A group of senior industry execs and agency leaders recently descended on The Union Club in London’s Soho for the Soho Sessions, New Digital Age’s (NDA) Dragons’ Den-style pitch event.
Representatives from ad tech providers Sharethrough, Quantcast, and Fifty delivered 15-minute presentations to an expert group of lead judges, including Dino Myers-Lamptey, Founder of The Barber Shop; Clare Ritchie, Global Head of Programmatic at Mediacom*; and Chris Morris, Head of Product Development at Havas Media Group.
Each of the ad tech providers then got a chance to meet each judge, and a selection of their colleagues, in breakout sessions, where they were able to dive deeper into each solution.
“It is genuinely quite difficult to sift through everything that you get – it’s a horrible word, but – bombarded with on a day-to-day basis,” said Ritchie, explaining her motivations for signing up as a judge. “Having the time out to sit and listen to something that you might think you know, you might not have seen previously, or maybe have given a bit of bias to before and never bothered to listen to, is really quite nice. And it’s refreshing to switch it up and be presented with something that’s a bit different.”
Myer-Lamptey agreed, adding: “Often, presentations are complex, or they come across as an attachment in an email, and it’s quite hard to digest them. But having them simplified, and put down to just 15 minutes of the things that really matter, I think is really good.
“Having the ability to ask questions, and hear what other people’s questions are as well, is really useful as well. When you’re in the room with others, without a doubt, someone has probably used that company or had some kind of experience with them. So, it’s a bit more insightful.”
Meanwhile, Morris felt that the Soho Sessions provided the opportunity to hear “new ways of doing things” within the changing digital advertising landscape that agencies are tasked with navigating.
“I prefer this format purely because, when you do the pitches, you don’t necessarily get the opportunity to do the nitty gritty of the detail,” he said. “Those pitch sessions tend to be sales pitches, but the second session allows you to really get under the surface of it and see whether it lives up to what it promises.”
What’s up pitches?
Sharethrough’s GM, EMEA Richard Ottoy kicked off proceedings, showcasing the supply side platform’s approach to decarbonising digital advertising through green media products – or green private marketplaces (PMPs).
The judges praised Ottoy’s presentation, with Myers-Lamptey appreciating the way it made him want to spread the message further. He said: “The story was told really well. It’s one of those where you just want it to get it out there to a lot more people and change people’s minds about how they’re approaching things. It’s something that is often told in a complex way told in a really easy to understand way, and dramatised sufficiently.”
Quantcast’s team (Stephanie Keating, Sales Manager, and Martha Harper, Account Manager) were second to face the esteemed panel, discussing its Quantcast Platform product, which enables users to plan, activate, and measure in one place.
Morris applauded the way that Quantcast explored the challenges faced within the programmatic supply chain, saying, “I think the really interesting theme is the challenge between the audience that you’re targeting at the beginning – who you’ve been asked to target – and what you’re actually buying at the other end. There has always been a disconnect there. And how they’re addressing it is quite interesting”.
The final pitch of the day was delivered by Duncan McCrum, Co-founder & Chief Growth Officer, and Tom Kelly, Sales Director – UK Agency, at Fifty. They introduced the judges to the Fifty platform, built with a focus on data privacy, efficiency, and fragmentation, and its Aurora contextual-based solution.
The judges appreciated Fifty’s approach, pointing to the way they took much of their presentation actually showcasing their product as a big positive. Ritchie, who “hadn’t been exposed to Fifty very much before”, praised the ad tech company for “getting into the depths of the platform”.
“Having a bit of a nosy around, and seeing how people are approaching things, is always quite nice,” she said.
*Since the event, Clare Ritchie has joined Omnicom Media Group as SVP, Global Head of Programmatic & Inhousing
Would your organisation be interested in taking part in our next Soho Session? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org to say hello and we’ll get back to you with the relevant details.