Amazon’s Coming & It’s Probably NOT Going To Need Aussie Ad Agencies

Amazon’s Coming & It’s Probably NOT Going To Need Aussie Ad Agencies
SHARE
THIS


What best describes you?

In his latest column (dare we say outburst?), B&T’s regular columnist and contrarian, Robert Stohfeldt, says we live in a world of data but few in adland can even scratch the surface. However, he has an ominous warning of Amazon’s pending arrival and its huge (see: we don’t need ad agencies) data in-house capabilities…

Much has been said about Amazon and its impact on not just retail, but business in general. In all the hype, one key point has been overlooked. Yes, they are believers in the power of data, but they have recognised that data scientists won’t be part of the plan.

There is a huge rush to courses teaching data science, but these courses are to genuine data analysis what a first aid course is to a medical degree.

Amazon is employing economists and human behaviourists with PhDs. Why? Science has been using “data” for hundreds of years. But you will not find a “data scientist” in the world of science. Instead you will find scientists, as in zoologists, geologists, chemists, physicists etc. and working alongside them are mathematicians. (Even Einstein, who had a pretty good understanding of maths, needed to work with pure mathematicians.)

A mathematician does not need to understand consumer behaviour. They work in a team with an expert in this area.

Statistics is applied mathematics – in particular, calculus and linear algebra. For all those people rushing to data science courses, you are really learning to be a glorified data entry operator.

Unless you did advanced maths at high school and continued with pure and statistical mathematics at university, you are just scratching the surface. Learning enough to be dangerous. Statistics is not statistical mathematics. A question for the “data scientists” out there. How do you explain i? (The square root of minus one) and complex numbers or eigenvalues. They didn’t teach you that in your data science course? How about a tangent to an affine plane? Basic calculus will teach you about the importance of the tangent line in differentiation. But that is only two dimensional. You will be dealing with multiple variables, hence the need for matrixes and finding a tangent to a plane of numerous dimensions. If all of this sounds like gobbledygook, then move onto something you understand and leave data well alone.

And off the shelf algorithms won’t be the answer. Every situation is different. You will need to be able to work out the Probability Density Function (PDF) from scratch, not just make an assumption the data fits a pre-determined computer model. Then you will need a computer programmer, not just some coding cowboy, who can write the programme for the raw data to be fed into.

Mathematicians don’t understand human behaviour. Nor do they need to. They work in a team with people who understand human behaviour – one does the maths, the other interprets the results.

Our industry has been suckered by the Google, Facebook duopoly because fooling the media agencies with numbers is like the old “taking candy from a baby”. I have sat through any number of presentations by the big media shops as they show off their proprietary analytical tools, which to be diplomatic, are total garbage that could be pulled apart by a 1st year university maths student.

We now have the media dominated by this duopoly who have used media agencies as an entrée to clients. They will be (already are) cutting you out of the relationship. No one needs a middleman these days.

I have yet to meet one person in media who has studied mathematics at university. (There may be one or two out there and if they are, they will understand what I am getting at).

Amazon won’t need ad agencies. They will do all their work in-house. They may engage specialist consultants on occasions, but these people will not be from the advertising industry.

Predicting the future has always inexact. It is fair to look at the past to predict the future, but in so many instances, something pops up out of left field (something no one could have predicted, such as 9/11) which changes everything.

Advertising has become obsessed with technology and in many ways, that is fair, as we live in a world not only dominated by technology, but one in which the speed of progress keeps accelerating. How do we future proof ourselves?

Probably the most important thing I learned from a mathematics degree is that creativity cannot be formularised. Yes, there are people spending huge amounts of time and money trying to get AI to act creatively. Even the term Artificial Intelligence is misleading. People interpret it literally. Somewhere along the line we went from calling them computers to AI, resulting in the perception they think. Well they do not. Machine learning has come a long way, but a computer (AI) can only solve a problem is it programmed to do so. If a person cannot work out how to solve a problem, there is not a computer in the world that can it do for them.

