Attention & Ethical Advertising in the UK Ad Industry with Charlie Crowe

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This is a podcast episode titled, Attention & Ethical Advertising in the UK Ad Industry with Charlie Crowe. The summary for this episode is: <p>Follow Wunderkind:</p><p>YouTube: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Instagram: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Facebook: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Twitter: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p><br></p><p>More from Wunderkind: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p><br></p><p>Wunderkind is a performance marketing channel that delivers one-to-one messages across email and text at an unmatched scale.</p>
01:24 MIN
How Important Is Attention as a Metric and How Well Are Advertisers Measuring It?
04:18 MIN
Is Advertising Similar to Content?
05:01 MIN
Creating a Social Contract With Your Audience
01:54 MIN
What Does Ethical and Sustainable Advertising Actually Mean?
06:28 MIN
How Should Publishers and Advertisers Balance Competing Concerns of CX and Ad Revenue?
04:52 MIN
How Does a Company Balance Driving Revenues and Social Impact?
05:10 MIN
What Can Companies Do Today to Start That Balancing Act?
01:31 MIN
What Can We Do Today to Help Publishers and Advertisers Meet the Expectations of Their Audience?
05:29 MIN

Both: (singing)

Vern Tremble: That's what we're doing today on this episode of Individuality Unleashed. I'm Vern Tremble, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications here at Wunderkind, and I'm joined by the incredible Charlie Crowe. How you doing, Charlie?

Charlie Crowe: Man? Very well, thank you. It's nice seeing you with you this morning.

Vern Tremble: Same. It's a great way to start off the morning. We have, it's a very fancy regal episode today. Why? You may ask.

Charlie Crowe: Why is that

Vern Tremble: We're in London. I've never been.

Charlie Crowe: Excellent and one of your children is called London I do believe.

Vern Tremble: That's exactly right. She is-

Charlie Crowe: That's very good.

Vern Tremble: sassy as this city.

Charlie Crowe: Very good. Well, I hope you have a wonderful time here.

Vern Tremble: Yeah. I absolutely will. I'm really excited to be sitting down with you and I'm really excited for our guest to meet you, to learn about you. Charlie is an industry analyst and expert on all things advertising, and we're going to be talking to him today about attention in ethical advertising in the UK ad industry. Are you prepared to talk about that?

Charlie Crowe: Yeah, I'm prepared to talk about that.

Vern Tremble: I'm not catching you off guard, am I?

Charlie Crowe: Ethics, I mean, ethics is probably the only thing we should talk about is that, sir, it's the only most important subject there is. Exactly.

He's being facetious. Yeah. So top line synopsis. I'm going to read this because my colleague Lauren Johnson-Ginn, who is fabulous, who's been so kind, has written a synopsis of this episode that I don't want to mess up because I want our audience to understand exactly what we're talking about today and why ethics in advertising is so important. So attention has been heralded as the new ultimate advertising metric with the ability to predict outcomes three times more accurately than viewability according to Dentsu Research. But in a world where 35% of internet users age 16 to 64 in the UK are now using ad blockers and attention is effectively at an all- time premium, how can advertisers and publishers alike join forces to capture consumer attention in an ethical way, without detriment to user experience? Answering this question is key to securing the long- term sustainability and lifespan of the online advertising industry. In this podcast we sit down with industry expert Charlie Crowe to dig into this meaty topic. First question, Mr. Crowe, how important is attention as a metric and how well are advertisers measuring it currently?

Charlie Crowe: Wow. Okay. Goodness me, that's one of those wonderful very specific media topic questions you get usually at industry conferences and panels and well, first of all, I think it's quite hard to isolate attention if you like, from some of the other key buzzwords that have been in our industry for the last few years, the last decades, such as participation, disruption and so on. Viewability, yes, attention, viewability. I mean it's hard. You'd need probably three degrees in psychology to try and really understand the distinction between what is viewable and what gains attention.

Vern Tremble: That I do not have.

