Ben Young
Ben Young
March 24, 2023

Edition #397

On the challenging market, new content studios, payment for AI to use content in its models and the latest from MacPac.

I saw this tweet earlier in the week, MORGAN STANLEY: what happens when one or more of these five things are happening?

Then acknowledging, that each of these was happening right now. And I think there’s a case that that is happening across the marketing and media landscape. It’s not just one pressure point happening, it’s a perfect storm of competing factors, all making for a challenging environment.

  1. Interest rates, impacting the consumer and then the advertising budgets associated.
  2. Decreased valuations, impacting investment and outlook for private companies.
  3. Margin pressure, impacting investment and team sizes.

These forces have reduced teams at agencies, reduced budgets, forced teams to make budgets go further, focus on the mission critical items and increased team turnover.

And then ‘potential’ disruption from AI, I joked that the advertising industry is tired of being the first disrupted by advancements in technology.

It’s not unfair to acknowledge these challenges and that it is a challenging environment. But teams feel resilient and have the right tools to face these.

We get the opportunity to use the skills we’ve all learnt and find ways to work within this, it’s what the industry always has done and will do.

Notable stories this week


  • WPP acquires data-driven influencer marketing agency Goat.
  • Loupe raised $3m in seed funding.
  • Dotdash Meredith pens Pinterest partnership, joining Condé Nast and Tastemade.
  • Inside the demise of Vice, from turning away a $3.5b Disney offer.

Campaign of the week

  • Macpac, this is a bit precarious. Love this.

View all 2023 best campaigns.

Smartest commentary

  • “The near-term opportunity for the publishers who can afford it (individually or as part of some sort of industry-level consortium) will be to hammer out pricing models for the information that powers the AI products (that will only increase in usage) with the tech giants who are large enough to have money to share and can’t risk falling afoul of future law or lawsuits.”Joel Johnson
  • “We generally only advertise stuff that makes sense to me, or stuff I believe in, or I feel is useful. The listeners trust our choice of advertisers and are willing to engage with them because of how we vet those advertisers in relation to what I’m comfortable with.”Marc Maron

Datapoints of note

  • According to a McKinsey survey of more than 1,300 B2B leaders, about two thirds are planning to increase their investment in growth analytics and expect that the additional investment will drive accelerated profit growth over the next several years.
  • Amazon Fire TV crosses 200m devices sold.
  • Mastodon now has more than 10m accounts.
  • 33% of business leaders said they can’t generate meaningful insights from their data and 30% said they were overwhelmed by the sheer volume. 

That’s it for this week.