Dentsu Aegis Puts Merkle And Accordant To Work; Snap's Innovation Struggles

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Another Day, Another Data Play

Dentsu Aegis is wasting no time with its shiny new agencies, Merkle and Accordant. Carat US CEO Doug Ray will be promoted to president of product and innovation for Dentsu Aegis, where he’ll focus on developing custom data solutions across the holding company, reports Alex Bruell for The Wall Street Journal. Because Dentsu’s agencies are on a single P&L by region, Dentsu doesn’t need to create a central data unit à la Omnicom’s Annalect. “If an analyst from Merkle is relevant for a client at Carat, we will put those [full-time employees] on that business and that will be managed by Carat.” More.

Growing Pains

Snapchat may be the coolest startup in tech, but that’s a hard thing to maintain. Snap “needs to constantly create cool new things and Snapchat needs to consistently prove its ads actually work if it is to move from the small experimental section of advertisers' budgets and into the big leagues,” writes Lara O’Reilly for Business Insider. And while Snap is forced to constantly develop original products, its rivals (who are we kidding, Facebook) get to copy the notes and then take the test. Which explains why Snap just brought on Swiss engineer Laurent Balmelli, a specialist in developing software that prevents reverse engineering, reports Bloomberg.

The Shopper Share

How do shoppers behave when local department stores fold? With large-scale brick-and-mortar shutdowns already on the books for 2017, it’s a question that many are trying to understand [AdExchanger coverage]. It’s tempting to assume nearby retailers would see an immediate boost in foot traffic when a rival closes, but a Foursquare study finds that’s not the case. “Instead, millennials surge to closing sales,” the study notes, and loyal shoppers will travel farther to visit the same retailer. It typically takes several months before select local rivals collect fall-off shoppers. More at Medium.

Team Barbie

Publicis has won Mattel’s $150 million media account, which it will service with a hybrid team from Mediavest Spark and DigitasLBi. According to Ad Age, DigitasLBi will focus on content, digital media and programmatic, including paid search, social and analytics. Mediavest Spark will handle strategy and offline buying. Both agencies declined to comment, so it’s not really clear what “strategy” means, but it’s yet another example of holding companies cobbling together assets from across their siloed networks to provide the digital agility clients need. More.

Bundle Up Against The Cold

The New York Times is taking an innovative approach to subscription bundling with a Spotify partnership announced on Wednesday. The limited time deal is for a one-year Times digital subscription (about $260) with a free Spotify subscription (typically $120 per year) thrown in. The Times of London tried a subscription bundle with Spotify in 2014, though The NYT comes with more scale and visibility. And Amazon tacked The Washington Post onto its Amazon Prime subscription for a promotion. Still, The NYT has struggled (along with everyone else) to get young people to roll out of their parents’ subscriptions and into their own regular payment cycles. More at Nieman Lab.

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