Charlie Crowe: So I think that we're all trying to, different platforms are trying to find their commercial advantage and their value propositions, their differentiation between other platforms, and I think that's a valid commercial undertaking. But let's just sit back a little bit. Let's think about attention as a whole. I think my immediate thought about this question, Vern, is that there's a bit of a crisis of attention going on, particularly in the open internet right now. And why do I say that? Well, if you look at most publisher platforms and you try and read good quality content on the internet, what we are seeing is that the industry is really become an arms race of attention for the consumer such that reading a page of good quality content is almost impossible. The old model of disruption has moved into the digital ecosystem such that you've got maybe four or five different platforms vying for your attention. Popups, how many people have spent time trying to find that tiny little cross that's always hidden. A white cross on a white background to try and get rid of a popup. Huge amount of, it's almost like flashing lights on news broadcasts that they warn you about if you have a problems with epilepsy. It is very, very hard to concentrate on good quality content. Now what's that doing with all of this vying for attention, you are diminishing the user experience of good quality content. Yes which is forcing consumers towards ad blockers and actually it's also forcing consumers towards closed environments and walled gardens. The open web is, what we're doing is we are destroying the value of good quality content. And I think that's where the advertising industry needs to really shape up. We need to look at this and say, look, the advertising business is culpable in creating this bad user experience and therefore as being part of the problem can be part of the solution. So I think that going on too much about attention and so on and so forth, I think we should be looking at something a little bit different. We should be looking at quality experiences and how advertising and content can recombine and partner again in a union that benefits both. Okay?

Vern Tremble: So then that begs the question, is advertising similar to content, something that consumers even want to see?

Charlie Crowe: I do think that the advertising industry is facing something of a crisis. We talk about ad blockers and the decline in trust of advertising itself and the respectability of advertising as an industry itself. And I think we should stop and we should just say, hold on a second, in worrying about all of this arms race of attention on the open web and all the concerns over privacy. And so on within the walled gardens as well, we are losing the debate, we losing the trust of the consumer and we've just got to say, hold on a second. The advertising, let's think about the advertising industry for a second. Okay, let's just step back. Okay. What is it and what social good does it contribute to? It is a subsidy for the free media and plurality of media in most economies. And as such, it should be celebrated. That free and open advertising, links to a plural media, transparency and openness in communication, which links to democracy, which therefore links to liberal values. All of those are ultimately connected. What is the first thing that goes when you get dictatorships in societies? And Vladimir Putin presses harder and puts his iron fist over society. They take over the press. They take over the TV station and what then goes is freedom of communication, freedom of expression, freedom of advertising. If I am able to go onto the internet and read free content because of advertising, I'm able to go onto free to air television and do the same. I'm able to read high quality journalism through my Sunday magazines and so on. I pay for those supplements and those newspapers, but ultimately if there wasn't advertising within that, it would probably cost me about 10 times more. So I am better off, this society is better off because of advertising, that should be celebrated and recognized. Now what are we doing now? It's advertising is starting to erode and we're all now the consumers are starting to be concerned and we are destroying the very greatness of what this industry really is and that's such a shame.

Vern Tremble: So it's essentially a social contract that-

Charlie Crowe: Yeah, it's a social, yeah. And we should also accept that I do not as a consumer myself, as we do not turn on our laptops, open up our phones to say, " I really would like to see a commercial message from Proctor and Gamble this morning." However brilliant Procter and Gamble and so on, and all these wonderful ads are, we don't do that. We are going into to content to find out reliable information that's trusted or to be entertained. So that is the first thing. Good content created by great content makers is still the most important thing. Advertising therefore needs to be part of that. It's the secondary thing, but it's important. And all the rising tide lifts both boats. The better the content, the better the challenge for the commercial content makers and the advertising industry and the media buyers and then we just get better as a result.

Vern Tremble: I think that's an excellent way to frame this. And I know you mentioned it's essentially an arms race, but it's an arms race to destruction.