Creative thought is something AI cannot do and the day they are able to, well it will probably mark the end of civilisation. Making a machine that is smarter than us and knows we are a threat to it is not a very smart evolutionary move. (Though many neurologists argue this day will never come due to the basic differences in the working of a human brain and even the most powerful computers.).

Stick to jobs that require creative thinking, as opposed to the repetitive and formularised and you will always be needed. The move to data scientists and letting the foxes into the hen house (Google & Facebook) is edging advertising closer and closer to extinction.

Hopefully you won’t have to explain to your grandchildren what an advertising agency was.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

ABC Replaces Lateline With New 10.30pm National News Bulletin
  • Media

ABC Replaces Lateline With New 10.30pm National News Bulletin

The ABC has announced it will replace its axed current affairs program Lateline with a half-hour news bulletin to be hosted by seasoned presenter Jeremy Fernandez. The 30-minute late-night edition news will air Monday-to-Friday Australia-wide from 29 January. Fernandez will also continue to present the NSW 7pm News on Fridays and Saturdays. ABC Director, News Gaven […]

On Air sign in a studio broadcasting via radio, podcast or wireless transmission.
  • Media

ARN Announces Departure Of Content Director & Radio Veteran

Australian Radio Network (ARN) has announced that Charlie Fox, content Director for WSFM and The Edge, and WSFM morning announcer Ron E Sparks, have departed. Fox has been with ARN since 2005, and Sparks joined WSFM in 2002. ARN national content director Duncan Campbell said the departure of Fox and Sparks are part of the […]

OMD Announces New MD For Melbourne
  • Media

OMD Announces New MD For Melbourne

OMD unveils new Melbourne MD, and it certainly wasn't among any of B&T's picks. Not that we were picking, mind you.

Sydney Festival Chooses Brightcove To Enhance Online Video Content
  • Media

Sydney Festival Chooses Brightcove To Enhance Online Video Content

Video cloud service Brightcove has announced that Sydney Festival has selected the platform to improve its user experience through online video content. Brightcove will do so by removing third-party branding and pre-roll ads, as well as adding autoplay functionality, ahead of the event in January. Leveraging the Brightcove video platform to host and publish video […]

Does Your Christmas Marketing Suck?
  • Opinion

Does Your Christmas Marketing Suck?

Remember the old Palmolive soap ad that asked, "Don't wait to be told"? This is sort of similar, albeit sans any suds.

Opinion

by Peter Harris

Peter Harris
Queensland Anti-Porn Crusaders Cop Ad Ban
  • Campaigns

Queensland Anti-Porn Crusaders Cop Ad Ban

We have a strident anti-pornography policy at B&T. Earphones must be worn at all times and strictly no little people.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Nature’s Way Celebrates Big Things Little People Do In UCG Videos Via Wavemaker & Storyful
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Nature’s Way Celebrates Big Things Little People Do In UCG Videos Via Wavemaker & Storyful

Health and wellbeing company Nature’s Way is celebrating the achievements of kids in a series of relatable and entertaining online videos that tug at the heart strings of parents. Instead of using actors to tell the brand story of Nature’s Way’s Kids Smart supplement range, Storyful has helped Wavemaker to license user-generated content clips of […]

DEC PR Wins Hisense Account
  • Marketing

DEC PR Wins Hisense Account

Electronics and whitegoods specialist Hisense has announced it has appointed DEC PR to lead its strategic communications remit in the local market, following a competitive tender process. DEC PR will work to support its brand building activities and managing corporate communications. The agency’s work will integrate closely with Hisense’s other marketing partners. Andre Iannuzzi, marketing […]

QMS Media Expands Presence In Melbourne With New Digital Billboard ‘The G’
  • Advertising
  • Media

QMS Media Expands Presence In Melbourne With New Digital Billboard ‘The G’

