Loading ...

By Ken Auletta
368 pages, hardcover, $30
Published by Penguin Press
penguin.com

Martin Sorrell, former chief executive of WPP, once referred to Google as a “frenemy” of ad agencies. For, as much as agencies partner with the search-engine giant, they are also in competition with it for client dollars. Both that reality and Sorrell himself are featured prominently in this latest from Ken Auletta, New Yorker contributor and author of the 2009 bestseller Googled: The End of the World As We Know It. Auletta brings his trademark reportage to this “reckoning with an industry under existential crisis” and competition from not only Google, but also Amazon and, in particular, Facebook. He profiles Facebook’s head of sales, Carolyn Everson, and interviews former Crispin Porter + Bogusky chief executive officer Andrew Keller, now at Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth as global creative director. Keller confirms that Facebook’s creative group only partners with agencies on 60 percent of client work, meaning it is working directly with advertisers. Frenemies also examines how data is both friend and foe. With so much minutiae on customers enabling better targeting, Auletta questions whether the product hawked by agencies—the “big idea”—is still relevant when ads can be customized. Meanwhile, Amazon and its ilk are disrupting the distribution of content, with smart-home digital assistants that can steer users to its own products. (Soon, ads will likely be disguised as objective product recommendations.) Auletta doesn’t have all the answers to how agencies should navigate frenemy waters, but he gives an enlightening, juicy and at times scary portrait of a media ecosystem in upheaval. —Chris Daniels

X

With a free Commarts account, you can enjoy 50% more free content
Create an Account
Get a subscription and have unlimited access
Subscribe
Already a subscriber or have a Commarts account?
Sign In
X

Get a subscription and have unlimited access
Subscribe
Already a subscriber?
Sign In