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Head of Mediacom UK, Karen Blackett in an article on Mumbrella yesterday, has warned all marketers that using ‘robots’ to buy media is wrong and is the root cause of advertising being annoying to consumers. We disagree. We’re pretty sure that advertising managed to do that all on it’s own.

Dare we say it, the idea of ‘the idea of robots buying media is fundamentally wrong’ is fundamentally wrong.

Let us take a quick look at why advertising is annoying to the average user.

Advertising is annoying to the consumer when ads are not relevant to them. Ads are annoying to the consumer when they are bombarded with multiple ads at a high frequency. Ads are annoying to the consumer when they are clearly gimmicky or ad no value to the essence of who they are. Ads are annoying to consumers when they are particularly intrusive.

Ads are NOT annoying purely because they are placed by so called ‘robots’.

We feel Karen Blackett may have, or perhaps, should have been trying to say something to the affect of; “the current programmatic environment has lead to a high level of wastage and ill-considered media planning”, rather than blaming ‘robots’ which, after all, humans are responsible for programming. And who exactly is to blame for poorly considered media planning? But it isn’t as simple as that, Robots aren’t to blame for bland websites, ordinary creative, and fraudulent inventory. Robots don’t clip the tickets, take kickbacks and use vendors owned by parent companies!

But, before we dive deeper into what is more relevant to the issue of annoyed and frustrated consumers, we must ponder – ‘what does Karen mean by the term robot’ and ‘what does Karen define as media buying’, let us take a quick look at examples of where robots suck at performing data heavy tasks, millions (and billions) of time per second in comparison to the human brain and ability…..



That’s right, blank space.

The simplest definition of the word “robot” is; ‘a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically’.

The truth is, programmatic media buying is an intelligent way of placing a bunch of pixels on a screen in front of a user. Come to think of it – it’s the only way to do the job efficiently. The planning and intelligence in decision making prior to pressing the big red button that says “GO” makes all of the difference. And humans will always be needed to that.

Earlier this year, we took a closer look at Programmatic Media buying in our white paper – “Understanding Programmatic Media : State Of The Nation”.