Media & Message: Ten questions for OMG’s Steve Katelman and TBWA’s Colleen Decourcy

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What’s the best compliment you’ve received from a client about your work?

SK: “Hey, that worked great!”

CD: “Working with your team makes my team smarter.”

What is it your peers and/or clients just don’t get about digital advertising?

SK: It’s not all about the click.

CD: The two conversations seem to be data/analytics and campaign extensions. I think we’re missing the larger point that technology and the way it can extend the value of a product or service is a big idea. I suppose “digital” can be just a platform for advertising ideas…but why would you stop there?

What’s the one thing digital advertising needs to address/solve in the next few years?

SK: True measurement.

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CD: Everyone is trying to find the right ad format to engage their audiences. I think content is the killer online engagement and we need to invest in unique ways to deliver and allow people to experience content beyond video views.

Will online campaigns ever make people feel anything?

SK: I would argue that online campaigns especially those using site sound motion do engage people and allow for an emotional connection to be made as this is a lean-in medium.

CD: I think they have to or we don’t have a viable medium. Relevance and distinction are the the two goals of advertising….digital agencies have really been hammering relevance. Advertising is about emotion. Those two things need to find each other.

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What one change would you like to see in the online advertising ecosystem?

SK: I’d like to see more customization & less “standard” execution. True brand integration — let the reach/frequency play be handled by automation.

CD: I’m tired of display. It’s a throw-back to print and television. We shouldn’t have built an online ad industry based on real estate. It stopped us from figuring out how to monetize the more complex things like social and utility and content.

Why is brand advertising online so hard?

SK: Not really sure it is as long as you spend a sufficient amount of time developing the correct KPIs & strategy. The fragmentation can be addressed.

CD: It’s not. It should be the easiest thing. It’s a perfect medium for brand behavior. The answer to the last question is the reason it seems so hard.

What is the most interesting digital program ever?

SK: McDonalds/ Hulu commercial free primetime.

CD: Everything The New York Times has done to their brand online. It’s the news version of itunes to me. It’s the best demonstration of how technology can transform the use of a product and facilitate an expression of brand behavior.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?

SK: Playing lead guitar in Lynyrd Skynyrd

CD: I’d be a war correspondent. Which is basically the same job, but with bullets.

What makes you most proud about your job?

SK: That I get paid for this.

CD: The idea that with technology, we have no standard platform. We don’t just build messaging…we’re creating communications structures. It’s the equivalent of inventing television and the programs that run on it – not once for 50 years of fun, but every day. Every day something new and something to express through it. Every day starts with a blank page. I think that’s true creativity.

Who is the next marketing superstar?

SK: Steve Katelman

CD: No one we know.