Henry Tajer calls for industry cohesion - egos to be left at the door

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 29 March 2017
Henry Tajer

The advertising and media industry needs to tackle the big issues it faces as a unified team – while leaving egos at the door, says global CEO of IPG Mediabrands Henry Tajer.

New York-based Tajer, who was speaking to AdNews while over in Sydney, said it's about time media agencies unite and address hot topics such as transparency and measurement.

“Media talking about it in isolation isn’t good enough; the agency's doing their own commentary on it in isolation doesn’t move the market in the right direction either, Tajer said.

“I think it’s pretty clear to me that the market has to come together and be prepared to have a meaningful discussion and agree on meaningful steps forward; and work together on that - that’s a huge opportunity.”

It's nearly two years since Tajer upped sticks from the land Down Under in pursuit of the American dream, taking up the global CEO spot, but his eye is still firmly on the Australian market – and not just solely on the business he used to run, but on the market as a whole.

He said there's no point squabbling about who is going to personally steer the ship on tackling some of the current issues, it doesn't need a label, but key heads around a table is the starting point, adding it's about the open dialogue and progression as opposed to the semantics and who controls the movement.

Personal agendas not welcome

“We need to start the dialogue and allow the dialogue to continue for a while, not to expect one discussion be the trigger for an overnight change. Change is the catalyst for the market dynamic,” Tajer said.

“As a first, talking about what the respective stakeholders have done to manage that would bring the marketplace closer together. That will create enough familiarity and trust to then take on some of the issues that the whole industry has to work on - and measurement is one of them.”

He said having everyone together forces them to not let emotions and personal agendas get in the way of what is the best for the broader marketplace, which in turn will benefit the participants in that marketplace.

“Personal agendas and big personalities have [historically] stalled what is the best for the broader markets,” Tajer added.

Just last week at an Australian Association of National Advertisers forum, marketers warned poor transparency is killing marketing.

Whether it’s discrepancies in social media measurement reporting and metrics, concerns about ad placements such as the recent Google saga or a lack of trust from brands regarding agency practices, the media and advertising industry has been plagued with troubles surrounding transparency and measurement for some time.  

When it comes to the industry teaming up, hand in hand, and tackling the hard issues, traditionally you could argue that it has happened, such as the emergence of independent diversity charter The Agency Circle, but where were many of the top table voices when media transparency made waves in 2015 and 2016?

Can the media agencies unite and tackle hot topics such as transparency and measurement? Tajer says yes, but do you agree and who are the people that need to sat at the table? Comment below or email me here. To see the full length interview with Henry Tajer sign up and support the advertising and media industry's bible, AdNews in print.

Also, have you heard? AdNews is launching a transparency conference.

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