Charlie Crowe: It's an arms race. Yes, exactly. It's an arms race for attention and it's a bit like I'm sure we've all had this experience when we've tried to find our taxi when we've come off a big long flight and we go into the arrivals hall and there are about 1000 name boards in that arrivals area and you're trying to look around. And it's really difficult and it's perplexing, it's tiring and sometimes it can be quite stressful. That's a little bit like going into the open internet right now.

Vern Tremble: Yeah, exactly.

Charlie Crowe: And so I think it's almost like an unregulated environment at the moment, although of course there are regulations, but there's no one there sitting there arbitrating over ultimately the quality of the user experience and consumers are therefore voting with their feet.

Vern Tremble: Right? And their dollars.

Charlie Crowe: And their dollars. So I think this is an important debate to have particularly because we're going to see now the massive growth in connected television, for example, and in digital out of home. So all this omnichannel opportunities that technology is now beginning to drive will be the next phase of the media industry itself. So to have this debate now as to what should be the contract between content and advertising and the participant and how we can discuss the good things about advertising so that consumers know it and rely on it and actually appreciate it more. This is a good time to have this debate.

Vern Tremble: Good time indeed. I think in considering the ethics of advertising and that social contracts, the social contract that we as marketers and advertisers have to deploy, it's not necessarily our audience's responsibility to understand that that contract exists, but we certainly are responsible as the marketers and advertisers to uphold that.

Charlie Crowe: We are. And I think one of the things that's happened in the last few years, which I've really welcomed, is that the organizations like say the ANA in the States and the World Federation of Advertisers have begun, particularly the media components of those associations, have begun to realize that their budgets are ultimately forces for change, that they can move their money where their mouths are and make some sort of judgment calls on that. And I very much hope that continues. I mean, I remember, it's funny because I remember having this debate about 15 years ago with the then global media director of Unilever who had just, it was probably just before then, they'd just launched the Dove soap, the new Dove soap campaign, the Real Women campaign.

Vern Tremble: I remember that one.

Charlie Crowe: Which is very much a ground break breaking approach to the attitudes of women and models and so on in their creative work and is still going strong, which is fantastic. And I remember at the time saying to the global media director, if you're really strong on those sorts of giving impressions of real women, why are you still placing those ads for Dove in publishers, in magazines that are using the airbrush on their models on the front cover? And to which their response was, " Well that's just the way it is." Sort of thing, and it struck me as not being a connected and ethical practice going through the line in terms of the whole thought now is, there's clearly indications that the media spend is also reflecting the ethical values of the companies. And that's a really good thing.

Vern Tremble: I think that is a really good thing. The ubiquity of glossing over imperfections. Yeah. I'm putting up air quotes for those that are listening is transcends not only our industry but all industries in all of society. But then it leads that question, what does ethical or sustainable advertising actually mean, especially in this modern age where consumers are putting their money where their ethics lie?

Charlie Crowe: Yeah. Well in the race for attention, as we've just been saying, we are losing the bigger picture. So ethical advertising starts with not wearing down the consumer and seeing the consumer as a unit, like a unit of capital, something that could be manipulated mean we used to buy audiences, didn't we? Where now we bid for them. And in the move towards a performance approach, I think there's a general sense that consumers now are, it's just a units of manipulation where we can pull the lever and there's some sort of outcome and this, we bid for that. And there's something quite dehumanizing about that approach and the language we use about how we target our consumers and so on. And I think, so the more we do that, the more I think we're missing the point. Consumers are not rational sort of means of exchange and they're not fungible assets and so on. So I think we do need to respect that a bit more. And we've seen in the chase for seeing the outputs from log files on the internet. We seem to have sort of run after this whole new wonderful new world of these new metrics. And we've forgotten the fact that actually we are in the business of delighting, informing, entertaining people. We're not chasing them and stalking them. You had say Volkswagen in Sweden say saying, " How can we do media for good?" I don't know if you remember, there's a famous example of them taking a tube station, a train station somewhere in Sweden where everyone was using the escalator, but there was some stairs next to the escalator. Everyone was using the escalators because that's all naturally quite lazy. But the idea was is how can we get people moving and encourage people to get healthier? So instead of putting an ad up saying, please use the stairs, what Volkswagen did is they made the stairs into a keyboard, an actual active keyboard. You stepped on one, it was a major, minor key, duh- duh- duh- duh, and you could run up and down it and make tunes. It actually worked. And then they analyzed the pre and post, that little activation and of course the joy of life and the spirit of life, people switched from being static on an escalator to being active up and down those stairs. That was a wonderful piece of advertising. It brought something yes to the consumer. Now if we can do more of that kind of thing and we can try and do it through the internet and there's no reason why we can't, then great. We'll be in an industry that we can all be proud of.

