David Kenny and the rise of the machines

By Brian Morrissey


Speaking in the same room where he announced, more than a decade earlier, that Digitas was going public, David Kenny returned to the ad industry this week in a very different role. Now president of Akamai, Kenny is fully focused on the infrastructure of digital media rather than the agency business.
  The former VivaKi managing partner believes those in media and marketing underappreciate the speed of change driven by faster and more powerful digital content delivery. In five years, high-definition video content of all kinds will be delivered through Internet protocol. What that means is a sea change for the ad world, Kenny predicted in a keynote address at the OMMA Global Conference on Tuesday, part of Advertising Week.
  The result: The Internet will become more like TV, dominated by video, and TV will be more like the Internet, with interactivity and personalization. For agencies, that means a return to the basics of creativity. "No algorithm will connect with people," Kenny said. That doesn't mean Kenny isn't enamored with technology. He noted the difference of working for a company with 44,000 employees to one with 2,000 employees and 73,000 servers.
  "Every year you pay them less," he said of servers, "they never whine, and they work on Christmas."