Ad Blocking: Lowe Profero’s Comms Honcho Goes Head-To-Head With Rocket Fuel’s MD

Ad Blocking: Lowe Profero’s Comms Honcho Goes Head-To-Head With Rocket Fuel’s MD

The rage of ad blocking continues, with Phil Ely, APAC head of communications Lowe Profero, going head-to-head with Rocket Fuel’s managing director ANZ, JJ Eastwood.

Niki Waldegrave
Posted by Niki Waldegrave

Ad blocking has been a hot topic of late, with Mike Hill and Dan Hitchcock from Sydney digital agency Holler argiung why the industry should embrace ad blocking technology, and the head of the IAB in the States, Randall Rothenberg promptly declaring it “bullshit” for anyone to dare suggest that.

Here, two more industry heavyweights wade into the debate.

JJ Eastwood, managing director ANZ, Rocket Fuel said: “While there has been a lot of talk recently about ad blockers, the reality is that we aren’t witnessing any impact on the availability of ad impressions on exchanges. In fact, globally we have access to 80 billion impressions a day and that’s up from 50 billion this time last year.

“That being said, things in this industry can change quickly so we are monitoring the adoption of these ad blocking technologies – the question is how prevalent will they become by consumers? Currently users have to actively install the software to make it work. You also have to consider the fact that the companies behind the recent press about ad blocking, are businesses that offer publishers counter solutions, so I think you have to take their claims with a pinch of salt as there may be a bit of self-interested alarmism going on.

“Ultimately, I think as an industry we should focus on making ad-blocking a less important consideration for consumers, by creating ads that load faster, are less intrusive and are more relevant.”

Phil Ely, APAC head of communications Lowe Profero disagrees. He said: “Firstly, I don’t think ad blockers are great for Adland from a number of perspectives. On both the agency and publisher side, massive business models have been developed based on the production and delivery of display advertising. The impact of the rapid growth of ad blockers will probably cause a number of them (the slower to react, more entrenched) to fail.


“There is a lot about ad blockers that I believe are good for our industry. The primary reason being, it will force us all to innovate in our approach, both from a media planning and creative ideation and production perspective.

“Display advertising is pretty easy to roll out. It’s easy to plan and buy (either directly or programatically) and simple to produce at a reasonable level of quality. But in general it makes the internet a messy, cluttered place and on most sites doesn’t help deliver a pleasurable experience. Ad blockers will force us all to do better.

“Video is already growing quickly in terms of percentage of ad spend and techniques to produce quality branded video content are improving. The decline of the display ad through ad blockers will certainly speed this up, and in most cases I think agencies and publishers are ready for it.

“The most exciting thing for me is I see this having a massive impact in the focus on and true commitment to content marketing by brands and marketers. Rather than just slamming a six frame banner with a crafted message that no more than two per cent of people that see it are going to read, we will all have to focus being more effective storytellers.

“Creating interesting content that our audiences want to pay attention to and distributing that in different methods that can still achieve the reach and cost efficiency that we need our advertising to.

“The death of the banner ad is not imminent, the industry will find ways to keep them cluttering up webpages for a long time to come, but their effectiveness is going to continue to decline. We will all be forced to move on from the cut and paste media planning and template driven production processes of the display format, and come up with new and interesting ways to get our message across.”