Vern Tremble: What strikes me about what you just said is that human nature requires us to be delighted, to be engaged. We don't want the monotony of the day- to- day. We want opportunities to experience the remarkable.

Charlie Crowe: Correct.

Vern Tremble: So when a remarkable moment is presented to us, we want to take that. But it's so interesting that many marketers and advertisers and publishers, they take the approach less traveled or often traveled in this current age, which is performance, performance, performance at the detriment of the actual user experience.

Charlie Crowe: Yeah, that's right. And somehow the consumer of the content has suddenly found themselves in an auction. They don't even know they're being auctioned. That's what's so weird about it. They don't know that their data is being auctioned.

Vern Tremble: But they feel it. They don't know. They feel it because of how the content is returning to them.

Charlie Crowe: They feel it. You're right. And there's all sorts of things going on. Right. I've got this good analogy for you. And I don't know whether this is going to work, but I was going to talk about a little bit of how advertising is getting into a little of what I would call an epistemological crisis. And what do I mean mean by that? Imagine this, right? You are watching Djokovic and Nadal play in the Wimbledon tennis final. Right. I'm sure it's a great final. Okay. And you're watching, it's really exciting. And Djokovic wins. Unbeknownst to you, you were watching a different channel. You were actually watching a repeat of last year's final. Okay? It happened to be that the final this year, which you didn't see was on the other channel and it turns out that Djokovic also won that. Okay? But you are not aware of, so you go out to the pub and you meet some friends who are very keen to, because they've just traveled over from wherever, from Atlanta and they're keen to know who won the Wimbledon tennis final like this year. And they ask you, right, and you say, " Djokovic won." Now you are correct, but do you know? Now this is where I think a lot of the issues are with advertising and information on the internet. We do not really know. We are chancing across knowledge. We're chancing across truth.

Vern Tremble: I understand.

Charlie Crowe: Knowledge is becoming something that's vapid and difficult to get a handle on. The actual source of our knowledge is beginning open to question, this is an epistemological crisis. What is true, what is not. We can chance on the truth, but we are disconnected from it because of the burst of information that's happening to us funded by advertising is causing this and these issues. And that just not only touches our lives, but it touches the way we think, the way we act, the way our children act, the way we interact with our friends and society.

Vern Tremble: And understandably can cause many to lose a sense or grasp of what is real.

Charlie Crowe: What is real. And when you lose that grasp to reality in that way, opinion becomes more important than fact. And we know what happens when that happens.

Vern Tremble: So then the question-

Charlie Crowe: Then comes then you vote Trump in.

Vern Tremble: So then the question, we are in the UK. So then the question we take no political leaning here at Wunder.

Charlie Crowe: Yeah, sorry.

Vern Tremble: It's okay. We're in the UK.

Charlie Crowe: Does that analogy make sense?

Vern Tremble: That made complete sense and make total sense. And I think it leads us back to the question for me, who is then responsible? Because it seems like there is an unspoken social contract as we've discussed, but it seems as the publishers and the advertisers know that this exists and people feel like it exists, but don't understand that there is this contract, they feel like they should be getting something, but they're not pulling the levers, if you will. I want to understand how should publishers and advertisers be balancing the competing concerns of users/ consumer experiences and ad revenue considering everything that we just discussed?

