Gaming start-up Tap.me got a shot of prestige and credibility when Matt Spiegel, CEO of Omnicom's OMG Digital, took the reins on Oct 10.
The mobile ad gaming company wants to connect brands to gaming by offering gamers a menu of "power up" branded game enhancements before the start of the game. In exchange, gamers participate in a marketing-oriented activity for several seconds.
Spiegel is a "power" hire. Thanks to his six years at Omnicom, where he led the Accuen digital media trading desk, Spiegel knows major marketers, what they want and how they make decisions. As founder of search marketing startup Resolution Media, which was acquired by Omnicom, Spiegel also understands how start-ups think and make decisions. Add to that his infatuation with riding the latest trends, which led him to invest in and join the Tap.me board before being anointed CEO.
Just a day into his new role, Spiegel talked to ClickZ about jumping from one of the world's top ad holding companies to a tiny two-year-old startup that is hustling to sign up investors, game makers and advertisers.
ClickZ: What have you learned from a global agency that you bring to this startup?
Matt Spiegel: I understand the expectations and demands of large clients. I've learned how big business works and how to impact change across offices. I also know what brands need to make gaming attractive to them. Since my focus was marketing technology at OMG's Accuen trading desk, I've had conversations with the key players in that space and know what they are doing.
The founders here at Tap.me come from the games industry so they are tuned in to the ways that brands can enhance game play rather than downgrade it. My contribution will be to help game developers understand [the kind of] ad tools that marketers need.
CZ: What will Tap.me offer beyond what it offers now?
MS: I find marketers to be very interested in the idea of the brand value exchange - that consumers get something back. Now, via our platform, consumers can choose to go to the menu of branded game enhancements before starting their game. They get an enhancement, such as more endurance or speed, and in exchange they see an image selected by the brand. In the future that exchange will become interactive, using social and mobile platforms. Ultimately it will be [fully] controlled by the consumer.
CZ: Why leave Omnicom for a start-up?
MS: I enjoy building businesses, even at OMG Digital where I incubated the trading desk. I like the freedom and innovation of starting something new. By the way, I find that there is a lot of innovation at agencies; they get more grief than they deserve.
CZ: Why this particular start-up?
MS: I've built my career on following the next trend. I worked on display advertising, then email marketing, then search and then the ad trading desk. Mobile is skyrocketing and the dominant use is gaming. But the brand advertising in the space has not evolved yet.
So there is a massive opportunity.
CZ: With your broad perspective on digital marketing, are you interested in cross-platform integration when it comes to mobile gaming advertising?
MS: Yes. I see gaming as content and the ads are part of the [content] experience. The platforms - where and how the game appear - will vary.
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Joan Voight is a Contributing Editor to ClickZ. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has covered online and offline media, marketing and advertising since the mid-1990s for several business publications. She spent nine years at Adweek magazine, where she was San Francisco bureau chief, national senior writer and contributing reporter.
March 19, 2014