“I Would Not Want To Be Running A Creative Agency Right Now”: MediaCom Boss

“I Would Not Want To Be Running A Creative Agency Right Now”: MediaCom Boss
SHARE
THIS



MediaCom’s new(ish) CEO Sean Seamer believes creative agencies whose bread and butter business is expensive 30-second TVCs have a grim future in this tech-centric, data-heavy mobile world.

The problem, Seamer told B&T in a wide-ranging interview, is that there’s simply no margins in making costly ads for the telly networks anymore.

“I would not want to be running a creative agency right now because the core of my business, the TVCs that I built the agency on the back of, are becoming less important to consumers and to clients and it’s become an extremely low margin business, they simply don’t have scale,” said Seamer who was elevated to MediaCom boss in October.

“Scale is going to become so much more important particularly as content becomes more and more short form. Creative agencies have no scale, they have no data, they have no tech strategy… and if you’re looking at where the industry is going in the next five years it is these agencies who will need to ask themselves, ‘Well, what have I got?’” he said.

Seamer admitted it was a controversial viewpoint and added that everyone was now doing creative including his very own MediaCom who’s ditched straight buying and now go by the moniker of a “content and connections” agency.

Another problem Seamer said was that a lot of agencies were outsourcing their tech to the likes of Google, Adobe or Oracle and “they’re just going to have the rug pulled out from under them because they don’t own the tech stack”.

Not that the planning/buying side of the industry isn’t without its problems, too. Many insiders argue that margins are now so tight in buying that the agencies have been forced to add a creative element for clients to make up dollar shortfalls.

“Sure, there are problems in media planning and buying,” Seamer agreed, “and, yes, it has to become more efficient and we will do that through programmatic and automation and that is happening.

“We as GroupM/WPP have to go through that transformation because of the investments that we have been making in technology. And it’s not just programmatic, that’s the easy answer. For us it’s about being much less of an agency and much more of being a genuine solutions provider whether that’s in data, in technology, in content; we’ll be focused on solutions and that means delivering genuine value back to clients. It’s a classic Rob Norman (GroupM’s global chief digital officer) quote, ‘We have no interest in being the tallest pygmy’”.

Seamer is MediaCom’s first CEO since the misreporting scandals of late 2014 and doesn’t believe his elevation to the top job was some sort of poisoned chalice after the ensuing firestorm cost the agency a number of its top-flight clients. In an interesting twist, Seamer believes MediaCom took the fall for an issue – inflated TV ratings, unreturned credits, client overcharging – that was widespread throughout the entire industry.

“I think we became the poster child last year for the whole industry. Was it fair or unfair? There’s no use complaining. I think we all know we just have to move on,” he said.

“And to be honest the senior management at GroupM handled it very, very well.  The senior management were very transparent, they engaged the press, they explained exactly what was going on.

“Yes, we lost some clients last year but we had a lot more stick by us and stay and they’ve stuck by us because of the people in the business. But at the same time I acknowledge wholeheartedly that we have a perception issue from a client point of view and an employee point of view. The only way to improve that is to make sure our people buy into the new direction of the agency, that we have a strong culture and a sense of self and a strong belief.”

Please login with linkedin to comment

Advertising Standards Bureau agency Criteo Deepend gift buddy

Latest News

Trapeze artists flying in the blue sky
  • Media

What It Takes To Help Build Brand Trust Online In 2021

By Suzanne Mitchell, Senior Director of Marketing at GoDaddy Australia As 2021 dawns in Australia, it does so with greater stability and hope for businesses and individuals than since the pandemic intensified locally last March. The Covid-induced digital transformation boom has created, in its wake, a hyper-individualised world whereby audiences have more control over what, […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Mumpower Launches Inaugural ‘Vote On Purpose’ Australian Business Awards 2021
  • Uncategorised

Mumpower Launches Inaugural ‘Vote On Purpose’ Australian Business Awards 2021

To celebrate brands going “above and beyond to act with purpose”, Mumpower has announced its first-ever consumer choice awards. The ‘Vote on Purpose’ Australian Business Award 2021 aims to crown Australia’s favourite purpose-driven company, with Mumpower now calling on both corporations and Mum shoppers to nominate a value-led company or a specific brand campaign that […]

Stan Sport Subscription Price Revealed
  • Media

Stan Sport Subscription Price Revealed

Sports fans will have to pay $10 a month to sign up for Stan Sport when it launches later this year, according to reports. The Nine-owned Sydney Morning Herald, is today reporting that Stan (also owned by Nine) will offer Stan Sport as a supplementary service, meaning fans must also have a subscription to Stan’s […]

Sitecore Secures US$1.2B In Funding
  • Technology

Sitecore Secures US$1.2B In Funding

Sitecore has secured $US1.2 billion in funding. Said to be prioritising internal chocolate river and flying elevator.

Shutterstock Reveals Visual Trends 2021
  • Media

Shutterstock Reveals Visual Trends 2021

Global creative platform Shutterstock has launched the 10th anniversary edition of its annual Creative Trends Report, highlighting the trends that will inspire creative expression and ingenuity in 2021. Announcing the report, Shutterstock creative director Flo Lau said that, after the year that was, the company was encouraged by the “positivity, originality, and resilience displayed by […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Major US Networks ‘Boycott’ Trump Farewell Address
  • Media

Major US Networks ‘Boycott’ Trump Farewell Address

Outgoing and twice impeached President Donald Trump released a pre-recorded farewell as he departed Washington. But many of the US’ major networks didn’t show it. Trump was banned from Facebook and Twitter in the wake of his supporters’ attack on the US Capitol on 6 January. His personal account on YouTube has also been suspended […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Stock close up image showing a “subscribe” button on a website with hand shaped cursor
  • Media

Facebook Journalism Program Helps News Publishers Find New Subscribers

New data from Facebook shows that an initiative aimed at supporting local news publishers is showing early signs of success. Australian and New Zealand publishers participating in the Facebook Journalism Project’s Reader Revenue Accelerator in 2019 and through 2020 secured more than 24,000 new paying subscribers and more than 160,000 new loyal readers (whether through […]