IPG Unveils Cadreon Digital Ad Network

After nine months of testing campaign executions, Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands will unveil on Monday a new ad network called Cadreon. It is geared to purchase multiple forms of digital advertising such as online video, mobile, social networks and digital out-of-home, among others.
 
Cadreon is first launching in the U.S. and will roll out in key markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by year’s end, said Quentin George, chief digital officer at Mediabrands. George is overseeing the project and also serving as the network’s interim CEO while he searches for an exec to take on the job full time.
 
The plan is to use the new network to capture as much client digital business — both creative duties and media chores — as possible, said George. He noted that currently about 20 percent of client digital budgets in the U.S. are earmarked for networks, while the comparable figure in EMEA markets is roughly 70 percent.
 
In addition to buying, Cadreon will provide real-time dynamic ad creation to help clients build and serve units on the fly. The system utilizes a host of different parameters, tailoring both creative content and messaging to specific client audience profiles.

“The burden of proof is on us” to demonstrate the network’s superiority compared to competitors, George said.

To avoid conflicts, the network is being set up as a separate company with a distinct P&L under the Mediabrands roof.

What the new network won’t do is package client data for group buys or acquire inventory directly from publishers for resale to clients, said George.
 
The network system is designed to eliminate waste by focusing on target audiences, not just sites or inventory. “In every instance, the algorithms, data and all buying activity will only happen for one client at a time, so there is no pollution of your algorithm by someone else’s buy,” said George.
 
George has been working primarily with Microsoft during the test phase. So far, the client seems pleased. “The idea of buying audiences and not inventory is a new way of operating and has delivered us great results,” said Bill Capodanno, director of customer experience architecture at Microsoft, in a statement.
 
“Data is key,” said George, and the more data the client shares “the more narrowly we can define the audience. Other networks are geared toward delivering yield for publishers. The only thing we care about is performance for the advertiser.” 
 
George said the network would be hiring staffers with nontraditional backgrounds: “We’re recruiting people from Wall Street and other areas because what we are creating is closer to investment and portfolio management than it is to traditional media buying.”
 
Plans call for the network to have a staff of 30 by year’s end, but that could change depending on the amount of client buy-in, George said.

Right now, nine staffers are on board, including Nicole Craine, Cadreon’s vp, operations, who George hired from Organic where Craine held a similar role. (George was with Organic before joining IPG in 2006 and brought Craine aboard there as well.) 
 
To one degree or another, the other holding companies have launched or intend to launch proprietary ad networks. Publicis Groupe is developing the Audience on Demand network under VivaKi. WPP Group has a network in 24/7 Real Media. And prior to its purchase by Microsoft, Razorfish’s parent company aQuantive operated the DrivePM network. –additional reporting by Brian Morrissey