IAB Makes Good on Promise to Agencies

In its goal to push the creative boundaries of online ads, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has made good on its promise to invite the people producing ad creative to the table. The organization has included a slate of well-known digital shops in talks to develop ways to ensure ad formats satisfy not only publishers, but advertisers and agencies.

Along with big media brands, representatives of ad agencies met recently as part of the IAB’s new Re-Imagining Interactive Advertising Task Force. Calling the inclusion of ad agencies “historic,” the IAB appears to be recognizing the importance of agencies when it comes to advancing the caliber of online ad creative.

Nine agencies participated in the trade group’s initial task force meeting: Barbarian Group, BBDO Worldwide, Carat Interactive, Digitas, McKinney, Ogilvy Interactive, Razorfish, R/GA, and Universal McCann.

Along with heavyweights Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL’s Platform-A, and Google, media firms Cars.com, CBS Interactive, Condé Nast Digital, Disney Interactive Media Group, New York Times Digital, ShortTail, Time, Turner Broadcasting System, and Univision Online have also joined the task force.

Earlier this year, the IAB announced its intentions to revise its ad format standards with the input of creative agencies. The task force is part of that initiative. The trade group in February also introduced a related advisory board composed of 12 senior agency execs to consider agency goals in developing any new guidelines. Around that time, The Online Publisher’s Association got in on the act, introducing its own new ad units geared toward inspiring more impactful ad creative.

But IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg has more than just aesthetics in mind when he evangelizes about the need for better online ad creative. More appealing ad creative could also help foster a market that emphasizes quality over quantity.

Lamenting the industry’s “complaining, on stages and in pages, about commoditization,” in his February “A Bigger Idea” manifesto, he wrote, “I’d like to suggest that our seller-buyer-driven culture is devaluing not just the pricing but the potency of our medium. We must stop acting as if we’re selling schmattes, and start acting like the makers of magic that the best of us are — and always have been.”

Online advertising will never be just about eye candy. The IAB also hopes to ease the backend processes of managing online advertising. Today the group published its Impression Exchange Solution document, devised by its Ad Ops Council to reduce discrepancies in ad management data used by publishers and third-party ad servers.

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