Accountability in advertising

Fighting words from Gabe Laydon, CEO of Machine Zone, one of the largest buyers of advertising in the world. Definitely will spark a debate between those on all sides of the advertising ecosystem. 

I don't agree with everything he says ... in fact, for some companies, at certain stages in their evolution, brand advertising matters a great deal. However, his call for accountability, traceability and precision in media spend, and in particular the need for trackable ROI, is compelling.

Excerpt below and the full video from the original re/code article.

Do you hate TV ads? Gabe Leydon does, too.

Except, unlike you, Gabe Leydon buys lots of TV ads: He runs Machine Zone, the game company behind all of those Mobile Strike ads with Arnold Schwarzenegger you’ve been seeing for the past few months. And the Kate Upton Game of War ads you saw last year, too.

Leydon buys those ads because he says he has to buy those ads. But he thinks they are terribly inefficient, as is almost all brand advertising: The stuff that Google, Facebook and everyone else on the Web would very much like to move online.

That’s a terrible idea, Leydon told the crowd at Code/Media last week, because almost all brand advertising is nothing more than a slush fund that feeds lazy advertisers, publishers and networks, who want to avoid accountability.

Real advertising, he argues, is the kind he buys for his games on mobile platforms like Facebook, which provide instant, precise accountability for the dollars he spends.

When Leydon laid this out for the Code/Media attendees, he freaked out most of the room — presumably because he was telling most of the room that they needed to get new jobs, stat.

It’s also possible that Leydon’s argument isn’t as strong as he thinks it is, since many advertisers want to sell things that can’t be purchased via your phone the way mobile games are. And that figuring out how to sell that stuff is always going to involve science and art, as MediaLink COO Wenda Harris Millard argued at the end of Leydon’s session.