Charlie Crowe: Yeah. Well, I think advertisers have more responsibility than they claim and they should step up a little bit more to be quite honest. And because fundamentally they've always been the hidden guiding hand of the global content industry, commercial influences affected the launch of the very first soap opera. And it is fair to say, and I'm not saying that newspapers are an old panacea, you read a newspaper today and probably half of the content there has been influenced by PR agencies. But nevertheless, so that I think the commercial interest coming back to the client is important. And actually there's reasons to be optimistic about that because clients as we know are bringing more and more of their tools and systems and their media platforms, which if it's not flowing through agencies, it means that at least ultimately that advertisers have literally more agency over their own communications and the way they spend their own money. And I have not met, to be fair, an advertiser that does not believe that they should take a more ethical approach. As well as pushing digital transformation, which is number one on the agenda. All the CMOs that I know are fundamentally very decent human beings and care about how the society and the world should break out. And it may be somewhat frustrated that sometimes they can't make the change as quickly as they would like. So I think that is a good sign. So I think we're in a good position and we should be looking for that. So I'd say having an ethical requirement should be in everything that the industry does, and that should be the first thing to ask about. So if we go back to the open web and the clutter and the fact that we are heading towards some sort of self- destruction, this is why it's great to be part here with Wunderkind and because you have a product that is a solution to a problem. It's at least not adding to the arms race of attention. It's not another fourth set of a new firework display on my screen that's just going to interrupt the content even more. It's actually trying to do something that almost goes back to that sort of rather more respectful attitude towards the user, which is yes, we need the ad, but here it is in a format and in a place that is balanced and fair and corresponds with your user experience understanding that you are here for the editorial. You're not here for the advertising. So I think that reestablishes potentially a pact that I'm calling for here. So I think yes, in media there are companies that are offering a solution and I think that I would say one more thing please, that social value should be a part of the media plan. So another good example is for Phillips, actually this is a long time ago in China, but I remember this being a great example. Phillips were launching their new sense and sensibility campaign in China, and instead of just putting an ad on TV, which was people would need to do, they just looked around and they saw that in health clinics in most cities in China, there's a huge problem of waiting times, waiting lists and so on. You can go into a health clinic and you can wait up to seven hours to see a doctor at that time. So it was a big, big sort of social problem. What Phillips did was they just went into a couple of these surgeries and they installed text machines. So you were able to go in rather than sit down and waste your entire day. You could put your text, you could put your mobile phone number in, and then when you were ready you would be texted to tell you that your appointment was ready. It was really simple stuff. And that meant that people go on... Now that was just solving an annoying social problem, but it created huge value in terms of the advertiser because they were giving something. So it was media, but it had some form of benefit to the consumer. So I would like advertisers to try and think about those areas first before they start thinking about the CPM, the total audience and so on and so forth.

Vern Tremble: And ultimately revenues. But then there's a balancing act because they would argue, well, we have a responsibility to our shareholders and a responsibility to the bottom line. How do we approach driving revenues as well as adhering to the social impact that we've been discussing.

Charlie Crowe: Yeah. But good advertising is either memorable because it's brilliant and that's why we always love the Super Bowl ads. And that's why we always remember the surfing ad for Guinness. These are brilliant pieces of content that are memorable and are worthy in their own right. So they're entertaining and memorable. How else do you make great advertising? You help people, you provide a benefit, what else is there? I don't know whether preaching to them, disrupting them, tailoring the DCO, tailoring the creative to the particular data that the person has or the weather on that day and so on. It is all nice and funky and interesting, but personalization, yeah, but just because I'm getting an ad with my name on it is that? So I think again, we are looking out for these little silvery spangly things like magpies in the industry, but fundamentally you entertain, you educate and you help people.

Vern Tremble: Absolutely agree.

Charlie Crowe: And if your advertising is not doing one of those three things, then it's not very good advertising. And then proxies like viewability, all the proxies in there are going to become more, they only mean something when the advertising's not very good. And that's when the media proxies take over and that's becomes the trading environment for the entire industry. And I think that's partly where we are leading to at the moment, It's Emperor's New Clothes. And I think sometimes we should say it.

