B2B Beat: 50 Defining Quotes from the 4A’s Transformation 2016 Conference

March 27, 2016

There were plenty of hot topics to ponder at the 4A’s Transformation conference in Miami Beach this week. The speakers discussed diversity and disruption, technology and talent, and relevance and reinvention. The conference was filled with frank acknowledgement of the challenges facing the advertising industry, but the speakers didn’t dwell on the problems; they also proposed workable solutions.

Read on for some of the most insightful quotes from the week:

“There is a problem.” — Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of WPP, acknowledging that diversity is an issue in the advertising industry.

“I don’t think we’re in a good place at all.” — Carolyn Everson, VP Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook, referring to the diversity issue.

Real change has to start with you. It has to start at the top it means if you are the CEO, you are the chief diversity officer.  … Men you have to be part to the conversation, in fact, you have to start the conversation. — Nancy Hill, President-CEO, 4A’s

“Gender equality is not a gender issue. It's a humanity issue.” — Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Girls’ Lounge

“It only helps the final product, the most diverse our team the better.” — Gustavo Sarkis, ECD, CP&B, Miami

“I actually have the power to hire. If I can make space for people like that, then bring it on.” — Chloe Gottlieb, Senior Vice President-Executive Creative Director, R/GB, on a new hire she made that bolstered her agency’s diversity.

Talent has no gender. Talent has no race. Talent has no age. Talent has no religion. …  Our ambition is to be as diverse and inclusive as the markets that we serve. Period. — Wendy Clark, CEO, DDB Worldwide, North America

“We have a talent crisis.” — Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategist, Publicis Groupe

“(The talent issue) is the result of 10 years of neglect and treating talent like a commodity.” — Jay Haines, Founding Partner, Grace Blue

For building your Talent Brand, It’s more taking a stand and trying to focus one or two (elements) and really be known for that. The strong Talent Brands take a stand. They’re not all things to all people. — Jann Schwarz, Global Director, Agency Holding Companies, LinkedIn

"The next five years of advertising will change more than it has in the last 50." — Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales & Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal

“I fear the programmatic TV is too often about automation for automation’s sake, rather than using data to add effectiveness.” — Megan Pagliuca, Global CEO, Accuen

We’re all being disintermediated. There is no business today that is not being disintermediated. Great company recognizes that they have to be disintermediating themselves. — Maryam Banikarim, Global CMO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

“This conference is like the conferences newspapers had a decade ago. This is what disruption feels like.” — Mark Thompson, CEO, New York Times Company

“As an industry, we expended over $400 million in free man-hours with the work that we gave away. We gave away hundreds of millions of dollars in knowledge capital. … No wonder our product is being devalued.” — Bill Koenigsberg, CEO, Horizon Media

“We have a front row seat and at the nexus of the disruptors and the disrupted.” — Rob Norman, Chief Digital Officer, GroupM

“You’re going to see a bloodbath, this year. Mainstream media is going to consolidate. Online media is going to consolidated. The downward pressure put on the industry by programmatic has left everyone in search of the promised holy grail. … Everyone is being forced into the mire of programmatic. That’s going to force the consolidation of new and old media.” — Shane Smith, Founder and CEO, Vice Media

“We have a thesis: Two revenue streams are better than one. I don’t think we can get our model to work on advertising dollars alone.” — Mark Thompson

Stop being so afraid. We like you. You’re our friend. — Shane Smith

"Our industry needs to stop being so insecure. So do our clients." — Rishad Tobaccowala

"If we publish content with real value, people won't block it." — Rob Norman

“We think innovation is everybody’s job at the company. It’s not just one person’s job.” — Maryam Banikarim

Our job is turning the CMO into a rock star, because that is a very lethal weapon. — Jeff Goodby, Co-Chairman, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners 

“For programmatic to work, people have to be able to pull the different levers, not just the price levers.” — Joan Gillman, COO, Time Warner Cable Media

"Video views increased from 10 percent to 65 percent of total views on BuzzFeed in one year" — Greg Coleman, President, Buzzfeed

“This is the best time. I think agency thrive on change. We not encumbered by the past or with products. We are able to adapt quickly.” — Scott Hagedorn, CEO, Annalect

The Lego move was probably the longest commercial ever made. — Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP-Chief Revenue Officer, The New York Times Company

“I wish we could have a Lego move come out every year.” — Rex Jackson, Marketing Director, Legoland Florida Resort

“In some cases, the agency people have been on the brand longer than the marketer side people.” — Rex Jackson

“Very few (corporate) boards have CMOs. They will talk a bout the customer voice, but it’s not there (in the boardroom). Everybody has a CFO (on the board). Fifty percent have a CTO. But very few have a CMO.” — Rishad Tobaccowala

“Guests, media, partners, employees — getting them to do word of mouth for us is a big part of our job.” — Luann Calvert, CMO, Virgin America

I have a model: the best agencies today respect each other, but don’t respect the boundaries. — Jim Berra, CMO/SVP, Royal Caribbean International

“Like good vandalism, good advertising is funny, loud and still there the next day.” — Jeff Goodby

“If you don’t learn how to fail, try, experiment you don’t get anywhere.” — Mark Thompson

“We have to think about mobile like it’s 1955 and we’re running the first TV ads.” — Carolyn Everson

“The currency of business today is speed.” — Wendy Clark

“We throw a bunch of spears and hope we hit somebody. Why don’t you put a spear out and then they come and impale themselves on it?”  — Rishad Tobaccowala

“Content is kinger than it’s ever been, and the most important content is sports.” — Jeffrey Cole, Director of the Center of the Digital Future, USC/Annenberg

“Go to the NFL headquarters in New York, open a drawer, and billion dollar bills fall out.” — Jeffrey Cole

Television created the brand of Trump. — Rob Norman

If you have any doubt about the power of branded content, study ‘The Apprentice.’” — Scott Hagedorn

 “Just be human. If you’re trying to target a 14 year old, go talk to a 14 year old.” — Shabnam Mogharabi, CEO and Executive Producer, SoulPancake

“Your clients believe their agenda should be your agenda.” — Wendy Clark

“We want to be at the intersection with what the brand stands for and what user needs.” — Rob Davis, Executive Director, Content & Social, Ogilvy

“15-20 year olds like ad two times as much as the overall population, which is pretty good news for the for the 4As and for the future of advertising in sport.” — Jeffrey Cole

“The fusion of technology, data, and content are critically important, in my view.” — Sir Martin Sorrell

“The size of the opportunity is $1.6 trillion when you combine consulting, technology and marketing services.” — Maurice Levy, Chairman-CEO, Publicis Groupe

“Until recently IT and marketing were not crazy about each other. We have to work as one to build the marketing technology backbone.” — Maurice Levy

He made a contribution to building the best company in the industry. — Sir Martin Sorrell, saying what he’d want his epitaph to read

I love this industry. I spent all my life in advertising. I love the work. I love the people. We have a bright future, provided we reinvent ourselves. — Maurice Levy

“I’ve been thinking whether it’s OK  for a horse to talk to a duck in this online thing.” — Jeff Goodby sharing one reason why he believes advertising remains such a wonderful profession. 

For more coverage of the trends that are reshaping the advertising and marketing industry, turn to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog. Subscribe today!