Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Itamar Benedy, Co-founder & CEO, Anzu

Itamar Benedy is Co-founder & CEO of in-game advertising platform Anzu.io. Prior to his role at Anzu, Itamar served as the CEO of Glispa, where he led acquisitions of JustAd and Relevantech. He was previously the VP Marketing at Sport.com and Yoga.com. He was also nominated for Forbes Israel 30 under 30 in 2016.

Who is your digital hero?

David Sable, former Global CEO & Chairman of advertising giant Young & Rubicam (Y&R), is my digital hero and I am excited to have him as a strategic adviser at Anzu. He’s like the Ralph Lauren of advertising — a pioneer of multi-channel, a genius creative director, a name brand…and, it can be said, a fashion icon!

David has been an avid gamer since video games were first introduced and still plays every day, so the combination of advertising industry guru and serious gaming enthusiast makes him the perfect adviser for Anzu.

What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?

David is a visionary.

Over the course of 40 plus years leading the global advertising field, he pioneered a cross-agency team approach that not only led to some of the most memorable ad campaigns in history, but also became an industry benchmark.

David’s out-of-the-box, innovative, collaborative style elevated data usage, creativity, and technology to a different level within the advertising and marketing space.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

David calls himself “an early digital entrepreneur.” He started the first digitally-focused omni-channel agency way back in 1996 and later helped Wunderman transition into WPP as a digital and data powerhouse. David’s leadership of digital advertising and marketing has most certainly led to its rapid adaptation and centrality as a media channel.

As a renowned global marketing executive, David continues to drive ideas and opinions. He is a designated LinkedIn influencer, an active blogger and vlogger about all things advertising and marketing with nearly 1 million followers.

What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

I think one of the biggest issues in front of us is how to attribute online to offline behaviour. The reality is that the days of linear customer journeys are over and there is a tremendous amount of criss-crossing between offline and online behaviour. And while there is a ton of existing data about the separate customer journeys, advertisers need to be able to sync the two so that they are looking at a more realistic picture of what’s going on and can then act accordingly.

Of course, the approaching termination of cookies is going to make collecting online information much harder, which is a big problem, and we’ll have to see how that plays into this issue.

Whoever can truly solve the online-to-offline attribution issue for the advertising industry would be a true hero!

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

I love the digital advertising industry and that’s why I’ve spent so much time working within it. But one thing always bugged me, which is how ads look. Even with the rise of programmatic and advancement of ad technology, ads were annoying and disruptive and often not relevant. The rise of ad-blockers was giving the industry a clear message!

But, as I like to say, “People don’t hate ads, they just hate bad ads!” So my co-founders and I decided to tackle making ads better, and we focused on the gaming space because we saw it as the next media frontier.

Anzu.io was created with the single mission of making advertising in games better for everyone — game developers, advertisers, and gamers. Our industry-leading technology is enabling developers to bring a sustainable revenue stream while still taking care of their gamers, which is a top priority. Advertisers can now reach massive new audiences in an authentic, respectful way that is also scalable and measurable. And gamers favour ads that add to the realism of their games but don’t interrupt their gameplay!

My ultimate goal is to make in-game advertising a mainstream channel. We are definitely starting to see results of our efforts and I consider this to be a real personal achievement. With top-tier gaming and brand clients on board, I feel like we are on the right track toward fulfilling Anzu’s mission.

My Digital Hero

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