What is Coles doing in the programmatic space?

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 11 February 2015

Following news that Woolworths is launching a demand-side platform (DSP) which it will use for programmatic media buying in-house, we take a look at what rival Coles is doing in this space.

Earlier this month Woolies and its data analytics firm, Quantium, in which it has a 50% stake in, announced that after beavering away for years to create an in-house programmatic offering, it would soon use a DSP to power its own trading desk.

It also said it was already “holding back demand” from a queue of brands wanting to participate.

AdNews understands that supermarket Coles and global tech company MediaMath are also now in cahoots. A small team of people from Coles have been drafted in to work on its internal trading desk – which is powered using MediaMath's technology.

Rumours of Coles hiring about 60 people to work on its endeavours are false.

MediaMath, which created its DSP offering in 2007, allows marketers to activate data, automate execution, and optimise consumer interactions across multiple channels.

With loyalty program Flybuys, coupled with its credit card and insurance products, Coles sits on plenty of data that it will be looking at utilising via the power of MediaMath.

While both parties are keeping schtum, choosing to make no official announcement, AdNews understands that the two have been working together for the last 18 months.

The operation is based in Melbourne and is being overseen by head of Coles digital and programmatic media, Mario Mijares.

Mijares, who has been at Coles for more than 10 years, has worked at the Colorado Group in Australia, A.T. Kearney globally, and was responsible for introducing new technologies into Walmart Mexico stores.

Coles' MediaMath tie-up is understood to be a trial and the company has no plans to look at building its own internal DSP. However once, and if, it starts to build scale and really harness its data set into powerful insights and actions, things may look different over the next few years.

Last year saw plenty of rumblings across the DSP landscape.

Foxtel opted to take its programmatic trading in-house with a demand-side platform and trading team up and running in June last year, and OMD specifically built a hybrid trading desk model for Telstra. While Telstra has full transparency over this, it is housed within OMD – thus taking advantage of the Omnicom Group.

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