as a specialist programmatic company within the agencies, to help educate the clients or we will all make mistakes and say that programmatic is the worst thing we have ever done," he said.

Owen added that the benefits of programmatic had potentially been oversold by network agencies initially. "They had investments in certian DSPs and SSPs so it was in their interest to oversell programmatic and the benefits of it."

Carat's global chief digital officer Anthony Rhind, added: "Programmatic is a label that has become fashionable becuase we wanted to get away from the ad exchange label which had become toxic, and unfortuantely programmatic is becoming toxic so we are therefore moving into terms like omnichannel and other lingo, which is just trying to find a better label. We need to go back to data driven approach that talks about design and distribubtion ad using the available systems to do it."

Meanwhile Owen later referred to the ongoing issue of viewability within the media trading landscape, and said that as long as the inventory is quality, it is willing to pay more.

“There has to be a value exchange, we want good quality inventory that is seen by human beings, and we are willing to pay more for that inventory. Programmatic was seen as a race to the bottom – it’s not – it’s about credible inventory," he added.

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