Vern Tremble: It's an indictment, but I think a necessary one, an absolute necessary one.

Charlie Crowe: Yeah. I mean, yeah.

Vern Tremble: No, I mean it's as simple as, I'm sorry... We love advertisers and marketers and publishers we're here to help. But I think it's also to be able to look in the mirror and say like, can I be doing this better?

Charlie Crowe: Well, I think so. We talked about this before about coming back from the Cannes Lions Festival last year. There's this duality in the industry. I'm not going to knock any specific platforms or anything like that, but what did I hear? I heard people there, a senior advertising industry executives talking about putting more money into some of the social platforms, whether it be Facebook, snap, TikTok and so on. And that's all legitimate commercial value. And then I heard them saying when they go back home, they're worried about their children spending too much time in screens.

Vern Tremble: Interesting.

Charlie Crowe: They're worried about their children always gazing up at their phones during dinner. They're worried that they've just heard that their daughter's friend has an eating disorder or is suffering from depression. And is wondering why so many children of that age are having these issues. They're worried about their child perhaps being bullied or going into the wrong parts of the internet that they shouldn't be going to. And they're worried about it. That is I defy anyone to not degree that most parents who work in advertising are privately concerned about screen time, their kids spending too long in their bedrooms in the metaverse. Right. And yet professionally, they come into work for nine to five and they're funneling more funds into those very platforms that whose business models depend upon more and more young people spending more and more time within those platforms.

Vern Tremble: This is-

Charlie Crowe: Now that has got to be called out.

Vern Tremble: Yeah. This is aggressive, but I think it is a necessary conversation. It's not an indictment to stop or to repudiate but ultimately there's a moral, we're just saying there's a moral responsibility.

Charlie Crowe: Yeah. Well I think that's the thing. It's not saying don't do it, I'm just saying let's have an honest conversation about what the benefits are of this digital explosion that we've all followed. This is the thing, things happen, we don't ask them to happen. It's all technology. And then when we look back and we see all of these unintended consequences of what happened. Now, surely having had his civilization reading Yuval Harari is books and so on, just this great indication of some of those unintended consequences of development. Surely now we are intelligent enough to say, hold on a second, let's not fall into that trap and look back in 10 years time and say, oh we should have done something differently. We can say it now, but we're not, the industry needs to be honest with it itself.

Vern Tremble: I absolutely agree. And I think one of the things that we can help our listeners with in first laying out what's at stake, the table is spread before all of us. For those that may be concerned about revenues, that may be concerned about the morality, that may be concerned about the social contract that we have with our audiences, what would be, in your opinion, the actionable takeaways? What can they do today to today and tomorrow to start this shift? To be a part of the solution as opposed to the problem?

Charlie Crowe: Yeah, what can they do? Well, I think we have perhaps a responsibility when the industry gets together at these forums for those organizers themselves to put some of those questions on the agenda and get those people.

Vern Tremble: Get them talking.

Charlie Crowe: I think if you've got a situation where you've got a client, an agency, and the media, perhaps you've got some sort of idea of having some sort of ethical committee just to monitor and have certain checklist of questions that you'd ask before you write those media plans and before you engage with the DSPs and the SSPs and so on and so forth. Because programmatic clearly as a business should not be separate to those. So I think that that's an interesting, and you can do that with algorithms, you know can have mote and integrated sciences for certain elements of course of that. But I think you need the human agreements and human packs before you go down that route and you sign off and do the white list and so on. Does that make sense?

Vern Tremble: It does make a lot of sense my next, so that's a great perspective. What are a tactile solution? We have a product at Wunderkind that can assist these agencies with solving some of these critical issues from a performance standpoint. Can you talk just a little bit about what we're doing today to essentially help publishers and advertisers meet the expectation of their audiences?

