Moneyball for Media

Moneyball for media: an idea after my own heart.

If you know me, you know that I once dreamed of being the general manager of a baseball team and did so after falling in love with Michael Lewis’ depiction of Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s. Well, that dream has since morphed into a passion for advertising, media, and branding, so when Ad Age questioned whether media agencies need their own Paul DePodesta, I was all over it.

Carat, a leading media planning and buying agency and specialist in digital solutions, thinks the answer is yes, and to prove it, hired Mike Vitti as senior VP-group director of the data and analytics practice. Vitti once worked in predictive modeling for the PGA Tour and most recently spent two years in sports sponsorship research at Repucom.

Talk about a career arc I admire. As an former intern in the sports sponsorship and research industry with IEG, Joyce Julius & Associates, and Navigate Research, I can only hope to transition into the media world as seamlessly as Vitti has.

But I digress. Carat has made a significant investment in its data and analytics group – currently consisting of about 30 employees. As Zetti puts it, “Everyone has messy data…In media, there are so many sources and ways to handle things differently, but it’s easy to understand once you understand the nuances. Along the lines of sport, the goal is to win and it’s about how you optimize a variable to win. In this case [of media], we’d optimize toward a sales or brand awareness goal by maximizing a budget to reach people you want to reach. It’s the same principals.”

The idea is easy enough to understand when applied to sports. Data comes easily, tied up in a neat package of stats. For media, the idea is a bit more abstract – and as a result, sort of uncharted territory for a lot of buying agencies. It took out-of-the-box thinking on the part of Billy Beane to heed the advice of people like Bill James and bring saber into the ever-so-traditional realm of baseball. It will take the same sort of thinking – and success – to make analytics an integral part of media planning. Carat, with major clients like Diageo, Adidas, and Disney, might just start the trend.


Social Doesn’t Just Mean Media

Love him or hate him, Bill Clinton made a hell of a lot of sense speaking at the Cannes ad festival on June 21. His message was simple: Use your power to communicate to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

In looking at graduate advertising programs, and speaking to professors and students alike, Southern Methodist University’s Temerlin Advertising Institute stands out in this regard. Program director, Dr. Carrie LaFerle, made clear to me that one of the cornerstones of TAI’s program is social responsibility. She truly believes that “the new generation of advertising professionals believe it’s okay to succeed, but not at any cost.” The program instills in its students respect for the consumers they will serve and accountability for the culture they will help shape.

Clinton emphasized society’s need for honest, synthesized communication and Adland’s power to create just that. In a landscape that is increasingly global, enabled by technology, and overwhelmed with choices, communicators’ influence is greater than ever before. Focused messages, good or bad, reach consumers faster and permeate deeper. Advertisers have a responsibility to acknowledge the new socially and globally conscious consumer, and to use their unique tools as a force for social change.

Advertisers shift toward social media has served consumers and brands well – a similar shift toward social consciousness will undoubtedly do the same.

The more I think about it, the more I realize this is actually important to me – there’s too much negativity, too much lying, and too many messages that poison consumers’ thoughts, and too often in the case of women and adolescents, confidence. To be able to make a positive impact by doing something I love? What could be better?


Hello world!

Hi –

I’m a 21-year-old senior at the University of Michigan with a passion for all things media/brand/advertising. Majoring in Sport Management, I’ve had a bunch of experience working on the sponsorship side of marketing with IEG and Navigate Research – through these experiences I’ve had a chance to watch brands interact with consumers in meaningful and entertaining ways; and I’ve realized that my goal in life is to help create those relationships.


This is my blog.