Outdoor media company QMS Media has strengthened its digital outdoor presence in Victoria, unveiling an iconic digital billboard in the heart of Melbourne’s famous sporting precinct. The launch of ‘The G’ sees QMS’ landmark digital portfolio ‘bookending’ arguably one of the most iconic and in-demand digital outdoor locations in Australia – Richmond Station Bridge – […]

HSBC Sydney 7s Creates New Visual Identity For 2018 Via Digilante
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

HSBC Sydney 7s Creates New Visual Identity For 2018 Via Digilante

As part of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the Sydney 7s event returns in January complete with a new brand identity, creative strategy and media campaign. With the 2017 Sydney 7s a sell-out event, the challenge for 2018 was to carry that momentum into the third year, defining Sydney’s place as the new ‘go-to’ […]

Bound Round Launches Family Travel Publication for Aussies
  • Media

Bound Round Launches Family Travel Publication for Aussies

Family travel platform Bound Round has announced the launch of its first e-magazine to Australian consumers. Travel Bound is a family-focused, digital quarterly publication available on all Virgin Australia flights through the carrier’s in-flight entertainment system, and is also available for consumer download via the Bound Round website. Bound Round founder and CEO Janeece Keller […]

SBS Unveils New Look, New App For SBS News
  • Media

SBS Unveils New Look, New App For SBS News

Do you like say "I only watch SBS" in an attempt to sound smarter than you are? Well, why not pretend to read this too?

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-Samsung CMO Joins Amazon Australia As Marketing Director
  • Marketing

Ex-Samsung CMO Joins Amazon Australia As Marketing Director

Amazon Australia has appointed former Samsung Electronics chief marketing officer (CMO) Arno Lenior to lead its marketing division. Lenior worked as Samsung’s CMO for more than three years before departing in 2015. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has also held CEO roles at VR company Virtical and brand consultancy Blue Ocean Brands, and joined […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
News Corp Names Its Car Of The Year
  • Marketing

News Corp Names Its Car Of The Year

News announces its annual Car Of The Year and it's not what you'd expect. Well, we certainly didn't expect it anyway.

Aussie Tennis Open & Country Road Announce New Partnership
  • Marketing

Aussie Tennis Open & Country Road Announce New Partnership

The Australian Open has partnered with iconic Australian clothing and lifestyle brand Country Road to supply the uniforms for next year’s tournament. Confirmed today as the official fashion lifestyle Partner of Australian Open 2018, one of Australia’s most loved brands will be worn by thousands of tournament staff at Melbourne Park in January. On-court officials including the chair and […]

Andrew O’Keefe Quits His Weekend Sunrise Duties
  • Media

Andrew O’Keefe Quits His Weekend Sunrise Duties

After 12 years with Weekend Sunrise, Andrew O’Keefe has decided to step away from his hosting and reporting duties. O’Keefe will continue his full-time role as host of Seven’s quiz show The Chase Australia, as well as focus on other projects with the Network. “The ideal job is doing work you love with people you love,” O’Keefe […]

Study: Brand Loyalty Hinges On Customer Support Experiences
  • Marketing

Study: Brand Loyalty Hinges On Customer Support Experiences

Fast and effective support will be a competitive differentiator for companies looking to win over digitally transformed customers and employees, new research has revealed. According to a study by IDC and LogMeIn titled Support Services as a Competitive Differentiator, nearly 67 per cent of consumers said that customer satisfaction was more important than price when […]

OMA Appoints Red Ant Design To Build Industry’s First Automated Proposal Platform
  • Advertising
  • Media

OMA Appoints Red Ant Design To Build Industry’s First Automated Proposal Platform

The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) has announced the appointment of Red Ant Design to build the out-oh-home (OOH) industry’s first automated proposal platform (APP). After an extensive global search and industry consultation, the decision to build the system in-house with a local Australian company was made. The APP will be built in an agile process, […]