Advertising. Where big theater meets little theater.


McCann-Erickson’s Robert Cohen used to be the doyen of the advertising economics business. His predictions of spending growth were industry guideposts. When computers cornered the market as presentation vehicles Mr. Cohen used to go onstage with large oak tag cue card, doing his numbers thing on the stages of some of NY’s greatest presentation venues.

During one of Mr. Cohen’s internal McCann presentations in the early nineties, while sharing how yellow page ads were sluggish, I raised my hand and in my strongest Oliver Twist plea asked “Where are the digital numbers sir?.”  Mr. Cohen said they were not large enough to track. He was not dismissive, just in the moment.

The New York Times reported today that digital advertising will pass that of TV in 2016. It took only twenty-ish years for this transformation. Who knew?

There will always be room in marketing for “big theater” advertising or selling. But data analytics and “little theater” is coming on like a dookie. Go check your Google stock.

Every marketing plan I’ve written the last 3 years has included a line item for a part or full-time data analyst hire. It’s what Bob Cohen was — it’s the future of marketing.