Charlie Crowe: Well, I think what we've seen over the last few years is a very welcome awareness among the clients of some of the great issues that are happening with programmatic buying and so on. It started off with viewability of course, and the great stand that was made by WPP originally in GroupM in terms of the way they policies. And now you're starting to see those sorts of issues spread into other areas of the media and other agencies are now clearly having their own ethical viewpoints. I think that's really brilliant, really welcome. I think that if you have those tools, I think we have to be aware that you need the honest conversation with the agencies to support them on that. I mean whether the agencies are completely aware of some of those tools or whether those agencies are developing their own tools, in which case there's going to be a competitive issue with which tools wins out. And that's an interesting area of the industry right now is where does the agency technology stop and the vendors technology start? And I think a lot of clients are not really particularly aware of that. So I think there's a real opportunity for perhaps the technology industry itself and the agency business to come together with that. There's no reason why the IAB could not bring together those parties and have their own set of standards that adhere between the agencies and the tech companies. So whether it's your tools that become preferred or graded suppliers that are promoted to clients as options that they can use through an independent arbiter like the IAB. So maybe that's something that's worth kicking around.

Vern Tremble: I think that's good. And I think it is the responsibility of advertisers and publishers to do that research. They have to triangulate.

Charlie Crowe: Yeah, they do.

Vern Tremble: Yes. And it's a combination of technologies.

Charlie Crowe: There are 8, 000 different tools, platforms, and systems around them vying. If you look at the LUMAscapes or the Martech industry landscapes and so on, you look at that and you could wallpaper your downstairs toilet with it and you could spend 20 years living in your apartment and still not seen every brand in the box. So it's really, really tough. And I think that's another thing we need to be aware of too. I mean, I've not met a major client, chief marketing director or a head of digital transformation, media director, whatever it is, at a branded goods company that's not probably got three or four more jobs on their job list now than they had five years ago. They've all come back from COVID. Digital transformation agendas have exploded. And media people that were once just managing the agency relationships are now managing the platforms. They're managing tools and systems, they're doing e- commerce. So there's a huge amount of pressure in the industry, particularly on the client side and people who work on the client side, time pressure. It's extreme right now as we go through this extraordinary change. And it's a really fundamental time in the industry. It really is. When I started 20 odd years ago, there was Unilever and Procter and Gamble to take the two big advertisers. They had one global media director each, I remember them well. Are still in touch and they're good men. But now they've hired from Google, they've hired from the agencies and now you've got teams of experts. It's a transformation in terms of the knowledge, control, confidence and expertise on the client side. And I think we are still waiting to see exactly what the output and the consequences of that are going to be. That change is happening right now.

Vern Tremble: That's brilliant. And you mentioned this just earlier, that a part of that responsibility, a part of that change occurring is by having dialogues, having conversations similar to the ones that we're having right now. And it's imperative that we do that and we do that openly and we do that consistently because that's the only we're going to bring-

Charlie Crowe: Yeah. I think the advertisers have got to be aware of that too. I think, obviously I'm not an advertiser that's not said that they increasingly, because of all the different digital transformation changes and pitches and RFPs that are out in the market, they're not getting sucked into internal issues. More and more brands are getting internally focused down, going down the rabbit hall of their internal organization. They can spend six months not looking up and looking around. So I think there is, we all need to help each other look up, look around and be better.

Vern Tremble: We need to help each other look up, look around, and be better. And I think there's no better way to end today's episode than on that salient point. Charlie, thank you so much-

Charlie Crowe: Thank you, man.

Vern Tremble: ...for joining us. Before we go, you want to sing us out? What do you want to sing?

Charlie Crowe: No, I could pass.

Vern Tremble: Some. We can do some more Midnight Train.

Charlie Crowe: How does it start again?

Vern Tremble: We can start right at the chord.

Both: (singing)

Vern Tremble: Thank you so much again guys. That was another great episode. We hope of Individuality Unleashed.

Both: (singing)


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Wunderkind is a performance marketing channel that delivers one-to-one messages across email and text at an unmatched scale.